I really didn’t give it much thought until my wife brought it up while we were grocery shopping at Walmart. It was a continuation of our conversation in the truck and she mentioned that she has told other, especially other police wives that I have been involved in law enforcement for twenty years and counting. As I stood there and thought about it she was absolutely correct! It all started for me back in July of 1997, one month after I graduated from high school, when I was robbed at gun point for my mountain bike in town. This was a traumatic experience for me and for the next three days I was in fear that these two men would come after me for getting them caught by police. For those three days while I was in fear of revenge, I was in West Virginia visiting my second oldest sister and her kids so I had some comfort of them not being able to find me temporarily.
Before it all went down in the streets, I remember sitting in front of CVS Pharmacy on a bench eating my Roy Roger’s when two young men walked in my direction. My instincts immediately spiked and I left and got on my bike to rush home. I was approximately thirty minutes away from home, by bike, and I knew I needed to get there as soon as possible. I even passed a fire department on the way home and if I was thinking I should’ve stopped there, but of course, it didn’t come to reality about that until after the fact. I saw them coming behind me in a car and as I cut through the community college parking lot, one of them attempted to get out of the car as it was still moving to chase me down, but I quickly changed direction and doubled back. They left and didn’t follow me and I knew at that point I needed to get home like right now!!
Going down the main road in town, peddling as fast as I can constantly looking behind me for the guys, I passed the 7-11 and they spotted me. The fear struck me to peddle faster, but they sped up and pulled along side with the driver pointing his gun, sideways, at me saying, “Give me the bike! I ain’t playing around!” Feeling defeated and scared to get gunned down just minutes from home, I dismounted and the passenger got out and approached me. He kindly took the bike and told me to walk on as he put my bike in the back. This is when I noticed they had another bike in the back already, purple and orange mountain bike. The two drove off and made a right up into my neighborhood, but within a few minutes they came back right by me, which at this point I was able to confirm the plate number, make and model of the car.
Unknown to me two other kids witnessed the armed robbery and notified the county officer who lived on my street. The county officer came down the street and put me in the car and immediately took my statement. A couple hours later a detective came to my house to get an official statement and showed me some pictures of guns that might’ve been used in the robbery. I was able to point out a gun that similarly represented a nine millimeter, which was found to be a BB or pellet gun. Sometime later, whether the same day or next day, I was at the police station looking at old year books since one of the suspects I had seen at my school a year prior. One of the two were caught the same day in the town of Lanham and charged with the robbery. I was told at one point that I was able to point out one of the suspects in record time, which made me feel really good. About the next day or two days later we left for West Virginia and it was raining part of the way there.
Several months later I was at the circuit courthouse ready to testify at the criminal trial with one of the suspects present. At first, he plead not guilty, and I was so nervous to do so knowing how important my testimony would be for his conviction. Then with a stroke of God interfering, the defendant suddenly changed his plea to guilty. A sigh of relief went over me and he took the full wrap of the crime, but I never knew what happened to his cohort. I was just happy that everything went well and we won the case without my testimony. Shortly, after the trial I was invited to come check out the Prince George’s County Law Enforcement Explorer Program. My demeanor and dedication to this case impressed the detective and wanted me to get a background look at what law enforcement was all about; not to mention I was actually thinking about doing police work as a career.
I went to one of the meetings and I immediately fell in love with the program!! I spent just over a year in the program and experienced a lot. I learned what it felt like to be McGruff (the crime fighting dog) and dressing up in the costume with a small fan that barely kept you cool, been interviewed on camera by the local channel 8 news, scenarios at the police academy, won gold at the Explorer Olympics in the 400 meter and coed volleyball and promoted through the ranks-ending at the top as captain. In September 1998 I ended up leaving the explorer program since I was scheduled to leave for basic training later that month, which was changed to February of 1999. I enjoyed my time in the program and promoted it to anyone that wanted to do law enforcement as a career to get the inside look that most people don’t get to see. Hence my taste of law enforcement started off of a bad situation, which created a silver lining of wanting to do my best to keep others from experiencing the same thing.
From then I was a military policeman in Maryland Army National Guard and served in Panama, Germany twice, Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Enduring Freedom and served eight and a half years, University of Maryland Police for eleven years and currently a deputy sheriff in Vermont. I give credited to the explorer program of where I am now in life.