Friday, February 19, 2010

The Greatest Protector (Madison Police Graduation 29 January 2010)

Love is The Greatest Protector. Love is the greatest protector. I attended a wedding on New Years Day and the officiant was describing the attributes of love and he said that love always protects. He said that love always protects…….I had to think about that and I said humph, I guess that’s true. Because when I think about one of the greatest examples of love, I think of a mothers love for her newborn child. Mothers of newborns will protect that child, sometimes violently, if necessary. She will feed her, nurture her………….. make sure that she stays warm. She will jump up to move things out of his way as he crawls to make sure that he doesn’t hurt himself. She will watch his every move like a hawk. These characteristics may sound familiar to the Madison Police Department.

You are a special group………Captain Williams took time to describe who you are, full of leaders, patient, versatile, and noble.

I know that you can relate to these characteristics and I submit to you that Love is the Greatest Protector.

This is a selfless and caring type of love. It is a leadership model for humanity. As a citizen, I want to be protected in love……Not Hate.

On a very calm night, in 1992, I went to get a number 1 from McDonalds “The BIG MAC Meal”! It was the McDonalds on Park Street. Upon exiting the Mcdonald’s, I made a left turn and began heading North (northbound, northward, is that a correct Police description), returning to campus. I was driving at the appropriate speed limit and I was approaching a green light, so I proceeded through the green light. About 10 seconds later a police car drove up close to my bumper, turned on its flashing lights and pulled me over. Without provocation, the officer ordered me out of the car and told me to pull the registration sticker off of my license plate because it appeared to be fraudulent. Has this ever happened to anybody?

Even though I knew that my sticker was not fraudulent, I obediently did everything that the officer told me to do because she had authority as an officer of the law and………she had a gun. Then she said, “Now, hurry-up and get home before somebody else pulls you over”. (She had no love, for a brother)

And I felt……..helpless, insignificant, and small. I went home and I called the most high-ranking judicial official I knew. An African-American Circuit court judge in Chicago and she said…..


Now, I ended up finding out that the officer was not a member of the Madison Police Department, but another local Police Department. After numerous attempts to ascertain the appropriate Police Chief, I finally got to see him and he personally verified my registration and ordered a new sticker for me but I still felt humiliated by the fact that I had to go through that. Years later, I was asked to serve as a Madison Police and Fire Commissioner, if I was still bitter about that situation, I couldn’t do this job but I want you to know that a good citizen respects authority.

So on behalf of Police and Fire Commissioners, Lawton, Yapp, Kampersher, and Hamden, and the citizens of Madison, I also want you know that we trust you. When we’re in trouble, we will call you. If our cats are in the trees, we expect you to rescue them. If somebody takes something from us, we want you to find them. We know that there are a lot of minorities in prison but don’t pull us over because we’re Black, Don’t pull us over because we’re Latino. Don’t harass us because we’re female, Don’t pull us over because we appear meek. Love is the greatest protector.

Written by:  Wesley Sparkman
Police and Fire Commission (2010 President)