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Discipline With Love
THE YOUNG boy’s heart sank when he saw me drive up in my patrol car. When his mother opened the door he tried to look innocent, but he knew why I was there. After a ...


Deputy Nathan Bickerstaff

Ellis County, TX, Sheriff’s Office

THE YOUNG boy’s heart sank when he saw me drive up in my patrol car. When his mother opened the door he tried to look innocent, but he knew why I was there. After a round of introductions, questions, answers, and denials he finally admitted to his crime—breaking into the schoolhouse. The tears came when I said, “You’re going to have to appear in juvenile court.”

After I left him and his mother, I thought: Maybe this fatherless boy needs someone to believe in him besides his mother. God has given me not just a second chance, but third and fourth chances. Could I be the one to give this boy another chance before he got into real trouble? My decision was made: I would talk with the judge about getting him into a mentoring program.

When my son was young I asked if he knew what I did for a living. He said, “Yes, you put bad guys in jail.” His answer helped me realize that young kids don’t understand all the ways law enforcement officers can help.


Sheriff’s office “Community Day” Open House

Adolescents make many decisions that can affect their whole lives, often not understanding the seriousness of the consequences until a cop is called to settle a problem. As officers we sometimes have the power to make a recommendation: “Throw the book at this punk” or, “Let’s help him turn his life around.” It’s a judgment call. I sensed that this boy would respond favorably to the latter, so I spoke with the judge.

A lot of today’s young people are crying out for help and love—someone just to care. Regardless of how independent and carefree they may act on the outside, many are hurting inside. As police we are in a perfect position to partner with parents and caretakers to help kids become responsible adults. Most cops I have met do like kids and generally are sympathetic toward them. But we need parents to tell their children that police don’t just “put bad guys in jail”; we also care for all who want to do what is right, and we like to give kids a second chance. For this young man it paid off; now he is a police officer serving in Juvenile.


Parents, let your children know we are there for them. If they have a positive image toward us, it may pay dividends in the long run. We Christian officers know how sympathetic Jesus is toward us. He can work through us to help you with your children, with your positive support. If we help just one young boy or girl, it’s worth the world to us!

Other Items In The Battlefields and Blessings Series

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