Own It

Read this featured blog post by Pastor Tony Rea

Own It


I Can (series)

Last week I indicated the Monday morning “I Can” blog had run its course and was coming to an end. Following that announcement, a good number of people, including those who are still in isolation and at-risk health-wise appealed to me to keep it going a few more weeks. How could I say no? 

Standing at roll call prior to the start of an afternoon shift, the sergeant in charge proceeded to brief us in the normal fashion. He announced special attentions and passed out patrol assignments. Afterwards everyone was dismissed to hit the street—everyone except for my partner and me. We were asked to stay behind and meet with the DPD Major Crimes Task Force. Come to find out, a wanted and extremely dangerous felon (rapist) was reportedly seen in our scout car area, and the task force requested a uniformed patrol car accompany them to the location. When we arrived, the suspect wasn’t there so we sat on the house. We didn’t actually “sit on” the house—that’s police jargon for placing the house under continual surveillance.

Probably an hour or so into surveillance, the man in question was identified in an approaching vehicle several blocks away from our location. The task force attempted to stop the vehicle and a chase ensued. We were able to join the pursuit, and not long into the vehicular chase, our guy bailed out on foot. With a good number of patrol units responding to the radio broadcast, the special task force was able to apprehend the suspect without incident. He was patted down (street searched), handcuffed behind the back, and placed in the rear seat of our scout car. Major Crimes then asked us to transport him to the 13th Precinct for booking. 

The entire ride from the scene of the arrest to the precinct, the suspect kept kicking at his boots; and he was diligent, successfully loosening the laces. When we arrived at the precinct, I asked him what was in his boots that he was trying to get rid of? He said he had an itch. His behavior led me to believe he was hiding something, possibly drugs or a weapon of some kind. Once we were in the station lock-up area (a small prisoner-processing room called “the bullpen”), I asked him to slip his boots off. Keep in mind he was still handcuffed. He refused to comply, so I bent down to remove the boots myself. That’s when I saw a semi-automatic hand gun tucked into his boot. Just as I reached for the gun, the suspect started kicking and fighting with me. The gun flew out from his boot, twirled around in the air a few times; and when the gun hit the floor, it discharged right in front of us. Thankfully neither one of us were hit by the stray bullet, which lodged harmlessly into the wall. 

The shot going off in that small enclosed area sounded like a bomb blast. Within seconds a handful of police officers from within the station swiftly ascended on the bullpen with guns drawn. As you might imagine, for a hot second it was a pretty hairy scene. Whenever there’s an incident like that which causes a sudden rush of adrenaline, it usually takes a few moments to return to a normal emotional level. I’m happy to report, order was quickly restored, and no injuries were incurred by anyone. 

Following prisoner processing for the sexual assault warrant, along with the added charge of CCW (carrying a concealed weapon without a permit), I was summoned by the precinct desk supervisor to give an account of the bullpen shooting. Needless to say, the lieutenant was not happy. In fact, he was ticked—and that’s putting it mildly. Guns are not allowed in the lock up area—ever. What just happened created an extremely dangerous situation; it put several police officers’ lives at risk.

Any idea who was held responsible that day? I was! 

Now I could come up with a long list of excuses and offer extraordinary circumstances that led to this jailhouse debacle (including the task force’s inability to perform a proper search); but the fact of the matter is, I was the transporting officer. I was the one who brought an armed prisoner into the station. I suspected something was amiss. I should have addressed it outside the precinct before the suspect ever made it inside the lock-up area. Something like what I just described is never supposed to happen. Never!

But it did happen, and there was nothing I could do about it other than own it. How many of you know, owning our mistakes, admitting we messed up, and acknowledging “I was wrong” is not easy. Instead of taking responsibility, oftentimes we cling to excuses and come up with miscellaneous ways to justify our behavior and actions. It’s just human nature to pass or assign blame to someone else. God, however, desires to redeem all of our shortcomings and failures. 

Hebrews 12:11

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Philippians 3:13

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

Proverbs 28:13 (Message)

You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;

you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.

Proverbs 24:16a (NLT)

The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.


No one likes making mistakes, but more often than not, mistakes turn into valuable lessons. I can tell you this, I never brought another armed prisoner into the station house again. Never!