Monday, June 04, 2007

'You Have The Right To Remain Silent' Testimony

The following is a testimony by Officer Dan White, with the Baltimore County Police Department (MD). Be encouraged and never underestimate the potential of gospel tracts.

Just over two weeks ago, my civilian partner and I were dispatched to a suicidal subject call. We were advised that a 20-year-old male, Michael, had left a suicide note at his home telling his family good bye and that he was sorry for taking his life. Since Michael was not in custody and his whereabouts were unknown my partner and I started toward another call on the east side of the county.

A county and citywide "attempt to locate" broadcast was given with both the description of Michael and his vehicle description. A marked unit from Precinct 6 observed Michael’s vehicle and stopped it to check on him. When the officer walked up to the vehicle he observed a large butcher knife on the front passenger seat and a loaded shotgun on the rear seat. Michael was removed from the car, without incident, and my partner and I were informed of his location.

Since the Precinct 6 unit was closer to us than the east side call we diverted that call and responded to speak with Michael so he could be linked to further services. My partner, a mental health clinician, and I began an on scene assessment of Michael's mental state. While we talked to him, he was sarcastic, in an attempt to hide his emotional state. However, he broke down early in the conversation. He admitted to suicidal ideations and advised that he went to a State Park in Harford County (MD) where he was going to jump off a cliff, to his death. He told us that he sat there for about an hour but was unable to jump because of his conscience.

Michael decided that he would return home to retrieve the shotgun and the knife and plot his next move. He determined that he would either shoot himself or, if he did not have the nerve, he would commit “suicide by cop,” by brandishing the knife. Michael said he did not get the chance because the officer stopped him and caught him off guard. He said he was suicidal because he is not close with his family. His mother died a year ago to the day. He lost his best friend after a fight over a girl and felt he had nowhere to turn. Since it was obvious Michael needed an emergency psychiatric evaluation and we had our other call on hold, my partner and I informed him that we were taking him to the hospital.

Michael said that he would not be taken alive and after a short struggle, was taken into custody. Michael was then transported to a local hospital for psychiatric evaluation, as we followed to drop off the emergency petition.

While driving to the hospital, my partner read the note aloud so I could be better informed as to his state of mind when he wrote it. In the note, he told his family good-bye, told them he was sorry, and hoped they understood he could no longer go on in life. He also mentioned in the note that he could no longer go on with life and mentioned feeling empty inside. He said that his heart felt like it has a big hole in it and he hoped that God would show him mercy.

Once at the hospital, we completed the emergency petition, gave it to the doctor, and explained the circumstances surrounding Michael’s detention. My partner and I had to go to our other call since an east side patrol unit in Precinct 11 was still standing by with a mentally ill subject, in need of an assessment. I felt troubled in my spirit about just leaving without at least briefly talking to Michael; but I had to get to that other call. I felt God’s pull to go speak with Michael. The other call had held for 35 minutes, but Michael’s eternity was worth more than a rush out the door.

My partner returned to our vehicle to clear us from this call and to put us en route to the other one. I went to the Psych room where Michael was being detained. He was quiet and said he was sorry for trying to fight with us at the scene. I told him no harm was done and that I had read his note. I told him he did not have to feel alone anymore and that there was a reason his conscience would not let him jump from the bridge. I told him that out of the 1800+ officers in our department, he got me. I told him that I was even on my way to another call, but stopped to talk to him since he was closer. I told him there are no accidents and that all things happen for a reason.

I gave him a "You Have The Right To Remain Silent" tract. He looked at the cover, smiled and said, "Aw, Man". I told him it wasn’t the regular Miranda Warning he has heard in the past. I told him that it was worth reading and since he was going to be in lock down for a while, he had nothing to loose. I gave him my card and asked him to call me if he wanted to talk about what he was about to read. I told him I had to get to my other call, and I left the room. I waited just out of Michael’s sight for a moment, before looking back in the room at him. He was reading the tract and there were tears in his eyes.

As I walked out to my car, I asked God to extend his mercy to Michael and that a seed would be sown in that young man’s life. I prayed that Michael would seek and find our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ just as we, the members of the Centurion Fellowship, have done.

I have been praying daily and continue to trust that a seed was indeed sown, and that God will bring someone else into Michael’s life to finish the job I started. Please keep Michael in prayer, asking God to bring him to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

I praise God that He led Tony to write the “You Have The Right To Remain Silent” gospel tract so that I could give it to the lost and present them with the Law and the Gospel, when a face-to-face conversation is not practical.

Buy this tract and others like it. Carry them with you and give them out. We may not know or see how effective they are in someone’s life today, but we might when we go to be with the Lord. Be safe to all and God bless.

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