Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Where the Rubber Meets…
I responded to a Home Invasion in progress that required the entire shift to respond. We were dispatched to a home in the north part of town. The homeowner had informed the 911 operator that she was currently hiding in her bathroom behind a locked door with the telephone in fear for her life. A large young female had pushed her way into the caller’s home and was currently stealing money and refusing to leave. The six squads quickly reached the house. I parked my squad, jumped out and ran to the incident location. I quickly observed a stout female standing on the grass right outside the front door wearing a nursing uniform, looking impatient. I walked up to her and she immediately said, “Thank God you are here; that woman is impossible and I did not know what else to do.” At this statement the stereotype personified for all little old ladies everywhere stepped to the screen door and quickly locked it from the inside. The little old lady looked out at me and disgustedly stated, “About time you got here. I did not know how much longer I was going to have to spend trapped in my house with this intruder. She has been here all day and I shudder when I think of all the things she has stolen and given to her fellow criminals.” I turned toward the lady waiting patiently next to me and noticed for the first time that she had a label nametag and a stethoscope dangling from around her neck. I asked for her nursing identification and she provided it for me. I verified her identity through our computer database and called her employer to further confirm that the little old lady was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and the in-house-nurse had been hired by the little old lady’s son. As, I walked over to the screen door to speak to the homeowner, she immediately said, “Well, what are you waiting for? Arrest her!” I asked to be let inside so that I could speak to her about this matter but she refused. I told her that it would not be a good idea to speak to her through the screen door because the nurse (home invader) could hear our conversation. She shook her head no, and told me that if she opened the door the burglar would get back into her home. I had to promise her that I would stop any attempt by the nurse/burglar to reenter the house. She reluctantly and dramatically unlocked the door and let me into the house. I made several attempts to explain to her that the burglar was really a nurse who was in the house to look after her well-being. She refused to even consider the possibility. Faced with this failure to communicate I went out and found my Sergeant and he attempted to convince the ill woman to allow the nurse to come back into her home. He was not in any way more successful than I had been. The nurse was able to provide me with the telephone number for the homeowner’s son and I called him at work. The ill lady was handed the telephone and she spoke to her son for a while but still would not allow the nurse to come into the home. She even told me, between screaming at us to arrest the nurse, that the person who she had spoken with on the telephone could not possibly have been her son because he would never take the burglar’s side and as such had to be an imposter. We concluded the incident through the use of a ruse by convincing the little old lady to check on her paperwork in her bedroom, which allowed the nurse to sneak back into the home. The second that the little old lady saw the nurse, she began to scream, “Get her out! Get her out!” We tried to calm her down but she would only say over and over, “Why are the Police helping someone steal. Where is the justice? I need help! You need to help me!” My fellow Officers and I could only walk out of the front door and back to our squads with her shrieks following after us.
I was very troubled by this call for a number of reasons. Apart from my frustration due to my inability to help her, I was troubled by her situation. I understood her perspective; she truly believed that a criminal had broken into her home and had reached out to the Police to save her. Instead, in a way similar to the Twilight Zone-esk way the Police not only do not help her; they enable the criminal to stay in her home. The issues raised were all due to her horrible debilitating disease. She truly believed that she was being held captive in her home. Further, all involved were similarly affected by this delusion. The nurse had to continue to treat her patient, even though the patient believed that she was there to hurt her. The nurse asked me if I had any idea how hard it is to give someone their medication when they were convinced that you are trying to poison them. The son was attempting to honor his mother’s wishes for her to stay in her home for as long as was possible because she dreaded (rightly so) being sent to a nursing home and yet his mother would curse at him for allowing others to enter her home. The Police responded to this home at least a dozen more times for 911 calls but found they were powerless to do anything constructive for this stricken woman. A true nightmare for this woman and her family to be trapped in that would only be solved (With today’s medical knowledge) with her eventual death.
I have learned to value these types of calls. This is the place where I am tested and find if I truly have a strong faith in God. If you can enter this house and return still firm in your faith of a good and faithful God, you have met the challenge and prevailed. I have seen many types of living horrors from the mundane to the grotesque and as a result have found my walk with Jesus strengthened (Some took longer for me to understand God’s holiness than others). People in most other professions find their belief challenged only when they are affected by personal tragedy. As a Christian Police Officer you have your job to supply you with a seemingly endless series of tests and trials. If you want to know where you are strong and where you are weak with your walk with Jesus you will find it here. Psalm 26:2 states: 2Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and affections. Romans 5:3 states: 3We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. 1 Peter 1:7 states: 7These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 4:13 states: 13Instead, be very glad--because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world. Psalm 66:10 states: 10You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver melted in a crucible. . If you can pass these tests you will be a stronger Christian from the experience.