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True Police Stories

"Courage is the ability to move; when all around you are frozen in fear
and no one would blame you if you did nothing at all." Capt. Click. Phx. PD

My Name is Stan Cronin

                      In 1995 I retired from the Phoenix Police Department
                          after working as a police officer for just over twenty years.
              I am also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Many of you know us as Mormons or members of the LDS Church. I know that without the watchful eye of God I would not now be alive. I know I should have been killed several times during my career. I will tell you of one incident that nearly resulted in me taking up residence at the local cemetery, six-feet-under, in a pine box. First, I must tell you of my belief in not only God, but of His son Jesus Christ, our Savior, my Redeemer. I also am fully aware that there is a third member of the Godhead that the scriptures call the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, etc.

                        This account is about the whisperings of the Holy Ghost:
                                    whisperings that without doubt,
                                               saved me from being shot by three men.

I believe that every human that chooses to do so can ask our Savior for guidance from the Holy Ghost. I believe that the Holy Ghost will quietly speak to us to help us at all times. The voice with which He speaks is so still and quiet that, most of the time, we must be listening for it to hear it. Rarely does He speak loudly. He wants us to listen. He wants to help us. He will help us. Like a radio,

if we are not tuned in to His frequency, we will never hear Him.

While working as an officer, on occasion, I had a habit of trying to "tune in" to his frequency and I would literally ask him to guide me to where I should go in my assigned beat area so I could do some good. This story is about one of those times when he and I were on the same frequency and he not only sent me to where I could do some good, he also protected me, step by step, once I arrived.

I was driving around one day and things were fairly quiet in my squad area. I took the opportunity to ask for the help of the Holy Ghost. He gave me an impression to drive to a normally "good" part of my beat. When I arrived in the area I wondered why I had been sent there. As I drove north on a residential feeder street, I was impressed to turn down a different street. When I reached the stop sign at the end of the street I sat there trying to feel what I should do next.

I was then impressed to go south. I did so and drove about four blocks, passing an east-west residential street. I arrived at Camelback Road, an east-west major street. While sitting there at the stop sign and contemplating what I should do next I was impressed to turn around. I backed up, made a u-turn and headed back in the direction from whence I had just come.

I again passed the east-west residential street. About a block and a half later, while I was still driving north, I was impressed to turn around again and go south. When that feeling came, I knew I was close to something that was either happening or about to happen. I knew that because I had the same feeling on several previous occasions. I also knew because the Spirit had prompted me to drive up and down this one little stretch of road three times and he was sending me back through there for a fourth time. The only reason for him to do that was because I was close to whatever it was I was supposed to find. Had I been listening close enough earlier, either I would have been impressed to turn down the residential street the first time by, or, maybe the Lord did not want me there yet and that is why I didnít receive the impression to turn down the residential street the first time or two I went past it.

As I was making my u-turn to go south again the radio blasted out what we call a "hot tone." This is a high-pitched tone on the police radio meant to get the listeners attention so the dispatcher can dispatch emergency traffic. As I paused a moment to see what she was gong to say I felt an urgency to get going south again. I completed my u-turn as the dispatcher started relaying the emergency traffic. She stated that there was a burglary in progress on the residential street I had passed three times previous.

                               I thought to myself, that is why I am here.
                                        I was now just a block away.
                                                  I was right on top of the burglarís.

I was there so fast that I only had time to tell the dispatcher that I was going. She had acknowledged me and was broadcasting for a unit to back me up. Now this is where the Holy Ghost started really giving me some strong impressions. As I turned east onto that residential street, I saw a white pickup truck parked at the curb on the north side of the road with two subjects in it. I knew instantly that they were the burglars.

My training had taught me to always park behind a suspect vehicle. The Holy Ghost spoke clearly to my mind not to do that. The Spirit told me to pull up about four vehicle lengths in front of the suspect vehicle, facing them. I didnít want to do that because my training taught that this was a dangerous position and gave the "bad guys" the advantage. But the Spirit spoke and I knew to obey him. You have to understand that I had obeyed him many times in situations prior to this and I had come to depend on him to tell me correctly what I should do.

                                            He had always protected me
                                       and made senseless things turn out okay
                                                                             if I obeyed.

Now that I was in a bad position facing the suspects who were still sitting in their truck I wanted to argue with the Spirit. I told him (in my mind) that I was in a bad spot and I wanted to move behind the suspect vehicle. He told me to stay put. So I did. I then asked him (in my mind, not verbally) "What am I supposed to do next." He told me to get out of my car. My training had taught me not to do that. I did it anyway. I then started to walk around my open car door but the Spirit told me to stop. I stood there behind the door wondering why he had told me to stop my car where he did. Why had he then told me to get out but now he wanted me to stay put? None of this was making sense.

As I stood there doing all that wondering, a subject came from around the side of the house just south of where the suspectís pickup parked. The subject had a television in his hands and was halfway across the front yard before he saw me. When he did, he stopped dead in his tracks. I knew I had trouble now because there were three of them and I was alone. The dispatcher had not been able to get a backup for me yet. I was in a bad position and I couldnít figure out why the Spirit had placed me there.

At that moment, the Spirit whispered to get friendly with the guy with the television. I called out to the subject in a very friendly tone of voice. I called him over to me as I had been told to do by the Spirit. My training had taught me to keep distance between suspects and myself. Instead, I obeyed the Spirit and called the suspect over.

The suspect looked toward the guys in the truck, and then at me, and then back at them and then at me one more time. He didnít know what to do. After everything was over I thought of how awfully awkward he must have felt standing there with that stolen television in his hands and me just standing there being friendly. I donít remember much of our conversation now but it went something like, "Isnít it a beautiful day." I know this had to confuse him immensely.

I called for him to come over to me again and he put the television on the ground. He looked at the guys in the truck again. He wanted them to give him some kind of signal so he would know what to do. I again called him over and he started hesitantly walking my way and kept looking at the guys in the truck. The guys in the truck were talking rapidly between themselves and I could tell that they were pretty excited about the whole thing from their quick body movements and agitated facial expressions as they talked.

The suspect in the yard was moving so slowly that I thought about coming from behind my car door to engage him before he had time to think further. Once again the Spirit told me to stay put.

I waited for the suspect to get to my car and then told him to stop when he got between me and the guys in the truck. This gave me a little more cover. I figured they would have to shoot through him to get to me. I found out later that this is exactly what they had on their minds.

I asked the suspect if he lived at that house. He stuttered and didnít know what to say and looked over his shoulder at his partners and I could just hear his brainwaves pleading with them to come help him. He finally told me that the house belonged to a friend. This story I had heard a few hundred times before from many other suspects in various crimes. I went along with him and kept waiting for the dispatcher to get me a backup. I told the suspect that I was just driving by and had pulled over here to check out the guys in the truck. I then asked him if he was with them. I knew he was. He said he wasnít. He said he had no idea who they were.

                                Yeah right! ...And Iím the idiot of the year.
                                          Just give me my prize now so I can leave!

I didnít need the Spirit to tell me he was telling an untruth. I was prompted to ask to see his identification. I told him that after doing so that I would be on my way. I donít know why I said that other than it came into my mind so I obeyed. I had no plans to leave there any time soon though. He gave me his identification and I started to run a check on it.

As I was watching him, I caught movement from my left. Without turning to look, I could see another subject stooped over and walking between the house and a fence on the west side of the house where I was parked. I knew I had a big problem now. There was no way I could handle four of them. I only had one pair of handcuffs. What in the world was I going to do with four guys? I was in a world of hurt. I thought again how the Spirit had put me in this position and I could not figure out why he did so. Maybe I wasnít as tuned in as I thought. I didnít know what to do about the fourth guy. I didnít want to engage him in talk at that point because that would put two of them right on top of me with two more in the truck to come to their aid as soon as the fight was on. I could foresee them taking my gun and shooting me with it.

             "Here lies Stan Ö the idiot that pulled up in front of the suspect vehicle
                         and then took on four guys by himself." I would be the topic
                                               of training classes for years to come.

                  They would teach how not to approach a carload of burglars.
           The young recruits would be told not to be stupid like Stan and youíll live.

I continued to make small talk with the suspect at my car. I stayed behind my car door. The suspect started to come around the door a couple of times but I asked him to stay where he was and he did. He later told me that I was just too friendly and I asked him in such a nice way that he didnít want to raise my suspicions by not doing what I asked.

Everything inside me wanted to yell at him. I wanted to be shouting commands at him like, "Get on the ground. Put your hands out to your sides. Donít move or Iíll blow your head off," etc. Standing there talking was against my training and habits I had formed from hundreds of other contacts. I wanted my gun in my hand. That was my training. The Spirit kept me talking friendly and kept me calm and kept telling me to keep my gun in my holster.

You just cannot imagine how bad I wanted that gun in my hand.

I continued to be prompted by the spirit to remain calm and friendly so I was. I finally heard the dispatcher talking to my backup but he was still a long distance from me. I was dieing out here trying to restrain myself from doing all the things my training had taught me. I wanted this guy on the ground. I wanted the other guys out of the truck. I wanted to yell at the fourth guy to come out from behind the fence so I could see him. The Spirit told me not to worry about the guy behind the fence. It wasnít easy but I ignored the fourth guy while continuing to watch him with my peripheral vision. Thank goodness for dark sunglasses. The suspect standing in front of me couldnít see my eyes keep darting in the direction of suspect number four.

I was prompted by the Spirit to talk about all kinds of things except the guys in the truck and the guy behind the fence. I donít think I was ever friendlier to anyone in my life as I was to that suspect. We were best buddies and he couldnít figure out how we got to be so. It was then my backup finally arrived. He did what he was trained to do. He came from behind me but instead of pulling up behind me he drove past the suspect vehicle and then made a u-turn and parked behind them, offsetting his vehicle, as we both had been trained to do.

                       He walked up to the driver side door of the suspect truck
                               and suddenly yelled, "Gun!" He yanked out his gun
                                       and just about drove it right through the driverís ear.

He started yelling at the guy to "drop it." He repeated this several times. I jerked my gun out and ordered the suspect by my car door to get on the ground. He went down like a rock and grabbed a big piece of grass in each hand like he was afraid of falling off the earth. No more mister nice guy. The Spirit still told me to stay behind my car door so I did. The driver of the truck had dropped his gun so now the back-up officer was yelling at the passenger in the truck to "drop it." He finally did. The other officer was so excited that he could have convinced me to drop mine had he yelled at me. He was as high as a kite, full of adrenaline.

We were able to get the suspects out of their truck and on the ground. Another backup unit arrived on the scene and then another. I took my guy into custody after finding a gun on him. I pointed out where I had last seen the fourth suspect and a couple of the other back-up officers arrested him in the neighborís yard. He had hopped the fence and hid when all the shouting started. He was the only one without a gun. Then I knew why the Spirit had told me "not to worry about him." We recovered the stolen television and some other items stacked on the back porch by the two suspects that had been in the back yard when I arrived. We took all four suspects to the station and then the interrogation started.

Here is what we learned.

The suspects in the truck were the lookouts. They each had a gun. They knew the owner of the house and knew he kept cash, rare coins and other valuables in the house. Their plan was to protect the two guys that went into the house to do the burglary. The plan was that if an officer showed up, they would honk the horn, warning the guys in the house to come out. They had been to prison and had no plan of returning. They knew police tactics. They told us that I arrived on the scene so quickly that they did not honk the horn because they were afraid Iíd hear it and become suspicious.

At the station, the two guys that were outside the truck told us the whole plan and then after being confronted, one of the guys in the truck admitted to it. The guys in the truck knew that we were trained to pull up behind them. Their plan was, if an officer showed up, wait for him to park behind them and then start walking up to their truck. The passenger was going to get out of the truck with his gun in his hand so the officer couldnít see it behind the truck. The passenger was then going to draw down on the officer and start shooting. As soon as he started shooting, they knew the officer would turn in that direction to confront the shooter. The driver of the truck was then going to jump out and join the first shooter, ensuring that they would kill the officer. Me.

                        When I pulled up in front of them, it confused them.
                                 I did what the Spirit told me to do and it saved my life.

Once I pulled up in front of them, they started talking. They speedily re-wrote their plan and decided that once I got out of my patrol car and came around the front of my car, they would both jump out and start shooting. When I got out and then stopped behind my door instead of walking around it, this thwarted that plan. I stopped because the Spirit told me too. I obeyed and again it saved my life.

When I stayed behind the door they talked some more and came up with plan "C." They decided to wait for their friends to come back. The third plan was that their friends would distract me enough to allow them to jump out and start shooting me through my car door. They had large caliber guns and knew their bullets would penetrate the door. Remember what I told you about the engine block protecting me. They knew they had me without it. They thought I had made a grave mistake (pun intended). They were right.

                            But I was making mistake after mistake
                                while listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

                             He knew what they were planning and he stopped me
                          from doing what they wanted me to do at each step.

When their first friend came around the house with the television they were ready. When I started talking to him in a friendly manner, the passenger told the driver to wait. The thought came into his head (put there Iím sure by the same Spirit that was coaching me) that they might be able to talk their way out of this if they stayed calm. The driver didnít want any part of talking but the passenger kept telling him to wait. The Spirit knew which of the suspects in the truck was the weaker and he used that suspect to control the other one.

When I called the suspect over to me, the driver got nervous and was ready to jump out and start shooting but by that time their buddy was between them and me. He couldnít shoot without hitting his buddy. I had placed him between them and us due to the impressions I was getting from the Spirit and my training. Again, obeying saved my life.

When I kept talking friendly, the passenger again convinced the driver to wait. The driver was getting more and more agitated and he wanted to get out and start shooting. The passenger didnít want their friend to get hit. They both knew that their friend was armed with a gun. They decided that they would wait for him to make his move and they were going to get out and help. He on the other hand was waiting for them to get out and shoot like they had planned. When they didnít he kept talking to me in a friendly way since I was talking to him in a friendly way. The Sprit had them all in a state of confusion.

The suspect at my car door told me later that he felt he was too close to me to pull his gun and start shooting. He thought I might have a chance to shoot him too. Remember, my training taught me to keep distance between a suspect and me. But the Spirit had whispered to call him over close to me. My life was spared because I disobeyed my training and obeyed the Spirit.

When they saw their fourth friend sneaking around the fence, their next plan was to let him work his way around behind me and when he got the jump on me they were going to come out and kill me. But, when suspect number four saw what was happening, he figured he would hide and get out of the whole affair. He said he knew his friends would not tell on him and he didnít think I knew he was there and he thought we would arrest the other three and drive away. Then he would simply come out of hiding and walk away. I am sure the Spirit put these thoughts in his head.

The Spirit saved me again.

When the backup officer arrived, the driver and passenger went back to plan "A." Shoot the officer walking up to their truck. The problem was that I was in front of them and they knew that if they came out shooting that I was behind them and would have the drop on them. There was hurried conversation between the driver and passenger and this delayed their actions just long enough to let the backup officer get out and walk up on them.

When the backup officer saw the gun in the drivers hand, the driver almost pulled it up to shoot the officer but at that instant the passenger once again said something to the driver and that made the driver hesitate just long enough for the officer to get the drop on the driver. Once the backup officer had the drop on the driver, the passenger was trying to figure out how to shoot the officer but the driver was between the passenger and the officer. He told us he wanted the suspect standing by my car door to pull out his gun and start shooting but when he didnít, the passenger in the truck stayed frozen with indecision.

At that time I jerked my gun out and yelled at the suspect by my car door to get on the ground. He did. The passenger in the truck told us that when he saw the suspect near me go down on the ground, he thought he might get a clear shot at me and still have cover behind the truck. He thought that once the suspect by my door hit the ground he would get out shooting when I came from behind the door. But due to the guidance of the Spirit, I did not come out from behind the car door. This made the passenger comply with the backup officers demands that he drop his gun. By staying behind the car door as prompted by the spirit, even after my suspect hit the ground, my life was spared again.

Do you see how listening to the spirit can make your day?

A few hours later after all the interrogating was done, the booking slips were finished and the suspects were being escorted out to the wagon to be transported to jail two of them told me that I was the luckiest guy on this earth.

There was no luck involved: Only the Holy Ghost.

He is my friend. He is my companion. He is my guide. I have never been disappointed when I have listened to him. I want you to know that there is a God. He sent His son Jesus Christ here to fulfill a plan. He suffered for my sins and yours. He died for you and me. All He asks is that we live His commandments and He will take upon himself our burdens. All we have to do is follow Him. If we do, we have the right to the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

I also want you to know there have been many times that the Spirit has led me and spared my life. There have been times I have not been tuned in to him and I have made mistakes because of it. I am, after all, human. I know from my personal experiences that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church that Jesus established on this earth.

                                          You can know what I know.
                                  You must ask Him to help you find the truth.
                                                                               He will.

"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone
forth, behold, anhost compassed the city both with horses and chariots.
And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! howshall we do?
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us
are more than they that be with them." II Kings 6:15-16

                                                                   Stan Cronin #2880


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