Read this featured blog post by Pastor Tony Rea



I Can (series)


For the past four months now, ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, I have endeavored to recount a past patrol experience from my former police officer days and tell you about it in my blog.  In preparation for today’s episode, I sat at my computer and thought to myself, “What am I going to write about this week?”  


There were plenty of potential ideas floating around in my head, but I just couldn’t seem to land on anything that appealed to me. That’s when I remembered I had a box of police items stored somewhere in my house. It took me a while to find the box (it’s quite possibly been 10 to 12 years since I’ve seen it); but when I did, I hit pay dirt. I had totally forgotten about a case log sheet I had compiled, along with copies of all my arrests during the last four years I worked (1981 to 1984).


I spent the next several hours reading through literally hundreds of police accounts. As I read my reports, I was blown away at how each of those narratives came alive in my mind even though it has been 36 years since I wore a police badge. Out of all the events I reviewed that day, I was drawn to one specific incident that took place in May, 1984.


On this occasion, my partner and I were assigned to the south end of the precinct, and we had received several complaints from the owner of the Bonn Lynn Motel. The YBI—Young Boys Incorporated—street drug gang (I wrote about YBI in a previous episode), set up shop at the Bonn Lynn and were conducting illegal heroin sales from inside the motel.  We decided to put the Bonn Lynn under surveillance and document the activity taking place there. From a place of concealment across the street, using high-powered binoculars, we watched the narcotic sales activity taking place. We were able to identify the main drug runner and the location of the heroin stash.  Rather than pass this information along to the narcotics unit, which was our original plan, we proceeded to the Bonn Lynn and shut down the narcotic activity ourselves.  We secured the arrest of the drug dealer and confiscated 319 individual packets of heroin along with a good amount of cash.  It was the single biggest uniformed patrol street drug bust I had ever seen or been a part of.  Even the narcotics unit was somewhat impressed with the arrest.


Now this particular incident I just described has significant sentimental value to me, and not just because it was a quality arrest, it was my last arrest. It took place on Monday, May 28, 1984, Memorial Day.  It was my final day as a cop, the last time I would ever put on a police uniform.  On May 29 I went on a ten-day furlough, followed by some additional paid leave I accumulated over the years. Immediately following the leave time, without any special attention or fanfare, I went to the 13th Precinct station house and cleaned out my locker.  Afterwards, I sat in front of my locker all by myself and became extremely emotional, and I’m talking a flood of tears.


After ten years of carrying a gun and a badge and with a very promising future in law enforcement ahead of me, I was being led by God to take a step of faith into the unknown. Sure I was excited at the prospect of becoming a student pastor, and I believed with all my heart the Lord was calling me out of police work and into full-time ministry.   Still, there was a significant amount of uncertainty and apprehension associated with walking away from what had become highly familiar to me. I was launching out into the deep, and this brand-new challenge took me well outside my comfort zone.


As I write this episode, I sense the Spirit of the Lord is prompting some of you to take a step into the unknown—maybe to a place you have never been before.  Quite possibly this is a transitional time for you; and truth be told, it’s a little scary.  Maybe, like what I experienced, there’s a new job or position on the horizon, maybe you will be living in a different house or city, planning for college, getting married, approaching retirement years, or even beyond.


Whatever the case might be, the Bible promises that God will be right there with you each and every step of the way. Furthermore, He is the one ordering your steps, going before you, and making a way where there is no way.  And here’s the best part, with God at the helm leading and guiding and providing you with peace and assurance, you cannot fail.


Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

lean not on your own understanding. 

In all your ways, acknowledge Him,

and He will make your paths straight

(direct your path).


Isaiah 58:11

The Lord will guide you always; 

He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.


Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


Hebrews 11:6

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.