In the last few newsletters, I addressed three things former LAPD sergeant and author Joseph Wambaugh said an officer needs: courage, common sense, and a sense of humor. There’s one more thing—compassion. In 2016, Fred Dickey, from the San Diego Union-Tribune, interviewed Mr. Wambaugh and quoted him as saying, “I say there are three qualities—I’ve always said this—that a good cop needs: common sense, a sense of humor and a bit of compassion.” I believe that I misquoted Wambaugh when I wrote earlier saying the three things were courage, common sense, and a sense of humor. Although, it seems that I exchanged compassion for courage, I believe an officer needs courage…and compassion.
In January, America was shocked when several Memphis PD officers were fired and charged with voluntary manslaughter in the beating death of a man in their custody. Just a couple weeks later a local Memphis news station carried a far different story about another Memphis officer—Tina Shaw.
It was cold and wet on Thursday, February 2nd when Memphis officers were dispatched to an officer-involved-shooting (OIS). That’s where most officers in the area headed to, not Officer Shaw. She held back and stayed on the icy bridge that spans the Mississippi River. She was alone with a young man standing at the edge of the bridge, staring at the water below. Although, a call came from dispatch about a possible suicidal man, Officer Shaw said, “The Spirit just led me to go there to see what was going on there and who all was there.” She said the man, who turned out to be a new father at age 17, “…was already on the ledge and then he finally went all the way over [the railing, and] turned his body facing the water.”
With the pressures of being a young-unwed dad, he thought suicide was an option. Officer Shaw, who is a mother of two young boys, engaged the young man in conversation and after fifteen minutes, he turned from going over the edge into her arms. Both she and the young man shed tears of relief. She told him, “It’s okay, God is going to get you through this.” It’s clear that Officer Shaw was moved with compassion to help the young man.
Where does compassion come from? Like courage, it comes from within. It comes from the heart. Compassion is an attribute of God that he has given to humanity. Scripture says that God is compassionate. In fact, on several occasions, the Bible says that Jesus had or was moved with compassion. In telling the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said that when the Samaritan came upon the man who had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead, he “…saw him, he had compassion.” The two religious leaders who first came upon the man in distress passed by on the other side of the road. They went out of their way to pass by a person in need. The Samaritan did not, that’s why we call him the “Good” Samaritan. In the same way, Officer Shaw was moved with compassion and stopped to help. While law enforcement officers are embarrassed when those in their ranks act out of hatred or anger, remember there are still officers like Tina Shaw who act out of compassion.
What motivates you?
The Strong Blue Line on the Road
The Strong Blue Line is heading south at the end of March for seminars in Mississippi and Louisiana. Between the two locations, we have five seminars planned. First is on March 27th, in Meridian, MS. Then I head to Louisiana for seminars on March 30th and 31st. I’ll be in Alexandria and then in St. Tammany Parish on the North Shore of Lake Charles. I’ve been contacted by folks in Mississippi and Louisiana about registering for the seminars. For the Mississippi seminars, email Brock Burch at Brock.Burch@usdoj.gov. For the Louisiana seminars go to TheStrongBlueLine.org/seminars/.
 (Source: https://www.baltimoresun.com/sd-me-dickey-column-0926-story.html)