It began powerfully in the winter of ’62… It would not go away. The thought just would not leave me alone… It was eating me up… Then I presented the idea to my wife… Explosion! NO… NO… NO… No… no… no… well, maybe… ok, apply and see what happens… And I did!!!
The process took a long time because of my eyes not being acceptable.
I discovered a process that assisted me to change the problem, passed an eye test… and finished the process (one of five hired out of the forty that took the test). The call came and had to be responded to immediately… And I did! I reported for field training and was sent a hundred miles away into the coal fields of southwest Virginia. I was raised in poverty, but there I received a new education about poverty.
My goal was to make the world more safe for everyone as much as it was possible for me to accomplish. My faith was that to do that I needed to become a Trooper. I was immediately forced into study of books and information during off duty time and still had to work the regular road time with my trainers. They arranged for me to work two weeks at a time with 4 days off arranged together to give me time to travel to home and give me more efficient time to be with my family. We had two children then and the youngest (my daughter Donna who is so ill and lives here with me) was just 6 months old.
This is the first information with which I was powerfully impressed after arriving on my duty station (It still is one of the major keys to my life!):
“Humbly recognizing the responsibilities
entrusted to me as a member of the Department of State Police,
an organization dedicated to the preservation of human life and property,
I pledge myself to perform my duties honestly and faithfully
to the best of my ability and without fear, favor or prejudice.
I shall aid those in danger or distress,
and shall strive always to make my State and Country
a safer place in which to live.
I shall wage unceasing war against crime in all its forms,
and shall consider no sacrifice too great
in the performance of my duty.
I shall obey the laws of the United States of America
and of the Commonwealth of Virginia,
and shall support and defend their constitutions
against all enemies whomsoever, foreign and domestic.
I shall always be loyal to and uphold
the honor of my organization, my State and my Country.”
It so powerfully affected my spiritual and emotional heart that I have never been again as I was before… My heart ached to be an effective instrument of peace and safety and I set out to accomplish that goal to the best of my ability. I made a difference throughout all of my career and I am still doing what I can even though I am retired.
The things that affected me then still affect me now. The deaths of Peace Keepers have always affected me deeply… And even more so as my career progressed! Then I became a chaplain as well as a law enforcer.
If I could be the back-up for some Peace Keepers who were putting themselves into a bad situation, I would try and make them aware of the bad position and try to change things to improve the situation for better safety and success.
In the area of driving vehicles, I would try and evaluate how well they were operating… And give recommendations, if they are warranted, for safety sake. My goals are still peace and safety. For me, peace and safety includes Peace Keepers whose peace and safety I have been assisting and protecting, literally and physically, throughout the last 35 years with city police officers on the street and as a certified instructor giving training to several police departments including the military.
I made it a point to take advantage of any training that I could obtain. Often I was fifteen or more years older than my classmates when I began here in Virginia Beach… I was 62 when I took the last special firearms class before retirement… I persisted and hung in there with them and learned it all as well as possible in class and practical problems… Then I put it to use on the street and learned how to apply it… Pursuit Driving was one of my favorites. I went through it so often that I could do it extremely well, even as in the last time under the wheel for in-service training, I carried my instructor with me and caught the fleeing vehicle half way through the course… I did not touch a single cone and stayed on his tail until we finished the course. My instructor got out of the car and exclaimed, “***, you haven’t lost a thing, have you?” That was just before I was forced to retire as a police officer at age 65.
I know that some Peace Keepers will die in the line of duty through no fault of their own simply because someone wants to stop them or kill them. I know that!!!… Often it is an ambush that they were not prepared for.
Currently, we are killing ourselves more often in all kinds of situations…
In cars and vehicles when we might have been able to do something more safely and achieved a better result BY surviving and arriving to handle the need…
In shooting situations that might have been different BY learning and applying better ways to do everyday things… We are gaining better methods all of the time!
We could do better by daily, consciously recognizing that stress is a killer in itself:
Causing changes to our health in all aspects…
Causing us to not do things correctly…
Causing us to make mistakes that give openings to others who might take advantage to cause us harm…
There are *Ten Fatal Errors that I learned long ago that we must learn not to make if we want to survive and be successful:
(*from the old film OFFICER DOWN – CODE 3)
- Lack of knowledge, apathy or complacency…
- Take a bad position…
- False assumptions…
- Relaxing too soon…
- No search or improper search…
- Failure to watch their hands…
- Sleepy or asleep…
- Tombstone courage (taking unnecessary chances)…
- Missing danger signs…
- improper use of cuffs (temporary restraining device at best)…
STRESS can kill us!
PEOPLE can kill us!
WE can cause our own deaths!
The bottom line is that no one else can take care of us in most cases…
We usually live and survive well because of what we know and what we do with what we know!!! NO MATTER HOW, DEAD IS DEAD!!! To be effective we must survive as best we are able, even if it takes a little more time!
May any blindness be removed! May any detrimental hardheadedness be softened and circumvented! May inexperience and lack of knowledge be replaced with wisdom and the highest of efficiency!
Sunday, June 17, is Father’s Day. I remind you all that most of you are like sons and daughter to me. I am talking to you like a dad even though I may have never seen you. I love you like a father is supposed to love his children (and I am old enough to be in that situation with most of you)… You older, mature ones are my Compadres (brothers and sisters, family of the same heart). I have the same depth and power of love, care and concern for all members of law enforcement and the military, the ones that I call Peace Keepers, and these words are just too insufficient to convey the depth and power of of my care, concern and love to you and for you. I love you as much as I do my own children
All Peace Keepers are vital to our world. Our world, as we know it, cannot survive without Peace Keepers. Thank you for all of your service and sacrifice. In thanking you, I am also thanking all of those who have been here and are gone from among us… I am also thanking all who are retired from the job. I pray your service and career be as special to and for you as mine has been to and for me!!! Be even greater blessed…
Go home safely at the end of your tour by BEING CAREFUL OUT THERE! ALWAYS be alert, watchful, suspicious and wary. Take the very best care of you as you care for and about others. See to the strength and well being of your spirit as well as all the rest of yourself. Your spirit must be strong for you to be successful. All of this is by your own choice… My Commander-In-Chief has made provision for you but it is up to you to learn it, take it in and put it to use for the best results possible.
Call or write if I may be of any service… Or if you just want to encourage me… Feedback encourages all who write… It helps to know we are reaching someone who reads the message.
We have had a strange week:
Donna was set to have surgery to remove the clot in her Vena Cava on Monday but she had low Potassium and low Sodium. No surgery until both are brought up to normal range. She is still waiting. The Potassium is Ok but the Sodium is just not responding no matter how much they push into her. Hopefully it will be up by Monday.
Donnie is still off and on with contract work. He did one job for me this week.
I saw my eye surgeon Thursday and I am now off physical restriction so I can get back to exercising and building up my strength and stamina. This was another milestone that had to be achieved on my way back to full life. I am still making progress and I survived another birthday this past week…
It just keeps getting gooder and gooder!!!
Thanks for all of the responses, care, concern and prayers.
As it has always been… So it still is!!!
“VICTORIOUS WARRIORS WIN FIRST…
AND THEN GO TO WAR,
WHILE DEFEATED WARRIORS GO TO WAR FIRST…
AND THEN SEEK TO WIN.” Sun tzu
Training and practice are everything!
Without them, the best results are not obtained!
ONLY LIVE PEACE KEEPERS SEE THE VICTORY!!!
THEY SEE IT ONLY BECAUSE OTHERS HAVE MADE THEIR ETERNAL PAYMENTS OF SWEAT, BLOOD, TEARS AND LIFE FOR THAT VICTORY!
WITH THE DEEPEST OF APPRECIATION AND RESPECT…
BE BLESSED (A CONDITION TO BE ENVIED)…
BE SUCCESSFUL… BE SAFE…
[My injunction to be safe means doing all you know to do as you do your job... it means doing the best you can with what you have where you are using all your faculties to get the job done well and with good results conquering evil and keeping or restoring peace... it does not mean to avoid duty and honor... it does not mean to cower or allow anything to hinder you in the process of duty according to rules, law and ethics... it means that if the demand takes your earthly life you destroy as much evil as possible in the process. That is my definition of being safe... doing the best you can and leaving the rest to God or whomever else is responsible... being best employed for the sake and protection of all the things and people that we hold dear.]
I represent, write for… and give the credit to:
God the Father (my Commander-in-Chief),
Jesus Christ the Son (the Eternal Captain of my life) and
the Holy Spirit of God (my Eternal Teacher, Keeper and Guide).
In Christ I live… with Him and for you I serve…
And I rejoice that you are there whether you are Christian or not…
For God, Country and the Peace Keeper…
D. R. (Don) Staton, Chaplain to Peace Keepers,
Surviving Peace Keeper,
Virginia State Police Alumni,
RETIRED Police Officer,
RETIRED Police Instructor,
RETIRED Chaplain Administrator,
Community Service Officer (Traffic Safety),
Virginia Beach Police Dept.
3709 Beacon Lane, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
All rights reserved. This Message:
Is for Peace Keepers and their loved ones and it may be forwarded with the complete message intact to individuals and web sites…
May not be duplicated in print nor publications without permission….
May not be used in any manner for personal financial gain nor profit
Except for quoted material attributed to a specific source, all material in CHAPLAIN CORNER is my personal opinion gained from 49 years of working with people in peace keeping and is not to be construed to represent the policies and opinions of any department with whom I have served or am serving.
To subscribe to this free, weekly e-mail message for Peace Keepers,
write to Chaplain D. R. Staton at email@example.com or at
3709 Beacon Lane, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.
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