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The most difficult and heartbreaking task within the criminal justice system is notifying the relatives of a person who has suddenly become the fatal victim of an automobile accident. This task does not grow easier with experience, but only grows more difficult each time it has to be performed. The following article is fiction, but is written after many years of experience in law enforcement with the hope that it will cause the motoring public to stop and think and as a result become more safety-conscious.
“This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers and the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)
You have just received an emergency call to the scene of a tragic automobile accident. As the dispatcher relays the call that a fatality is involved, your mind wanders back to past experiences. Could it have been a young teenager out for a good time, heedless of the dangers involved, or could it possibly be an innocent victim at the hands of someone who has been carelessly drinking? Whatever the circumstances, you must go, so you acknowledge the call and start to the scene with haste.
Upon arriving, you observe twisted metal which resembles an automobile wrapped distinctively around a big tree. Physically you hesitate but you know you must proceed from your car to the object of investigation. As you approach the automobile, you observe a lifeless body inside the mangled metal. You force yourself to look, and the body takes on the form of a young boy. Who is he? Where does he live? These questions invade your mind but you realize you must back up and gather the facts.
After the investigation is complete on the scene, then comes the task of identifying the deceased and notifying the relative. The necessary identification has been found, the proper arrangements have been made at the scene and you must proceed with the unpleasant task of finding the relatives.
You go back to your patrol car and the dispatcher okays your sad assignment. As you drive to the residence of the deceased, your mind begins to wander again. You know your children are safe at home, in a warm house under the confident protection of their mother, but what about this situation? What will you find, and how will the family respond?
As you approach the neighborhood your flashlight begins to skim over the different house numbers until it falls on the right one. The house is secure in a neighborhood of sleep. Again, the facts begin turning over in your mind and you collect your thoughts. You walk from your car to the house, your knees buckling beneath you from the pressure. You know this feeling, as you’ve had it many times before and it never changes. You knock on the door and observe a light appear in a distant part of the house. Then a faint voice in the background “Who is it, what do you want?”
At this point you identify yourself and the door cracks open. The voice again speaks “May I help you?” You ask if you may come in. Approval is given, and you instantly come face-to-face with very worried parents. As you wonder how to approach the subject, your eyes wander around the comfortable, well lived-in home. Just as if they were divinely instructed your eyes light on a small Sunday School plaque bearing the young boy’s name. You also observe a picture of the young son dressed in a football uniform. You realize then it will not be an easy task but you must proceed and you attempt to communicate by telling them you have come about their son.
“What’s the matter, what’s wrong?” the father asks.
You hesitate, but you must go on. You take a deep breath and say, “He has been in an accident."
At this time small footsteps are heard and a small girl appears from upstairs dressed in pajamas. You hesitate again, but it’s your job and yours alone, they must know. You look again at the mother, tears start flowing and you attempt to block them out. You realize it’s an impossible task, she knows, mothers always know. The mother attempts to talk and hold back the emotion. She goes back into the past explaining how she raised her son in a religious atmosphere. She explains how he went astray, and at this point you realize it’s up to you to do something. You turn to the father and give the facts of the accident briefly and tell him you’re sorry his son didn’t make it. The family seems to be drawn together as they embrace one another.
You ask if you can help by calling a neighbor or maybe the family minister. As the father makes a gesture you hear a knock at the door. You respond and a voice identifies itself as a neighbor. The neighbor enters and walks directly to the family. As they all comfort one another you realize your task is done and you excuse yourself. You leave and walk slowly to the patrol car. The sun is just starting to rise. Yes, the same feeling comes over you again as it has in the past; why am I here? Why am I doing this? Is this the profession for me? While the unpleasant circumstances continue to build in your mind you hear the faint call of the police radio in the background. Yes, it’s calling you again. What will it be, what will you find? Only time will tell.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
By way of providential guidance, (Romans 13:1-7) (1 Peter 2:13-17) you may just be one of those special individuals. Perhaps you are one wearing the blue, grey or maybe brown, with the nicely fitted starched shirt with pants to match. The one holding the authority of government in your hand, by virtue of the shiny badge pinned squarely to your shirt.
I realize times are tough right now, in this great America of ours. Patience is wearing thin for both the general public and the authorities. If you are in a position of authority, please don’t jump ship. America and your fellow citizens are counting on you. We are counting on your patience, your good judgment, your hard-earned time, your advice, your control of the peace, and most of all, your God given spiritual guidance. After all, you may just be the only preacher some people will hear.
So, I’m praying for you all. For your safety and dedication.
May God Bless You All.
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