The Ride Along

Last summer, I went to Chattanooga to visit with my youngest son. I knew when Andrew was a little boy that he would grow up to do something that would get his adrenaline pumping. He was such a fun kid, and as a young mom of three boys, I loved all the adventures.

At 18, Andrew could not hit the door fast enough to enlist in the Army and soon after, he completed a tour in Iraq. Though a little ‘rough around the edges’ sometimes, Andrew still has a servant’s heart. He wasn’t called across seas to be a missionary – but he was given a calling. Only his mission field is a city in which he protects. He served his country and now he is serving his community as a police officer. 

Being Andrew’s mom, I learned a long time ago, that I had to ‘let go’. I could not be wrought with worry for the rest of my life over his choices or… his calling. So I spend a lot of time on my knees. I have a prayer room where I search scripture at a table, I write prayers and praises on post it notes and place them on a wall, and I kneel on a pillow with my hands folded across a chair, to go into battle.

You’ve heard of a war room – well, that is where I do most of my praying. My fighting. I am a warrior just like my son. God created us somewhat alike, even though there are many differences. We both have a passion for justice. His mind and his hands are his weapon. My heart and my knees are mine. 

When he asked if I wanted to go on a ‘ride along’ with him on his graveyard shift, the young mom in me who used to jump off of sheds and climb trees with my boys, got excited for another adventure. 

I met Andrew at the police station at night and he handed me a bullet proof vest. I went in the locker room to put it on and when I came out, he led me to the holding cell where there was a Guatemalan man waiting to be transported to the jail downtown.

There I was standing next to my son in his uniform and he opened the door to the cell and motioned for the man to come out. The man was small and polite. I felt sorry for him. 

Then my son began speaking Spanish. He isn’t fluent, but every word he knows in which to communicate, he sounded fluent! I was impressed. He hand cuffed the man who looked scared, and I told Andrew I felt sorry for him. 

Andrew said, “Don’t – he bashed his wife’s face in.” He explained that in this man’s culture, they beat their wives. And he also explained in this man’s culture their police can beat them. So that’s why he seemed so cooperative.  Andrew is trained to see everything, so I trusted however he handled the situations that night. He was not mean to anyone, he just didn’t make friends with them.

Then, Andrew saw an elderly lady stranded and another vehicle staying with her, so we pulled over and he called for towing and stayed with her until they arrived. It was good to see that sweet heart of his isn’t jaded by all the other stuff. 

Then it started turning dusk. He showed me a few crack houses and we saw a homeless man walking his bike and strangely, he had another bike he was trying to carry on it. Andrew said that he had pulled him in before.

Then we saw an old vintage car at the stop light. It had a bunch of dead leaves all over it. Andrew called the plate in and I thought I heard the dispatcher say the word stolen. My heart was racing and I thought we were about to go on a high speed chase! But Andrew said she said “negative stolen.” Whew.

But before I could catch my breath, the dispatcher started gibberish with codes and all of a sudden Andrew took off leaving my stomach at the stop light! He sped, with his siren on, weaving between cars who got out of his way. Then we turned onto a street and his car fishtailed, but he stayed in control, and the mother in me said, “Andrew, stop that!” 

He had the cutest perplexed look on his face when he said, “You can’t get mad at me!” I realized he was right and the feeling of not having any control whatsoever rushed over me. I knew when I signed a waiver, that I put my life in my son’s hands that night. But I already knew I had placed my life and my son’s life in the Father’s hands. Talk about trust. I could not have gone on the ride along if I didn’t fully trust God. And now… I had to trust my little boy… um young man. 

We got to the neighborhood (alive) where other cops had pulled over, and there was that man with the two bikes. One of the bikes were reported stolen. 

Andrew got out of the car and right away the man said, “I ain’t done nothing, Sarge!”

Andrew began asking him questions and the guy was lying through his three teeth. I felt sorry for him too until he got mad when Andrew handcuffed him and started screaming that he was going to kill Andrew’s wife and kid.

Andrew knows how to deal with that, and the guy was just a thief, not really ‘all there’ in the head it seemed, so I just prayed and watched Andrew deal with this foul-mouthed maniac who said he was innocent. Andrew searched the man’s bag on the bike, which contained ammo. The guy was a convicted felon so it’s illegal for him to have ammo.

When we transported him to the department, Andrew was doing paperwork. That man started cussing all the paint off the holding cell’s walls. When Andrew finished with paperwork, he had charged him with theft of property, having ammo, and threatening him. 

Of course the judge will probably give probation and end up letting him go later. Andrew explained the law part of why criminals end up getting out of jail, I just don’t remember what he said.  

Joe (the thief) changed his tune when we got back in the squad car and started on the way to the jail. He then started pleading with Andrew not to charge him and then with his next breath, he started his cussing again. I was in the front seat listening to this man say the ugliest words he could find to cut my son with. So I started praying out loud and Joe started cussing me

Later when we dropped the guy off, Andrew got tickled when we talked about me praying. I guess it was funny.

As we drove around town it was almost midnight. I was getting sleepy and Andrew decided to mess with me. He said, “See this?” pointing to his radar, and I said, “Yeah.” “It’s a flux capacitor. When we reach 88mph we go back in time…” He is such fun.  I would love to go back in time to when he was a tyke, but I truly enjoy seeing the man he is today.

We had down time in between all the action, where we just drove and talked. My heart was full and my adventure was awesome.

jenjeffreybillington@gmail.com

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