Tuesday, May 01, 2007

An Editorial Response

Early last month, two of my deputies and one of our station explorers were injured in a serious traffic collision, which involved two patrol cars. The deputies were rushing to provide back-up to one of our school resources deputies who was trying to keep a fight from breaking out, on campus, when the collision occured. A member of our community wrote a scathing letter to the editor of the local paper, criticizing my deputies. What follows is my written response, which appeared in the Sunday paper.


Re: “No Excuse for Speeding Through Intersection” (dated: 04-08-07)

I feel I must respond to Mr. Lamb’s recent rant regarding the traffic collision involving two patrol cars, in which two deputies and an explorer (all members of my law enforcement family) were injured. While I take umbrage to the overall tone of Mr. Lamb’s exercise in armchair quarterbacking, I will confine my comments to two points he made.

First, Mr. Lamb inferred that an “armed deputy” shouldn’t need “back-up” when dealing with high school students. It is quite obvious that Mr. Lamb has never been tasked with quelling a potentially volatile situation on a high school campus or anywhere else. Frankly, Mr. Lamb’s assessment of the deputy’s call for “back-up” is born out of ignorance—not reason. What would you have had the deputy do, Mr. Lamb; draw his weapon and fire into a crowd of students? I thank God that the deputy on that campus used his training, experience, and common sense and determined that the better course of action was to call for support, with the hope of bringing the situation to a peaceful end.

Second, Mr. Lamb wrote: “However, we must not forgive the driver of the sheriff car…” Really, Mr. Lamb? That’s quite a responsibility you have taken upon yourself—that of traffic investigator, department supervisor, community spokesman, jury, and judge. I caution you to carefully consider your words in light of what Jesus said. “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15). I think the words of the Apostle Paul are appropriate here, as well. “Let all bitterness, and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:31-32). If you can’t forgive a deputy sheriff for getting into an accident while rushing to assist a brother behind the badge, then your issue is not with the deputy sheriff. The issue is your own heart.

Oh, one last thing. Mr. Lamb, rest assured that if something goes bump in the night, in your house, and you call for help, the fine men and women of Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station will get there as soon as they can. When you complain that they didn’t get there quick enough, they will take it in stride. They are compassionate professionals. Not only will they take it in stride, but, the next time you call, they will again respond to your call for help as soon as they can. They will even risk their lives to save yours, regardless of what you think of them. This is just one of the many things that makes my family—the law enforcement family—so very special. I thank God for each of them and I’m honored to serve as their chaplain.

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