CLOSE TO HOME – God is an excellent driver
By Steve Brnjas
By Steve Brnjas
Some, perhaps most, officers eventually encounter an aspect of policing that can create a great deal of difficulty. We might be grateful but because it defies logical explanation, it can cause some problems.
I am referring to a miraculous event. Let me tell you of one of my experiences – when God drove my police car.
The area of policing that I enjoyed most was looking for stolen cars. I had a gift for pattern recognition and finding them so was pleased when a call came in for a stolen car last seen in an area of Kitchener that I was very familiar with. Even though I was on patrol in an adjacent zone, I had the freedom to go looking and found the car in question parked in an apartment driveway. I watched it for a little while but the thieves didn’t return so I called a tow truck.
I gave instructions to the driver and left but two minutes later dispatch called. A person in a neighbouring apartment building reported that two men were giving the tow operator a hard time and actually tried to drive the car off the lift.
I hurried back to the scene, pulled into the driveway, jammed the gearshift into what I thought was park and jumped out of the car. The one culprit got away but, with the help of the operator, I got the other to the ground and handcuffed. It was then I looked up and discovered, to my horror, that my cruiser was gone.
The operator walked to the end of the driveway, looked around and began laughing heartily. I picked up my arrestee and walked over. My cruiser was on the side lawn of an apartment building about 75 metres away.
The apartment building where I made the arrest was on a corner. My cruiser rolled backwards out of the driveway across a fairly busy street and mounted the curb, then rolled between a hydro pole and cable box with just inches to spare on each side. Before it ran into a clump of trees, it made a sharp left (or is it right when the car is in reverse?).
It passed so close to the hydro pole that the side mirror was bent around, but not broken. It then crossed over four lanes of traffic without hitting anything, mounted the curb and was headed for an apartment building when a retired gentleman jumped in and put it into park.
The old chap got on the radio and told dispatch that he thought one of their officers was in trouble. This occurred right at shift change which, of course, emptied the detachment. (It was gratifying to see the response of my brothers and sisters-in-law as they all came flying to my rescue). Of course I did not know that any of this had occurred as I walked my prisoner down toward the cruiser.
My road sergeant drove by on his way to the first apartment building. He had a quizzical look on his face, and told me later he was thinking, “What a stupid place to park a cruiser.” The situation was under control and I brought my arrest in.
My monthly evaluation meeting with my staff sergeant was interesting. He initialled a commendation for the arrest and a negative comment for losing my cruiser.
When I looked back on the route taken my cruiser, I realized that I could not have managed it even if I had been in the driver’s seat. So what is the explanation? I think God always wanted to drive a police car and took this particular day for the opportunity!
(A brief aside; years later I was acting sergeant for the cell block when this same person was brought in, arrested for stealing another car. He looked at the hooks on my shoulder and immediately blurted out, “They didn’t promote you, did they?” We both had a good laugh!)
So next time something happens that you cannot explain, perhaps a quiet prayer of thanks is in order.
You just never know when God might want to drive your cruiser.
After 18 years serving with the Waterloo Regional Police Steve Brnjas became an ordained pastor with the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 519 807-1134.