THEME #1 – VOLUNTEERING:
On January 13, 2020, Ben Sclair, published a Food Bank article in our community paper, The Suburban Times, titled, Volunteer Drivers Urgently Needed.
While I have no time to volunteer, I decided to make time because becoming a volunteer Food Bank driver would be a perfect behind-the-scenes way for me to help hungry people.
During my career as a police officer, I was involved in rescuing three people from death-defying circumstances. I asked myself, after rescuing people, how tough can it be to rescue food?
Once a week, I drive the Nourish Pierce County food rescue box truck. My food rescue route takes me to WinCo Foods, Target, and QFC. These three stores donate an abundant amount of their products to Nourish Pierce County. A lot of the products have gotten close to their buy by date, but are still in an appropriate condition to provide useful, safe, and nourishing food to those in need. (Note: I had a small amount of fun writing and hearing the ring of “buy by date.” I may be the 1st person to ever string those 3 words together.)
THEME #2 – ALL RACES NEED TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER:
Two weeks ago, I parked the Food Bank truck in my usual spot near the curb about 75 feet from the front door of WinCo Foods.
I noticed a new black female security officer on duty. She had her marked security vehicle parked at the curb close to the front door. Her law enforcement style lights were flashing from her dashboard. She was in uniform and monitoring social distancing as shoppers moved in and out of the store.
As a retired deputy who took the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department motto,”Protect & Serve,” seriously, I informed her that the gas hatch cover was not secure on her patrol vehicle. It was a small thing, but no act of kindness is ever too small.
I love it when white people and black people get along and treat each other with courtesy and respect. It is the best way for us to share the planet.
THEME #3 – BLACK HELPING WHITE
A week later, I pulled the Food Bank truck into the same parking space at WinCo Foods about 75 feet from the door. The same security officer was standing near the front entrance.
She suggested to me, “Feel free to make your job easier by parking just past the front door in the striped zone. The other driver parks there.”
I said, “Okay. I will move the truck right now. Thanks.”
She extended to me an act of kindness. This is an example of White people and Black people enjoying peace, harmony, and being kind to one another. You may have heard me say it before, “It was a small thing, but no act of kindness is ever too small.”
THEME #4: WHITE HELPING BLACK:
During two of my multiple trips in and out of the store, I thought to myself, I know what I can do for this impressive young woman. I asked her a question I knew she could not answer. “Do you have any idea what I use to do before becoming an unpaid volunteer driver for the Food Bank?
“I was a deputy sheriff. Have you ever thought about becoming a police officer?”
She told me it was her lifelong dream to become a police officer. She was subordinating her dream job for her husband’s career. Her husband is in the US Army, and they change duty stations every 3 years. She did not feel she would ever be in a position to start and finish a career with one department, which is what a police officer’s job usually looks like. Some officers will make a mid-career department change. Most start with one department and finish 30 years later with the same department.
I understood what she was saying, but as I returned to my work, I was still thinking about what she told me.
On my next trip past her, we had a short conversation that went something like this, I have an idea for you. You could secure a position with a police department right now, right here in Pierce County. The department will send you to the police academy, provide you with a field training officer (FTO) to train you in the field, and certify you as a police officer. That all costs money and is a cost every department faces when recruiting a new-hire.
The next time your husband gets orders for a change of duty station, you can apply to a new police department, not as a new-hire, but as a lateral. Your next police department will consider you to be quite attractive as a candidate because, you have already been to the police academy, completed your FTO program, and are now an experienced officer. Your next department will save over $100,000 in recruiting and training costs because you can be hired as a lateral.
Plus you present two additional advantages. You are a double minority being Black and female. These attributes will not get you hired on their own, but if you are otherwise qualified, being female and a racial minority makes you highly desirable because most departments struggle with their diversification goals.
A bit later I saw her interact with four customers who were unwittingly creating a small problem. I noted that she has excellent officer presence and problem solving tactics.
A few days later I took an action step by contacting my former department’s recruiting office.
For me it is a small world. I discovered my old friend, Deputy Joe McDonald, now serves as the department recruiter. Joe provided me with recruiting brochures I was able to personally deliver to this impressive young security officer.
While on this topic, if you or someone you know has even a mild interest in learning more about law enforcement as a career, contact Deputy Joe McDonald. Joe is an easy guy to talk with and there is no pressure.
Deputy Joseph McDonald, #343
Pierce County Sheriff’s Department – Recruiter
3602 Pacific Avenue, Suite #100
Tacoma, WA 98418
I enjoy the feeling I get from loving people instead of hating people. Any hate I experience relates to hating bad behavior, not the person. Let’s be kind to one another.
Themes #5 and #6 will follow soon.