Where antagonism fails and prayer succeeds

Violent crime may provoke anger and antagonism toward wrongdoers. Yet police are required not only to prevent crime but also to protect the rights of the accused. How can they maintain that balance? The experience of this police detective points to one way. His reliance on prayer not only has helped him begin to remove hatred and anger but has led to more effective police work. Since his current assignment is with the homicide and assault division in a large urban police force in the United States, this interview is presented anonymously.

Before I became a detective I was a patrolman for a little short of seven years. When I had been on the force only nine or ten months, I was working in a very rough area of town. Officers in another patrol car came on the radio with a report that they had discovered a stabbing incident. They asked the fire department to treat the wounded victim, and they radioed they had made an arrest. We believed they had captured a suspect; there seemed to be no point for us to go into the area.

When the call had first come out, I had started to pray. It wasn't really any specific prayer, but it kept my thought clear and I didn't react to any of the information. As I continued to pray, I drove up one particular avenue and the thought came to me "turn left." What happened is described in the Bible in this way: "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."

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May 27, 1991

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