Better Together

Read this featured blog post by Pastor Tony Rea

Better Together


I Can (series)

I know I’m dating myself here but growing up as a kid I liked to watch Adam 12. For all my readers who are not old enough to remember, Adam 12 was a television police drama series that showcased two Los Angeles police officers, Pete Malloy and Jim Reed. What I liked most about these guys is somehow they were able to perfectly maneuver their scout car to always be in the right place at the right time. During the show, whenever there was a BOLO (be on the lookout for) 1-Adam-12 would always be the first one to spot the bad guys and eventually place them under arrest. I remember thinking to myself, “How do they do that?” (Yes, you’re right, that’s a bit sarcastic.)

Well one day when I was working the afternoon shift, my partner and I pulled a classic Adam 12 move. That’s right, immediately following a BOLO alert for a stolen vehicle taken in a carjacking, the vehicle in question turned right in front of us! That kind of thing happened to me twice during my police days, and this was the first time.

On this occasion, right after spotting the felony car, we attempted to stop the vehicle using lights and siren, but the driver refused to pull over. There were two occupants in the car, a driver and front-seat passenger; within seconds we were in a high-speed, hot-pursuit, police chase traveling north on Woodward Avenue. The car turned off Woodward, proceeded to speed along the side streets at 50 to 60 mph, then darted suddenly into an alley. With the car still rolling and before it crashed into a fence, the driver and occupant bailed out on foot and ran in different directions. My partner and I split up and gave chase. We caught one of the occupants, the other one eluded us for the time being but was arrested a short time later.

Now, what makes this story unique and worth telling is the fact that all during that chase and subsequent arrest incident, we had a “volunteer observer” in the scout car. The observer program was a community-relations strategy that law enforcement departments employed which allowed community leaders and interested citizens to witness police patrol procedures first hand. Believe it or not, on this occasion, the volunteer observer we had with us just happened to be a very close friend of mine. His name is Jeff Hillier. He and his family attend CCC. Jeff is currently serving on our board of directors, and I’ve known Jeff 40 years. 

Jeff was with me in Detroit that night. When my partner and I exited the scout car to chase the bad guys on foot, I told Jeff to stay with the police vehicle. Little did I know as I rushed off, there was a third occupant hiding in the back seat of the stolen car. He must have ducked down during the chase and remained out of sight the entire time. Imagine my surprise when I returned to the scene a few moments later and Jeff, my volunteer observer, had the man in custody. I know what you’re thinking… the answer is yes, Jeff was armed with a hand gun, having acquired the proper training and permit to carry a gun. When Jeff saw the man in the back seat trying to make good his getaway, he did not hesitate. He moved into action and secured the arrest of the third subject all by himself. Without Jeff’s quick and decisive response, the man would have gotten away. We didn’t know it at the time since Jeff was supposed to just be an observer, but he became a valuable part of our unit, and his involvement was paramount in the apprehension of all those involved in the carjacking.

Let me ask you, are you familiar with the phrase, “Better together”? Truth is—we ARE better together because from the very beginning of creation, God never intended for us to do life alone. A vibrant, life-giving, and loving community of people has always been God’s first choice. With the church doors closed these last few months, being unable to meet together in a physical building has not only, in effect, brought us closer, it has reaffirmed just how much we need each other. 

In Philippians 1:3-6, Paul the Apostle wrote: I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel… being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Not only does God grace and equip us with everything we need to run the race, He also provides loving brothers and sisters in Christ who are there to celebrate our wins and share in our sorrows—a family of believers, a community of caring people with servant hearts who stand by our side, pray for our needs, and help shoulder the heavy burdens. Do you know people like that? Are you thankful for them? When was the last time you communicated your sincere appreciation?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help… And three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.