On Thursday, August 24, my phone vibrated. It was a fellow retired San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) officer. “Just wanted to let you know, we have three officers down on the Southside,” he said. “Thanks, Joe, I’ll be praying.” Not much more was said. Although we’re both retired from the SAPD, our hearts are still with those who are holding the fort—especially in the city where we worked. Over the weekend, the details of the shooting came out.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jesse Garcia was wanted on multiple felony warrants and was considered armed and dangerous. Police received information Garcia was on the Southwest Side. Officers located Garcia and saw him get into the passenger side of a car. As officers moved in the vehicle fled. Garcia leaned out the window and fired at pursuing officers. An officer driving a patrol car was hit and seriously wounded; the officer in the passenger seat sustained minor injuries from bullet fragments and flying debris. Another police vehicle was shot at, but no officers were hit.
The fleeing car stopped, Garcia bailed out and immediately stole another vehicle at gunpoint and sped off. The driver of the first car attempted to flee but was apprehended. Officers continued their pursuit of Garcia to the city’s Westside. He again bailed out and fired at officers, seriously wounding a third officer. Garcia barricaded himself in an apartment. Officers secured the area and began negotiations. Hours later, the felon gave up and was arrested for attempted capital murder, aggravated robbery, and several other charges. But the violence didn’t end there. Over the next few days, three more SAPD officers were shot while trying to arrest repeat offenders.
Chief William McManus voiced his frustration: “There are people on the street who are violent repeat offenders who should be in jail. Period. Something needs to change. We can’t continue doing this. We can’t continue endangering the public by leaving these people on the street.”
Frustration with crime is at a boiling point in our country. What will turn this around? Are more police needed? Yes, but they are just the protectors. Police enforce the law and arrest bad guys—they don’t change people’s hearts. Do we need governors, mayors, and prosecutors to be tougher on criminals? Yes, but they can simply support law enforcement and incarcerate criminals—they can’t change people’s hearts. What or who can save America from the direction she’s heading? What can change people’s hearts? This is addressed in my new book, Saving America. It’s written to the last couple of American generations who grew up in a country largely devoid of Christian influence. The book is suitable to be used for personal or family devotions, or in a small group. Saving America is available on Amazon or in bulk at TheStrongBlueLine.org.
A retired Alabama law enforcement officer recently sent me the following note via LinkedIn about an officer’s suicide:
Good morning, I wanted to thank you for your service and passion. I recently retired but continue to instruct law enforcement in numerous subjects. After a recent course in which I discussed PTSD and law enforcement suicide I had a student who committed suicide. It got me to thinking maybe I wasn’t teaching enough about ways to think about your future. I received several of your books before I retired and the day after that officer’s suicide, I began reading your book “Suicide is not an Option.” I really enjoyed the book and incorporated several parts into my presentation. Thank you again for your hard work. If I can be of any assistance to you, please let me know.
Pray that Suicide is Not an Option will be instrumental in detouring suicides and giving hope to those in crisis.
On the Road
Last month I was in Boise, where Boise Police Department (BPD) Chaplain Ed Spano hosted me to teach a two-day training class to chaplains and peer-support officers. Chaplains from BPD and across Southwest Idaho attended the training. At the end of the month, it was off to Southern Oregon where I presented a Winning a Gunfight seminar to law enforcement officers and chaplains and the next day presented a Moral Injury seminar to chaplains from the area.
Pray for your police.