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So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." Acts 16:27-31

Cross Bar Motel

I have been a Deputy Corrections Officer for 7 years, and although I work inside, I go through many of the same feelings of despair that "Road Cops" do. In fact, Sometimes I feel it might even be worse. Due to the fact that I NEVER get to see any good in jail.

When I started at the Sheriff's Office, I considered myself to be a Christian because I believed in Jesus. I found out later (much later) what it was to be saved. I married my first wife 10 months after being sworn in. The job was my life. I worked so much O.T. that I was only home to sleep between 16 hour shifts, about 6 days a week.

I was consumed by my job, and overwhelmed at the same time. I became hardened to the Cruelty and depression that I witnessed day in and day out. My original intent was to work the jail, and keep testing for a Road Cop job. My wife cried daily and said "I do NOT want to be married to a cop and worry everyday".

I compromised my dreams and stayed in the Jail to appease her. And I dove in harder at work. Then my wife, who so hated the idea of me being a cop, got a job as a Deputy in our Neighboring County. Now, I realized that my dream was gone and I felt trapped. When I was off duty, my recreation became Alcohol. I drank until I was numb. My wife worked 3-11's and I worked in our Jail on the "Day shift" (7:30-3:45). We saw each other in passing at home only. Once in a while we'd get a night off together. I could never wait for those nights. I missed her terribly. Then 2 years into the job (and 1 year before hitting top pay), I got off duty and raced home to see my wife. It was one night when she'd be off. I could not wait to see her. I walked in the door and she said "Jim, go change out of your uniform, and come on out to the dining room. I have something to tell you." I was excited, I thought "GREAT!, she's made plans for tonight!" WRONG!!! I sat down at the dining room table and she blurted out,"Jim, I've been seeing someone else and I want a divorce!" I was stunned!

I'd had no idea. I asked her questions. I asked, first, "why did I have to change out of uniform to hear this?" and she responded with, because I didn't want you to hurt me.

I was dumbfounded, I'd never ever even come close to hurting my wife before. I would not hit her or do anything physically violent. I then asked who? and she said it was her Sergeant I then asked when it started, and she said "last October" around our 1st wedding anniversary. (which of course I was working on). She went on to say that he gave her love and attention, and that they were only telling me because his wife had found out. I went through a major Depression during the next few months. I was the "Officer afraid of nothing!" and I put myself as well as my co-workers at risk. I even put my gun to my head several times at home while drinking. Thank goodness, my Semi Auto's trigger goes free when pressed against the temple hard enough.

I came out of my depression, temporarily and started to date. Then I met a beautiful woman. She was my every thought. I Loved her so much, I knew she'd be my wife eventually. I backed off at work. And I gave her everything. But, she refused to commit. I wanted to be loved so bad that I put up with her sleeping around and toying with my emotions. I again began to drink heavily.

And told myself that if I loved her enough, she'd eventually come around and marry me. I was wrong! It was an abusive relationship. She hurt me over and over. She had this mentality of "I don't want you, but I don't want anyone else to have you either." She'd go out with others, and when I did the same, she'd be CRAZY with jealousy. I also had the added stress of an inter-racial

relationship. She was black, and I am white. My co-workers harassed me and so did the public. We could not go anywhere without stares and derogatory comments being said under peoples breath, that we still heard. During the last few months of our 2 year relationship, we broke up maybe 6 times. At one point I told her "I'm lost, and don't know where to turn."

She did one good thing for me then, she gave me a Bible for my birthday and said "read this!". I'd never read the Bible before and she pointed me in the right direction.

I'll admit I was skeptical, I mean after all, what possibly could apply today from a 2000 year old book? But I read it anyway. And soon I realized, everything applied today! I was into the word so much, I even took it to work to read. I decided in 1994 to claim Jesus as my savior. I learned to talk to GOD! He was there all along, and I realized that I did not need to look for some one to love me. I am Loved.

It did take some time to learn how to pray. I used to pray for a family. Specifically, my girlfriend and her daughter. That exact thing did not come true, because it was not his will. I continued to go through many trials and tribulations at work and home.

Then one day, while my girlfriend and her daughter were at my house, a little girl from down the street came over to play with my girlfriends daughter. (it was a Friday and no school the next day). At about 9 p.m. the girls mother came to retrieve her. I invited her in and said she could stay to socialize, and let the girls continue to play.

She agreed. And I later found out, that in her first 5 minutes here, she saw how badly my girlfriend treated me. I of course was blinded by my love for her, and did not see her selfishness. Two days later the same thing happened, except when my girlfriend left, the other girls mother stayed to talk (her name is Vicki). On Monday, Vicki and I had lunch. She was off work that day and I was in the middle of serving a 60 day unpaid suspension at work for losing my temper and stomping an inmate. I was at my lowest. I prayed a lot during this time. I prayed that simply "Gods will be done!". And of course it was. My girlfriend, decided that it was time for another one of our "Break-ups". I decided I'd had enough, and deserved better. Vicki, turned out to be GREAT and she wanted me. We started dating on Jan. 22 1996 (only days after meeting for the first time). God answered my prayer for a family. I married Vicki in Gods house on Sept. 28, 1996 and gained a wife and daughter.

Her daughter Shawna is now our daughter. God also took care of saving my job. I still work for the Sheriff and attended Counseling for my temper. Which honestly is easy to control with God in my life. I realize now that God put me through all this, to prepare me for the life I have now. I am a better Officer, a good husband and I LOVE being a father. Shawna is half black (from her biological deadbeat dad) and God put me through the inter-racial relationship to prepare me for being her Father. Shawna and Vicki are everything to me. I no longer work any over time at all, and look forward to all my off time with my "Family".

I thank the Lord every day for saving me and bringing them to me. I can also now see the Beauty in this world, and yes, even in Jail sometimes.

There is an officer that I've worked with for many years and I always thought he was a little "nutty". He carries his bible with him and talks GOD to everyone, Inmates and Officers alike. I now have a new found respect and understanding of him. Because now I too walk with GOD! It was he who first showed me Isaiah 41:10 when I felt low. And I always refer to that as my

FAVORITE scripture and pass it along to anyone I know who feels down. It works for me as a GREAT REMINDER that God is there for me always.

Thank You and God Bless,

Jim Mitchell

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