Most of us are running… Running from something… Running toward something… or Running for something or someone! Why and how are you running?… Law and lawbreakers… Justice for those not treated properly… Family who need you and could not live well without you… Spouse or other most significant other… Friends… Activities… Hobbies… For some of us, one thing or one person is more important than anything or anyone else! We all need to evaluate why we are running, how we are running and for what we are running.
Sometimes one thing must be interchangeable for another… But we forget to re-gear as the immediate environment and needs change… Or we choose not to re-gear… If we do not re-gear, and some of us don’t, someone suffers… Usually us… Sometimes us and others… Sometimes just others! Failure to be constantly in the evaluation mode in work and personal life brings on the negative affects… Not listening can bring on the negative affects… Not seeing can bring on the negative affects… Being hardheaded and unchangeable brings on the negative affects… What is the key to all of this?… The key is to learn communication, evaluation and observation… No one of these three is more important than the other two… Making use of all three means we are flexible and adaptable.
I just witnessed an example of that. Dirt bikers were grabbing purses from people on foot and running to an off road area with dirt trails not accessible to four wheeled vehicles. When law enforcement would pursue them they would run for the trails and get away. A local bike gang was suspected of the activity but their bikes never showed signs of dirt from the trails. They were always clean when checked right after any thefts. A patrol officer was always being teased by the bikers because he was regularly checking their bikes when he saw them. They put up a lot of complaining about harassment so the officer challenged them to do something to help.
On the very next case, the perps did the usual running to the dirt trails and appeared to be getting away as they passed the barrier and disappeared over a hill. The officers had to stop their car at the barrier… Shortly the two perps appeared coming back over the crest and down the hill followed by the biker gang… They surrendered to the officers and were taken in for booking… The officer who challenged the bikers to do something thanked the bikers… The leader informed him that nothing had changed except that they were tired of being blamed for the thefts… Were aware of the pursuit and decided to come through the trail from the opposite direction… Of course two bikes could not get through twelve bikes and turned around to get away from them but had nowhere to go but back to the officers where they were apprehended.
An officer changed his thinking and challenged the bikers to help… The bikers changed their attitude of resisting the frequent checks to one of being cooperative… Communication, evaluation and observation coupled with cooperation and a community problem was solved… A purse snatching spree was ended.
I had a similar experience once with a family of young men who were constantly swapping license plates without transferring the registrations from car to car with DMV. Often they would use one plate on one car and the second plate on another car when Virginia Law requires a plate on both the front and the rear, two plates are issued for each car. I would often catch them and charge them along with revoking the plates for improper use of license plates. One day I took the one plate and asked the driver to bring me the second plate since he lived just up the road from me. He brought it when I was off duty as I had instructed him to do. He handed it to me and made a sarcastic remark about being happy to turn in his plates… I was walking away when he said that and turned back to him and walked up close… I reminded him that all he had to do to avoid, charges, fines and revocation was to legally transfer the registration to a car before he drove it on the highway and he would have no more action from me and I would be most glad if he did that. He changed his attitude and I never issued another traffic or registration charge to those brothers again. The process this time was observation, investigation, evaluation and communication… And it worked!
I have been an instructor in several fields for a lot of years, fifty of them in peace keeping, forty in religion and thirty in engineering. The first thing I learned about instructing or teaching is that repetition is the most important key to learning for both myself and all students… Some students need to hear the information and see the examples more times than others. If you are not willing to receive and answer questions then you will never learn to communicate. I have known some Peace Keepers who would only give information but would allow no questions nor feedback… If there is no interaction between two or more people in giving, receiving, feedback and clarifying information, there is no communication!
In a classroom setting that means giving an overview of the information (tell them what you are going to tell them)… Tell them what you have to tell them (in a simple and clear message) and then tell them what you told them (summarize). Quite often it must work the same way out on the street in those times where our duties come into close contact with the lives of the people with whom we must deal… Some things block their receiving (then we must calm them down if possible)… Hot tempers and hardheadedness are often the problems here… Calmness and persistence must be used here.
The Book says, “A soft answer turns away wrath” (soothes and calms anger)… It also says, “He who controls his own mouth is greater than he who conquers a city.” So this is a technique I have found works extremely well for us. If you have to shout to get attention, that sometimes makes the other person respond more loudly… But speaking in a softer tone may cause them to stop and ask what you said… Controlling your tone and inflection is important also! That means they have to change their thoughts and forget about being angry for that time as they seek to learn what you said… Quite often it does work… Or you just take them aside and let them vent their shouting and anger until you can get the opportunity to talk them down… No one can engage in communication and stay hot with anger… Communication requires thought and formulation of a response… The thinking requirement takes the fire out of the anger and they are able to communicate. I know this works because I have used it often.
This process works well at home also… If we will use it!!! The people in our personal lives need concentrated care and concern also, if they will receive it!!!
This week I thought on the long, long journey of my ancestors that brought me to this moment. From the Mid-East to Eastern Europe to Western Europe to England to Scotland to America… Thousands of years and many, many ancestors. In coming to America, they settled in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina where they sought to build lives of peace and freedom unhindered by others. They fought whenever and wherever they had to in order to survive and live. I am a displaced mountain man that longs often to see my mountain home again… But my Commander-In-Chief, God the Father, had to lead me away from the mountains so that I could find the man who led me to find how to meet Him and communicate with Him… I was led down from the mountains to the flat lands of tidewater to learn His ways and serve Him and the people here.
In this place many of my talents were sharpened and improved as I functioned as a Clergyman/Police Officer/Chaplain. I served six churches, ran three personal businesses, two non-profit corporations and served the local police department thirty five years after having been a Virginia State Police Trooper before He brought me from my beloved mountains to serve here. Life here has been concentrated, demanding and fruitful… Here I learned so much more greatly how to serve Him, all Peace Keepers and the people in need… Here I became really useful in life, family and service… Here I learned the fullness of service in Him, to Him and to others.
Now much of my service is relegated to writing and teaching a small group.
I am still doing all I know to do. My prayer is to always be useful to Him and to YOU! My first years of service as a Trooper led me, and then demanded, that I finish my quest to establish communications with the one I heard referred to as God. We connected in March ’68. The things I witnessed as a Trooper convinced me that He was there. I had been trying for twenty years to find someone who could explain to me how to establish those communications… I found the man at the end of the twenty year search!!! Next I had much to learn… And I did… And I am still learning!
Peace Keepers, our world is becoming more dangerous because of the increase in the number of people and the self-centered attitudes of many of the people with whom we have to deal. Keep learning what you are able to learn and applying what you already know. Persistence to communicate well will always be a major key for you unless they insist upon a physical battle… Sometimes we must first win the physical battle and then communicate… But we do not determine that course… The people determine it for us!
In all that you do, practice great care and safety. Often we deter attacks upon us by people who would attack us if they had the opening to do so but our professional demeanor and actions defeat their intentions…. Learn all that you can… Refresh the proper attitudes often… Remind yourself to do what you know to do whether driving or in any other situation… The most important life you save could be your own! THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO AND HAVE DONE! Be greater blessed in all that you do. MOST IMPORTANTLY, GO HOME SAFELY AT THE END OF YOUR TOUR!!!
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… He has made provision for you but it is up to you to learn it, take it 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.
Donna is still doing better.
Donnie is still working.
I am doing fine except for the unpredictable left eye.
Thank you for the responses, care, concern and prayers. Keep praying, it is working!
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
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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.
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