Spirit of the Badge

A Dangerous Situation

One late afternoon in August, I received a call on a domestic assault in progress. The assault occurred at a house just outside of town and involved a husband and wife. I was a brand-new deputy and didn’t have much experience under my belt.

As I was driving down the dirt road, within a mile of the residence, I had the sudden urge to roll up my window. Keep in mind, this was a hot summer day, and I was only minutes from the house. Was it a sixth sense, divine guidance, or an angel telling me what to do? I don’t know. I do know, however, I followed the urge and rolled up the window.

When I rounded the bend and pulled into the driveway, a man suddenly darted out of the house and threw something at my patrol car! I had no idea what it was at the time, except it blew up like dynamite and started a fire in the driveway. I was so shocked, I wasn’t even sure if he actually threw this thing at my car. I immediately radioed Central Dispatch and said, "There’s a fire in the driveway at this house! Send some backup!" I knew enough not to get out of the car.

The man started yelling profanities at me, came to my driver-side window and pounded on it, and karate-kicked the car and the window. He pounded on the windshield and shouted, "See? See this in my hand? It’s a grenade! I’m going to pull the pin and blow you up!" It was asignificant threat.

At first I was frozen. I couldn’t see what was in his fist, but his nose was almost touching the windshield and we had at least a thirty-second stare-down. Eventually, I put the car in reverse and put my foot hard on the accelerator. Time to blow this pop stand! Unfortunately, I got stuck in some sand on the side of the driveway. I thought, Oh No! I’m toast now! Grenades? Does this guy really have a grenade?

The left rear wheel of the car went off the edge of the concrete driveway and I spun the wheel, just hoping to escape! Fortunately, at this time, the deranged man ran off into the woods. As I continued trying to rock the car to free it from the sand trap, I could see him running back and forth, egging me on to get out of the car. I decided to wait for help to arrive. I informed Central Dispatch my patrol car was now stuck.

The two backup patrol cars finally arrived and one of the officers was able to subdue the man at gunpoint. Oddly enough, even though the man continued to threaten to blow us up with his grenade, none of us took a shot at him. As it turned out, he held a cigarette lighter in his hand. The simulator grenade that he threw at my patrol car could have instantly killed me had it entered the car through the window. I will forever be grateful for the urge to roll up my window on that hot August afternoon. I’ve listened to this voice many times over the years.


Exceptional experiences are often shrugged off as oddities. Some people find them frightening and dismiss them. Some who have exceptional experiences are considered strange or even mentally ill-certainly deluded. Sometimes they are. These experiences, however, can touch the experience in personal and significant ways that cannot be dismissed as ideas of reference. Rather, they seem to catalyze a process that eventually can lead to the realization of the person's higher human potential. Lives, worldviews, and even identities can be transformed. When this process of transformation is initiated, an exceptional experience becomes an exceptional human experience.
--Rhea A. White
Article Becoming more Human as We Work
Transpersonal Methods for the Social Sciences, 1998