Friday, May 10, 2013


I have had several first things in my life; first born, first to be a sibling, first to graduate, first to go to college and graduate, first female police officer in Killeen, Texas, was the first to marry and move away from home.
The part of being first isn't all that much fun as there are no examples before me to learn how to not make mistakes from.  I guess it is to be compared to being the 'guinea pig'.  Sometimes there was a lot of fun having the new clothes first.  The #1 spot was not my favorite when it came to getting a spanking though, that was painful when I knew I didn't deserve it but no one would confess so we all got one!!  Share and share alike I guess.

After returning from my son's wedding in March I was really ready to move back there.  The weather was warm and sunny, all my friends were there, my son's new family was there.  And I was here.  I prayed that the Lord would lead me to my purpose for being here as He is the one that sent me here to begin with.  I felt I had failed in my mission to bring my family close together again.  None of them are willing to forgive each other and move on as a family unit.  I want and need to belong to a 'family'.  As I continued looking for the answer to my question from God one day after work there was a knock on my door.  I opened the door and there stood 2 young men that identified themselves as missionaries.  For some reason we began to discuss my relationship with the Lord.  They inquired if I had ever read the Book of Mormon and I replied that no, I had not ever had the opportunity to do that.  One of them handed me this book and asked me if I would read it.  I told him that yes, I would.  He requested a phone number so he could call me to see if I had any questions about the contents of the book.  I gave it to him without even thinking.
After closing the door I sat down and said a prayer asking God to give me a sign that this Book of Mormon that I was about to start reading was true and that this was something He wanted me to read.  As I began to read the book it struck me that I found it so enlightening that I could not and did not want to stop.  I felt a strong warmth of the Holy Spirit present as I read the words of the prophets.  I had the feeling of total peace and a strong desire to follow this written word.  I am still reading the book at a minimum of twice a day.  I could not wait for the missionaries to come back so we could talk.  When they came they invited me to church where I was introduced to several members.  I truly feel that I belong there.  Everyone treats me like a member of a large family.  They still do and the overwhelming feeling of complete and unconditional love is so great.  For the last several weeks for 3 days a week and on Sunday I have been in lessons so that I can be baptized.  Being baptized is the beginning of cleansing my body, mind, and spirit to be Saved so that I can live an everlasting life with Jesus Christ.  I will then be a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints and I am so excited.  The Holy Spirit is in my home and I can feel His presence everyday.  I am a very blessed person!
I have already encouraged others to at least read the Book of Mormon to experience the joy in the words written by the prophets that received the gospel from God.  It is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and like the Bible it contains the everlasting gospel.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World and that I will be with Him forever when He returns for the second resurrection.

This feeling of immense faith is another first for me.  So now I know that when there is a knock on the door it may be SALVATION looking for me!           

Monday, May 6, 2013


As you can well imagine this new world was quite a challenge to me.  One of my first assignments was as a downtown walking patrol.  This meant that I was on my feet all day and there was no carrying anything but a ticket book. And I also had to wear one of those saucer hats whenever I was not in the car.  My hair was long and thick so it was a challenge to keep that hat on and still look presentable.  The ticket book was not in a metal holder it was just placed in the back pocket of my pants.  Besides carrying the leather belt, gun, handcuffs, radio and holder, flashlight and case and baton and holder around my waist I had to carry the ticket book. One particular cold morning I went to the ladies room and took off the leather belt and went in to the stall and forgot about the ticket book.  As I started to sit down I heard a 'PLOP' in the toilet.  I turned around and OMG it was my ticket book!  I fished it out and it was sopping wet through and through.  Since we were accountable for all the tickets we signed out I placed this book in my locker and hung it up in hopes that it would dry and I could use the remaining tickets.  After all it was only water.  After a couple of days the book was dry enough to use.  My training officer asked me why they were so wrinkled?  I told him what had happened in a short and sweet statement.  After he stopped laughing and with tears in his eyes he said I was the first officer ever to issue Scratch and Sniff tickets!

I never spent a lot of time around guns growing up.  Handguns nor rifles nor shotguns as I was raised in the city. 
Although I was a decent shot with the handgun I was afraid of the shotgun.  To load and unload it was not something I enjoyed.  One early morning as I was finishing up a graveyard shift at 6am I had parked my patrol unit and was unloading the shotgun by ejecting them one at a time.  I had the barrel of the gun pointing at the driver's side window.  Once all the rounds are ejected you were supposed to pull the trigger to release the tension on it before storing it.  Usually we kept 4 rounds in the gun and as I looked in my lap I thought I counted 4.  Unfortunately, there was only 3 which meant there was one in the chamber.  So as I pulled the trigger it went off and I watched every single piece of glass fall out of the driver's window in slow motion.  I also blew buckshot onto the patrol unit parked next to me and damaged the overhead light bar.  I calmly radioed for the dispatcher to send my Sergeant outside to my location.  I didn't know whether to cry or just what to do.  I could not hear anything and I was scared.
Most days one of my fellow officers would stand beside the door and chat with me before we finished our shift.  This morning thankfully he did not do it.
I was suspended a day without pay and I went for extensive training with the shotgun.  Then it became a friend and would one day be the catalyst behind keeping me safe as I encountered two burglars in the middle of the night.

It doesn't rain much in Texas but when it does there is usually puddles everywhere as it is mostly rock and it doesn't absorb water very well if at all.  One night myself and another officer were chasing a suspect through an apartment complex.  The other officer was behind the suspect a few feet and I was coming at them from the left side hoping to distract him.  As I was running across the courtyard my feet slipped on the wet grass and I fell face first in to a huge mud puddle.  The suspect stopped running to watch me fall and the other officer was able to arrest him.  They both were laughing so hard at my expense.  It was a collar for the both of us even though I never touched the suspect or came close to him!

Quarterly the entire department had to qualify at a firing range with our duty weapons.  This particular time they decided we would run an obstacle course.  Climbing a small fence was the first obstacle.  I got up one side of the fence but as I went over it my leg of my jeans hung up on the top of the fence.  Needless to say, I was left hanging there for several minutes while all the guys had a good laugh at my expense.  When I did it again I got right to the fence and simply ran around it.  As long as I got to the other side was all that mattered.

When ever the dispatcher sent us to a major call we normally responded with overhead lights and sirens.
 I was sent to a major accident in the rain one afternoon on the main road through town.  As I got to the scene and exited my car the lights and the siren was still on.  Much to my chagrin I locked the doors of the car when I exited.  I had to humble myself and call for another officer with the same model patrol car to come and unlock my unit.  So my car sat in the middle of the road with the siren going and the overhead lights revolving for about 15-20 minutes.  Traffic was backed up so it took the responding help a little longer to get to me.  Talk about embarrassing!  

These are just a small sample of some of dumb things I did over my career.  If these stories brought a smile or a chuckle to you then I have brightened your day.  In another segment I will reveal more to show that being a street officer has to have some comedy to offset some of the horror you see everyday.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Independence Day attack...

Deciding to excuse medical personnel turned out to be a good idea as shortly after I made this decision I was to need their expertise to save my life.
July 4, 1977 I happened to be off duty so I went to a large outdoor party in a neighboring city.  I was with a friend that I had known for many years. Teresa was like a sister to me and her new husband was an acquaintance that I had just met.  At this party I noted that there were several attendees and none that I knew.  After the bands started to play I got up to dance with Teresa's husband.  After about a minute we were attacked.  All I remember is that from behind I was hit on the right side of my head with a heavy object.  It turned out to have been a camera.  After falling to the ground, I was dizzy and hurt, and a large group of people formed a circle around me and began to stomp me and kick me.  Cigarettes were also used to burn my arms and legs.  Vaguely, I heard the voices of the R&D Security team trying to break up the circle in order to get to me.  After what seemed like an eternity I heard a voice I recognized as Ray Garrison, the owner of the Security team.  He was finally able to get to me and get the group of men and women who were assaulting me away from me.  He stayed with me until the ambulance arrived.  I could not move nor consciously understand what had happened.  Shortly before being placed in the ambulance I blacked out.  The next conscious thing was waking at the hospital Emergency Room.
Per the attending physician I was hurt pretty bad.  My face was swollen so that my right eye was black and blue and closed. I hurt all over and I was covered in my own blood, dirt, grass, beer, and who knows what else.  My chest hurt the most and the doctor informed me that CPR and the shock paddles had to be used while I was en-route to the hospital as I had basically died.  Okay, now I am scared.  He reassured me that I was in good hands there at the Army hospital.  This hospital was the best trauma center in the area at this time.
After being cleaned up and put in a private room different police dignitaries began visiting me.  They were concerned that I wouldn't want to continue my career once I was released.  I adamantly informed them that I would be back and I wanted to find who did this to me and why!
After a couple of days I was transferred to a civilian hospital.  While completing an exam I discovered that I had no feeling in my legs.  I was unable to move them either and I began to scream and cry.  I was paralyzed from the waist down.  The doctors prepared me that I may not ever walk again. The trauma of being kicked in my lower back numerous times damaged my nerves.
WHY ME? At first I was in total shock and disbelief, then I got angry, and then I became determined to prove the doctors wrong.  I began physical therapy in earnest and worked night and day to exercise.  By the end of the year I was walking with a cane and back to work, administrative light duty.  I had been through depression and much anger to get me back on my feet, literally.
During some of my weakest moments I was encouraged with daily by updates from our detective division that the District Attorney's Office gave Killeen PD jurisdiction over the location of my aggravated assault to investigate and prosecute those that participated as the local jurisdiction was not going to pursue any charges.  Eventually, the guilty parties were identified and arrested. By the time the case was to go to court I was walking without aids.  I was back.
The case never went to court as all the people involved pled out.  One man and one woman went to prison.  The others went to a short-termed facility and paid a hefty fine and was on probation for several years.  The court also ordered them to pay ALL of my medical bills.  The reason for the assault was two fold.  One was that I was a police officer and the other was that this family of thugs thought I was married to the man I was dancing with and one of them was jealous as she had had a relationship with him in the past. Being arrested and going to jail was commonplace for this family.  Personally, I never heard of them but I was due to interact with them for years to come.
After everything was said and done this whole experience proved to be valuable.  I became much more cautious in my everyday work and therefore I felt in a strange way, it served as my salvation.........


Lack of trust....

Being with a male officer for 3 months should have been an indication that no one had any confidence in a female in uniform.  Everyone immediately started talking to him and pretty much ignored me.  Being new to the community was another challenge for me as I had to prove myself to them as well.  Once I left the 2-person unit and began to patrol as a 1 person patrol unit the public still had a problem relating to me.  Making traffic stops were the easiest however as I was all of 6 foot 1 inch as I exited the patrol car and a whopping 235 pounds.  Some motorists even commented that, 'I didn't think you would ever stop coming out of that car'.  As luck would have it I managed to write a lot of tickets for speeding on a new highway that was becoming speed alley.  I wrote a big football star, Earl Campbell who was playing for the then Houston Oilers.  He paid it shortly after the stop and my Sergeant was up in arms over it.  But I didn't know who he was and he obviously respected the stop as he took care of it right away.  After that I decided to not write those that were in the medical field such as doctors, nurses, or EMT.  I might need one of them someday!

My non-communication with the people in the community obviously came to the attention of two high ranking officers in the department.  On the day that I was assigned an area to patrol, I was excited to start my community policing.  At the same time I dreaded having them turn their backs on me.  As I prepared my patrol car and was about to leave the lot of the police department there was a knock on the passenger side window.  Standing there was the Chief of Police.  He asked me if he could ride with me for the first half of my day, well how do tell this guy no?  So I accepted him as my partner of the day.  Now I am really nervous.
He told me he'd stay in the car so the calling party would have to talk to me but that backfired and he was really surprised when the public came up to his side of the car even though I was standing outside to meet them.  At the end of the first 4 hours the Chief commented that I did a good job.  He got out and my next partner was standing by.  This new person was the head of the Detective Division, Dennis Lewis.  The Chief spoke to him in passing and as Detective Lewis got in the car he told me that after today the public WILL NEVER SHUN you again.  WHAT?
The first call we responded to was a civil dispute and as soon as the complainant ignored me and went to him he immediately stopped them and instructed them that if they won't talk to Officer T then they will not talk to him either.  She is a police officer and here to assist.  He told them if they wanted help she is here to do that otherwise the police will leave and not come back!  The complainant was surprised and so was I!
After a time it got to where people would call and request me to respond to their homes.  Captain Dennis Lewis was my salvation in this situation.......