In September of 2010, with twenty-three years of police work tucked under my gun belt, I retired from my department and headed into a new chapter of my life, or so I thought. I’d spent thirteen years in the Homicide and Violent Crimes Unit and was mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. Like all serious decisions, I did not enter into it lightly. Lori and I put much prayer and consideration into it. I’d carefully plotted out the myriad of job opportunities available. Topping the list was writing full-time, both books and articles. I hoped to focus on my fiction line and develop my craft. I had several potential book contracts on the table, some freelance writing possibilities, and various teaching and speaking engagements lined up. I was also scheduled to work part-time, maybe fifteen hours a week, in a newly developed Cold Case Unit, reviewing Cold Case Homicides at my leisure. I had some teaching prospects out of the country with the State Department. It all seemed so right. I truly felt I was ready to walk away from fulltime law enforcement and transition into a new phase of my life.
A few months into my new gig, though, I got the sense that MY plan for where I was going and God’s might not be the same thing. One by one every item on my list was systematically wiped away, and I was left wondering what in the world God was doing. Both Lori and I felt the clear call for me to retire and head in this direction, but my plan was crumbling. Proverbs 19:21 became a reality to me. “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
As the emotional and financial realities were setting in, I also realized another small glitch in my master blueprint—I was still a cop at heart and not inclined to sit at home all day writing. The warrior nature instilled in the Marines and nurtured on the streets wasn’t quite ready to take a holiday. One night I found myself doing an extra lap around a pharmacy parking lot when I saw a suspicious person. I’d always slow down and rubberneck as I passed traffic stops to make sure the officer was safe, ready to pounce if he wasn’t. I was constantly scanning crowds for any potential threats. My cop alarms wouldn’t and couldn’t shut off. I’ve concluded that I’m a ruined soul, a Sheepdog as author Dave Grossman so accurately labeled it. His essay Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs explains in an interesting way the mindset and attitudes of police officers and soldiers, people who feel it’s their duty and calling to protect others. I had to accept the fact that being a cop (Sheepdog) is exactly how God made me and is His primary calling for my life.
So, several months ago I started a full-time position with a smaller agency in our county. Now, with the crystal clarity of hindsight, I can see that God placed me exactly where He wanted me, even though I went there kicking and screaming. I love my job, and a whole new world of law enforcement has opened up to me. I’ve met many new brothers and sisters, and God has blessed me with countless opportunities to serve Him in my new role.
Writing and speaking are still important to me, and I seek to be faithful in that area as well. I’m working on several books and articles now, and I just started this blog, so we’ll see where all this goes. But first and foremost, I’m an old Sheepdog, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. I hope you enjoy my new blog.