" Think About it..."
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True Police Stories
"Courage is the ability to move;
when all around you are frozen in fear
My Name is Dustin Harris
I am twenty-eight years old and have been a police officer with the City of Mesa for approximately three years. In the twentieth and final week of the academy, my sergeant told the class that there would be at least one officer in this classroom that would be involved in a fatal shooting. I looked around the class at the approximate twenty-seven other cadets and thought to myself that it would have to be one of them because I was not going to be part of that statistic.
Five weeks out of the academy, on the September 12th,
It was the first day on my second phase of training with a new FTO officer. I was getting acquainted with the veteran officer and trainer when a call was dispatched at a hotel parking lot reference suspicious activity, involving multiple subjects with stolen credit cards. My partner who was driving that day, drove to the hotel with me in the passenger seat. As we arrived, we met up with a female officer who had gotten there before us and instructed us to contact two different subjects involved in the incident. The first subject was attempting to leave the parking lot in a vehicle. We pulled our police cruiser behind his vehicle so he couldn't leave and I contacted that subject. My partner contacted a second subject approximately thirty feet away.
While I was speaking to my subject,
I looked over my shoulder and noticed that my partner was in a physical struggle with the man he had been interviewing. The guy had pulled a .357 magnum revolver from his waistband. My partner was in a major struggle to gain control of both the handgun and the suspect. The suspect was able to get the weapon away from my partner and then pointed it at his head, holding it approximately one foot away. The suspect threatened to kill my partner by shooting him. During the struggle, I was running to help my partner, however, when I noticed that handgun, the entire incident changed. I immediately pulled my handgun from my holster and pointed it at the suspect. But I did not have a clear shot at him because of my partner being in the line of fire. The female officer had called out over the radio one of the two most dreaded radio codes in police work. The heart chilling, "999". That means that the officers on scene are in serious trouble and danger. It is a universal code and it is a distress call to other officers that we need help badly. I remember backing up briefly and looking for any type of cover while still pointing my handgun at the suspect.
It was at that point that I was faced with one of the toughest decisions of my life. I thought of pulling the trigger on my handgun, taking a shot and thinking that if I hit the suspect in just the right place, he would immediately fall and not discharge a round from his handgun.
The downside of that was if I missed,
I also thought that if I fired my handgun multiple times at the suspect, he would fall. However from the distance between me and my partner being approximately twenty-five feet and and the distance between the suspect and my partner very close, if I happened to miss and hit my partner, my partner could be the one dead on the asphalt. Dead from my bullet. It was at that point that I said a little prayer inside. I didn't have time to close my eyes, but I remember that it was very sincere.
I asked the Lord for guidance and strength to make the right decision.
It was at this point that the suspect briefly turned away from my partner, giving my partner an opportunity to draw his handgun and fire. My partner took the opportunity and shot multiple rounds at the suspect. The suspect then fell to the ground. We attempted to get the suspect to surrender, however he did not comply with our commands. Pulling his gun again and waving it toward my partner, my partner and I both shot and hit the suspect. It felt like the time of the incident took forever but according to the witnesses who observed the incident, the entire ordeal took at most just fifteen seconds.
Paramedics were called in to treat the suspect
I realized as things began to calm down that angels had been watching over us. Since that day I have also realized that the work that I do is real. I continuously deal with suspects who have committed violent crimes and who do not want to go back to prison. Thank goodness there is a loving Heavenly Father who sends His Spirit to help me in my daily endeavors to keep both myself and my brothers on the force safe and able to return home to our families at end of shift. I have also realized that the signs of the times as spoken of in the Scriptures are growing nearing and nearer.
One of the main reasons I have been able to deal with the experiences that I have had is the fact that I was able to serve a faithful mission where I was able to anchor a strong testimony of the Church and the teachings contained therein. I had the privilege of serving in the Perth Australia Mission. During my time there I witnessed many miracles. I had the honor of working in an Aboriginal village and teaching the people about the doctrines of the Church.
It's a special moment to see at least fifty Aborigines
I also had the opportunity to eat many meals that we rarely eat here in the States. Lovely crocodile and kangaroo tail and lots and lots of lamb. Fish and chips are always first choice for the Aussie people. I also learned the fundamentals of the game rugby and have felt what it is like to get hit from 250 pound Samoans and Tongans who were also missionaries and were making a career of the sport prior to their missions.
Through it all, I have gained a testimony of the Church. I know that this Church is true. The teachings contained within the Book of Mormon are real. Prophets of old that are prophesied of in the Holy Bible are also prophesied of in the Book of Mormon. I have seen many families gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon by sincerely reading it and praying about it. Joseph Smith restored the Church back to the earth and the Church contains the same principles that it contained in Bible times. Joseph Smith sums it up when he shares his testimony of Jesus Christ when he says,
"After the many testimonies which have been given of
I hope that by reading my experience, I have touched the heart of at least one individual. The Spirit testifies of truth. I hope that you were able to learn at least one principle if nothing else that by serving a mission, you will be able to learn that the Holy Ghost is real and that He will lead and guide you through the trials that may come your way. I encourage every young man to serve a mission and learn for himself the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In conclusion, Sir Winston Churchill said,
"The final test of a leader
God bless each of you and may we all go forth with faith.
I leave these things with you in the name of
Officer Dustin Harris.
If you are or were a police officer,
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Thank you and God bless,
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