"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 Rick Dalton
Taken from the book Think
About it... for your reading convenience
My life is a story
of trial and error. I learn most of the time by trial and error. There are
easier ways to learn about life,
such as taking others’ advice, others who have experienced the road upon which I
am now traveling.
But somehow, I usually have to learn myself.
My police career began on June 16th, 1978. During the next twenty weeks, I
learned that I could
stretch my physical and mental capacities beyond what I thought possible. This
was partially because
there was a police sergeant, a drill instructor of sorts, threatening and
challenging me all the way.
Their academy was very militaristic. They pushed you to your limits. I wouldn’t
trade that experience
for a million bucks, but I wouldn’t do it over again for ten million!
It’s like that in life. We can expand our sights beyond what is humanly
but only with superhuman help. ...God’s.
I was an insurance salesman when I joined the Mesa Police Department. What a
perspective! As a cop, I have participated in many exciting and emotional
moments. My first traffic
stop after becoming a solo beat officer was interesting. I was so excited about
making my first stop.
When the chance came, I did everything perfectly. I checked off on the plate,
gave the correct
location, stopped my vehicle in the perfect position behind the violator, exited
my vehicle and walked
up to him stiff and proud. My chest was pressed forward against my shirt as I
walked. As I asked for
his license, I suddenly realized that he was now moving forward. I thought he
was trying to get away.
To my chagrin, I realized that my car had struck his car and was pushing his car
forward. I had done
everything right, except, for putting my car into park. He didn’t think it was
funny and neither did
I. But my back-up, a seasoned veteran by the name of Bob, couldn’t stop
I have solved homicides and put child molesters behind bars for life. These were
moments. But there were others that did not involve arresting people, that were
fulfilling for me. Here’s just one. I got a call one time in regards to found
property. The call was from
a young boy who had found some Christmas presents scattered in a field. As I
drove to the call, I saw
that they were valuable and several were just the kind of things a kid his age
would love to have. But
this boy had called the police. He didn’t grab what he could and run. I remember
thinking that this
kid was a cut above the rest.
The presents had been unwrapped and left in the field. Some of the wrappers had
first names on them,
like “Lacey” and “ Thad,” but they had no other markings that would lead us to
their owners. It was
just two days before Christmas. I knew these presents were some children’s Happy
problem was, ...whose?
As I thanked the young man and drove around the subdivision, looking for someone
who might know
where they belonged, I noticed how empty the streets were. “Everybody must have
shopping early,” I thought. “And they are all snug in their homes with their
families.” But I knew
these presents were some children’s Christmas and I prayed briefly for the Lord
to help me find their
owners. But seeing not a soul outside, reluctantly, I drove to the station to
put the presents into
property for safe keeping.
As I pulled into the parking lot at headquarters, something struck me. I had a
distinct feeling that I
should go back to the area where the boy had found the presents. It was a slow
workday, so there
were no immediate pressing problems to handle. I backed out of my parking space
and retraced my
route, wondering if it was anything more than wishful thinking. When I got to
the area and drove
around, I was again faced with empty streets. As I rounded the last corner and
prepared to leave
again, I saw a grey-haired man and two children raking leaves. I pulled up and
waved the man over,
pointing to the presents filling the back of my patrol car. As he looked at
them, tears filled his eyes
and he yelled to the kids, his grandchildren, “Lacey and Thad,” he said, “go in
and ask Grandma for
some cookies.” I needed no explanation. He told me that he had been Christmas
and he had left the trunk open while he carried some presents inside. When he
came back outside,
only two minutes later, his trunk was empty and his heart sank.
“I prayed and prayed” he said, “that God would help us,
because I had no more money to buy presents for my grandkids.
And God has answered my prayers.”
“Mine too,” I choked.
This is the kind of thing I enjoy. This is part of being a cop. It’s not always
kicking butts and taking
names. It’s serving and protecting. He who would be great must be the servant of
all. This is why I
love my job. I have experienced many other opportunities in my twenty years of
service. They have
all left me with the same feeling:
God governs in the affairs of men.
One of the most essential discoveries a person can make is one of self worth. It
must be made,
however, in the context of our nature, our natural state. When we set up an
un-natural belief system,
we have an un-natural concept of self worth. The Babylonians suffered from this
thought that they could reach up to God on their own power. I always wanted to
be somebody. My
early life’s goals were centered around money and influence. I wanted to be a
millionaire before the
age of thirty. I wanted to drive the fastest cars, to walk in the most elite
circles. These aspirations
brought me much pain and sorrow. Thank God! For there were other discoveries
awaiting me, if I
only would realize my utter helplessness to achieve happiness apart from God.
Only when my life was hopeless, in my own eyes, could God get through to me.
I turned in despair and finally asked for help,
from God, through His Son Jesus Christ.
Christ is the first word in Christmas, though we forget it. The child who was
born to Joseph and Mary
in the manger in Bethlehem was indeed Jesus The Christ, the Son of God, our
Heavenly Father. Many
words have been written of Him, and many million worship Him in their own way.
Of all the things
that might be said, two words say them all. Those words are true whether we know
them of a surety
or not, and whether we believe in Him and His teachings or not. The words are
simple, yet powerful,
and spell rich blessings and fullness of joy for His disciples. The wealthy and
the poor alike are the
beneficiaries of these two words. The young, old, the high and the low in
station and the atheist,
agnostic and pagan share in the promise of this glorious truth, even if they
have yet to realize it. I say
the words with reverence and awe, with thankfulness and joy, with sorrow for my
hope for His strength and atoning sacrifice.
I testify that these two words are true. “He lives.”
Through Him, I am somebody. These two words are the foundation of my life and of
the Plan of
Salvation. And because He lives, His mission is complete. This is where I found
my self-worth. I
realized that Jesus Christ, my Savior, gave His life for me. He knew my name! He
knew my future
mistakes, my weakness, my disobedience, and yet He died for me!
That makes me somebody!
When we arrest people, many of them enter into a plea agreement with the judge
and the prosecutor.
The judge must make a determination on the record that the defendant entered
into the agreement,
“knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily”. Only then is the agreement binding.
Jesus agreed to shed
His blood for me knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily. And He did it for
My most difficult as well as my most personal experience as a police officer
took place just one week
before Thanksgiving of 1995. It was about 1100 hrs. on a quiet day when suddenly
radio advised of
a 963 (accident with fatalities) involving a decapitation. Only a block away, I
was 97 within moments,
getting there just before the paramedics arrived. As I looked at the car, I
couldn’t believe my eyes
It was demolished. There were three teenage boys inside. They had been speeding
when they lost
control of the car and had struck a telephone pole. I ran to the driver’s door.
I could see that the
passenger was clearly dead. He was not decapitated, but he was not recognizable
as human either.
The driver, though suffering severe cuts, was somehow alive. I asked him if he
was okay. He said,
“Help my friends first.” We put a blanket over the passenger in the front seat
and then I looked in the
back seat. There was my neighbor, Russell, just a few days away from his
eighteenth birthday! He was
lying on the floor with his legs pinned under the front seat. I had known
Russell since he was in junior
high and had taught him in Sunday School. He had sustained a massive head
injury. He couldn’t
speak. He looked at me and seemed to understand when I said,
“Russell, just hold on and we will get you out. You’ll be alright!”
I wasn’t actually so sure, but I had to keep him calm. The paramedics were
trying to extricate him
with the Jaws of Life. As the intensity of the situation grew, I found myself
confronted with a
situation that I had never faced before. Here I was, a trained professional,
accustomed to being in
charge and now I was totally powerless. Not a good feeling. I paced back and
forth and then I
realized that there was nothing I could do. This forced me to look for help. The
doing all they could. So instinctively, I turned to the Lord. He had always been
there for me. I trusted
Him and I knew that He could provide whatever was necessary in this situation. I
asked God to help
me to help Russell. I immediately went to Russell and held his hand, talking to
him and telling him
I was there. I thought about Russell’s father, Nelson, my friend and golf
partner who was unaware
of the situation and unable to be here for his son at this time in his life.
As I silently prayed and tried to forget the helpless feeling I had, I felt to
give Russell a Priesthood
blessing. I asked the paramedics and the bystanders, “Is anyone here LDS?” There
was no response.
Suddenly I knew what to do and I did it. I climbed up onto the trunk of the
mangled vehicle and
reached in through the broken rear window. I placed my hands on Russell’s head.
He had just lost
consciousness. As I followed my feelings, I was so thankful that in this time of
my helplessness, there
was somewhere, someone to turn to. The words I spoke came without hesitation and
the noise and
confusion of the deadly scene seemed distant for a moment. I pronounced a
blessing of comfort on
Russell’s head and asked the Lord to take this son into his own care and to
preserve Russell’s life,
if that were His will. As I finished, he was finally freed from the tangled
wreck and I helped to wheel
the gourney to the waiting helicopter. I felt lost.
Next, I had to call Russell’s parents and pick them up for the drive to the
hospital. Russell died after
several hours. His family remained strong and their faith never wavered. The
young driver, the single
survivor of the vehicle, was charged with manslaughter. He had been driving 75
mph in a 35 mph
zone. At his sentencing, Nelson was present to speak to the judge. He didn’t
demand the maximum
sentence, but rather plead with the judge not to put this boy in jail. What a
humbling experience that
was for me. I learned the meaning of forgiveness that day.
This case taught me that when everything you need is gone,
and there is nothing else you can do,
God still cares and He is still there.
...For Russell, for me ...and for you.
When we were children, we often left the house to play and explore the world
around us. I remember
that I often was unwise and unlucky and I was injured or became afraid. All I
had to do, however,
was run home to my place of safety and refuge. My parents were there to comfort
and to protect me.
All I needed was to come home. Today, we often stray from our home, from God.
Trusting in our
own power and sometimes forgetting the loving warnings given to us by God, we
are often overcome
by the things of the world. We become lost in the hurry and confusion of this
life and we are unable
to sort things out on our own. We then turn to such substitutes for God’s love
Atonement, such as drugs, alcohol, our jobs or any other diversions or
Floundering in a sea of turmoil, we become more afraid and desperate, when all
the time, we need
only remember one simple remedy, Come Home. Those words are spoken to all of us
and even to
you, who might be reading this book now. They are spoken by the Spirit of God to
your spirit, to
your soul. They are said in the same manner as a loving parent would plead with
us to come in out
of the rain. God, even His Son, Jesus Christ, speaks them to you now. Come Home.
11:28-30 Christ said:
“Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye
find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”
Friend, brother or sister, lay your burdens down. Come home. Lay them down at
the feet of Jesus
Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. He has restored His Church on the
earth for us to find
our way home. I have testified in murder cases and matters of life and death.
Yet this testimony that
I give to you now is infinitely more important.
Jesus is the Son of the Living God.
He has given His personal authority to perform the ordinances
of Salvation to those He has personally chosen.
They are the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I know it. And you can know it too.
Start your own investigation. Get the facts, and ask God to tell you the truth.
In Jesus Christ’s name , Amen,
Officer A. Rick Dalton Badge #3515
If you are or were a police officer,
or wife, mother, father of such or some other branch of emergency
and would like to share an unusual testimony building experience with
please contact us for details at
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Thank you and God bless,