The quest to recover the Tasmanian tiger
By Erin Crowell 10/5/09
Its hard to argue that police work is not the usual nine-to-five job. Its a career of long, lonely hours, dealing with unique situations and people. We hear about them in the news the routine traffic stop gone wrong, the burglar who got away, the standoff lasting hours. But, what we rarely hear about are the personal stories of those officers, the good stories the ordinary, the extraordinary, and for some, the unexplainable.
Ingrid Dean, a 20-year veteran of the Michigan State Police, gathered some of those stories and wrote a book: Spirit of the Badge: 60 True Police Stories of Divine Guidance, Miracles, & Intuition. Released on October 1, the book is a collection of first-hand, written accounts by police officers from around the country. While some stories may be interpreted in the realm of the paranormal and the divine, all show a side of law enforcement we rarely get to see.
Dean who has served as a field detective for there years, was a polygraph examiner for 12 years and worked the road for six is currently a detective sergeant and forensic artist for the Seventh District Michigan State Police Post in Traverse City.
The Express recently sat down with Dean and asked her more about the book and the goings-on behind the badge.
NE: You said the idea for the book came from studying for your Masters in transpersonal psychology. Can you talk more about that?
Dean: I went back to school after 15 years with the Michigan State Police for something new and to stay excited about police work; and also for spiritual growth, so to speak.
I came up with the idea as I thought more about the exceptional experiences that police officers have. Theyre seldom shared with the media. You always hear about the bad things or negative situations.
NE: How did you go about collecting these stories?
Dean: I collected them first from officers I knew and worked with through my polygraph office in Grayling, at the crime laboratory. And as the project grew, I sent out bulletins and flyers and talked to officers in other police agencies in Michigan; and then around the country.
It covers not only the Midwestern area, but Washington state. One story is from Ontario, Canada. Another is from Utah. I tried to mix and match and diversify, find officers from different areas of the country.
NE: Did you find a lot of stories within your post?
Dean: I did, actually from the Michigan State Police in general, Id say 25 percent of the stories were from my own agency.
NE: I had to look up transpersonal psychology online because I had no idea what it was. And its not just religion. Does it go beyond that?
Dean: Absolutely, its not a religious book. Id like to make that very clear. Really, its a book about exceptional human experiences. Theyre from the very extreme to the very ordinary paranormal, metaphysical type stories. Stories that go beyond our five senses or are often unexplainable. Miracles, you might say.
NE: Youve had your own personal experience?
Dean: Ive had several, but the one I decided to share in the book has to do with a traffic stop I made as a trooper. The car had a taillight out and the man jumped out of the car and begged me not to arrest him, said that he had a warrant out for his arrest for an OUIL (Operating Under the Influence of Liquor). I checked him, and sure enough, he had a warrant.
I went back to the car and he said, please dont arrest me, I have this date tonight. I thought, oh no.
He said, I really do. Shes my soul mate. Shes the one and if I dont see her tonight I just know its not going to work out.
I dont know what it was about him. Maybe it was his body language, how he said it. Reading between the lines, I thought, there is some element of truth to what hes saying. So instead of taking him to jail, I used my privilege of making the right decision and just gave him a ticket. I let him go.
I thought nothing more of it until two years later when I stopped a car in a completely different area. It was a snowstorm blizzard. I stopped the car for weaving over the centerline and, after talking to the driver, I could tell he was drunk. After awhile we got into a fight in the snowbank and this truck pulls up behind us and this man jumps out of the truck and assists me with him. Keep in mind I dont have backup for 20 minutes and this was a big man. So he helps me put him into the patrol car and he looks at me and says, you dont remember me do you? I said, Im sorry I dont.
Well, Im the man you stopped two years ago and let go because I told you I had a date. I wanted to let you know we ended up getting married and I got my license and truck certification back. When I saw you fighting in the snow bank, I knew you needed help and wanted to return the favor.
What are the odds?
Those are the kind of heart-warming miracle stories that are in the book.
NE: Its interesting you mention reading between the lines. Youre always told by people to trust your gut instincts. Is that a lot what this book is about?
Dean: Yes, and some people call it divine intervention. Some people call it intuition. Some people call it angel messages. I didnt mind whatever belief system a person had. These stories really focus on the miracles of intuition and learning to integrate that with your experiences, education and common sense; because I think that makes a much better police officer.
NE: would you recommend this book to others working in the same field, like firefighters or EMTs?
Dean: Any first responder would really enjoy it, families and friends of first responders would, I think, really love it. And anyone interested in the metaphysical, paranormal world would too. There are some ghost stories, theres a chapter on unexplainable phenomena like UFOs. So for police officers to share these types of stories is remarkable because of their conservative, shy tendencies. I think they talked to me because Im in the same field and they knew I wouldnt embarrass them.
NE: Did you find a lot of them had told people before? Or had they kept these stories to themselves?
Dean: Seldom told. Most of them said, Ive never really shared this. In fact, a couple preferred to be anonymous. I told them it wasnt about religion or drawing conclusions from experiences, it was about sharing experiences. They are conservative and officers are not so apt to expound upon these more exceptional, heart warming stories. They like to keep their professional air.
NE: have you come across any skeptics?
Dean: You do, and I think its all about perceptions. All the officers shared their stories from their own perspectives. I have had some skeptics, but its hard to stay that way when all these police officers have shared these stories. Police officers are very reliable overall. They have a reputation to uphold, even in the legal system, so theyre not going to lie about these things. I believe they truly speak from their own perspectives and experiences.
Its nice to read because you can draw your own conclusions as the reader. If youre a Christian person, you may perceive some of these stories one way. If youre more metaphysical, transpersonal-type person you might say to yourself, were a lot bigger than we think we are.
NE: Anything else youd like to add?
Dean: Yes. When police officers walk the path everyday, they walk into emergency situations that sometimes require some quick response; and theyre moved into very unexpected directions; and this is what takes officers way beyond their comfort zone and five senses. Theyll do anything to resolve a case. I believe they learn through experience how to integrate their gut instinct and sixth sense in how to make the best choices in those moments.
Spirit of the Badge: 60 True Police Stories of Divine Guidance, Miracles, & Intuition published by Topaz Heart Publishing, retails at $17.95 and is available for purchase at Horizon Books and Higher Self Book Store of Traverse City, the Cottage Book Shop of Glen Arbor, Cops & Doughnuts of Clare and on amazon.com. For more information about the book and author, visit spiritofthebadge.com.