Category Archives: Jamie Faulkner

What can’t you stand?

A few days ago I went to our church’s Wednesday night Leader session titled, “The Leadership State of Mind”. Having been in the church for over 10 years, I’ve heard a lot on leadership. A lot of great stuff. But this one was particularly life impacting.

“When leaders understand the stakes everybody wins.”
“Leaders intercept entropy – the lack of order and predictability, the gradual decline into disorder.”
“Out of the furnace of frustration, we forge leadership metal.”

He talked about examples of leaders: men like Moses, Billy Graham and Popeye. Some of us probably grew up watching Popeye. Olive Oyl was the special girl in his life. Popeye’s demeanor was usually calm and collected. But if something happened that would potentially harm her, he exploded. He would shout, “That’s all I can stand, and I can’t stands no more!”
The he asked the question: “What is it that you can’t stand?”.

Now for those of you who don’t know me, let me say this before I continue. I think about cops a lot. When I see one, I say hi and usually introduce myself. I spend a Friday night per month riding along with one of my local departments. And when one gives the ultimate sacrifice, I post my condolences, and I always contact their department. And at a police officer funeral, I learned some important lessons about life.

So tonight was no different. Police Week 2010. My next ride along in Miamisburg. Who’s next : Riverside or Dayton? Officer suicide. Lots of things were going through my mind when he asked the questions:”What is it that you can’t stand?” “What is it that wrecks you?” At that point something happened inside me. Tears came to my eyes. My heart ached at the thought.

What is it that I can’t stand? What “wrecks” me?
I can’t stand the thought of a cop sitting lonely in their cruiser on Christmas morning.
It “wrecks me” that a cop somewhere wondering if their life matters.
I can’t stand the thought that over 30% of officers have thought about suicide.
It “wrecks me” that officers are killing themselves at a rate more than twice as high as the general public.

Before you say “Well Mike, that could be true of Army vets, or___________________”. You may be right. But I’m not sent to them. I am sent to Police Officers. I try to encourage them whenever I can. I tell them that there are good people. What I really want them to know is that someone cares. I care.

It’s my goal that no officer in Ohio or Kentucky will ever have to wonder if they are appreciated. That no officer on a beat on Christmas morning will wonder if anyone cares if they are out there. That no officer who has a 2 year marriage and a newborn who gets to spend a couple of hours on a holiday with his young family will go to work and wonder why.

I went to a funeral today. It was truly eye opening.

I met briefly Detective Faulkner’s family and read of their battle of this disease. They were so…amazing. It’s all I can think to describe it. Amazing. I visited Detective Faulkner in the hospital a few hours before he died. I was kinda worried I’d be intruding. But a co-worker told me that he’d be glad to know someone cared if that was him in that bed. So I went. I went in and visited and explained why I was there. I got to say a few words to him. Tell him that I appreciated what he did as an officer, and through the battle that he was fighting. I could think of nothing else for the rest of the day.

I don’t think I’d ever been to a funeral of someone who wasn’t a relative of me or my wife before today. Honestly, it was a little intimidating. I knew I would be surrounded by some of the greatest people in my city. His family. The men and women of the Trotwood Police Department, and others across the Valley. Here I was walking through a sea of blue, and from all over. I greeted a few of the Trotwood officers. I knew that they had lost a brother too. Not a “blood” brother, but a bond that sometimes can be closer. Today, I caught a glimpse of how deep that bond is. Seeing men, tough men, moved to tears at the thought of seeing him one last time.

I waited until the last minute to go to the front to the casket. I didn’t feel worthy of that moment. Not me. But I went up there and did what came natural. I saluted. I was seeing a truly great man for the last time. Then I turned and stood in the back. It was a moving tribute to a truly great man.

Then, I had to go back to work. At that moment, it was one of the hardest things I’d done. And I thought about it all day. Would that many people come to see me? Would I have someone talking about me like that? Then my thoughts gravitated to those who were left. Specifically those I am sent to. The guys over at Trotwood were cleaning out as desk. I wish I could have been there for them. I’m sure that had support, but I wanted to be there. Be there for those who are there for me. For those people who a majority of the time are cursed because they hand out speeding tickets. I wanted to let them know that there are people who truly support them. Who care about them. Who are concerned with their struggles.

I don’t know where this road will lead. All I know is something was started in me that day I talked to Dispatcher Richendollar on 9/11/08. When I heard from the officers in Kettering and Colerain TWP that they’d been an officer for over 30 years and had never received a nice email saying “Than You” for no reason other than they were police, something happened. When I got a gold-embossed thank you card from a Police Chief I likely will never meet , something happened. Every time I got a Thank you from an officer for just sending an email, or saying “Hi” in a Speedway, something happens. And today, seeing what greatness is about, something happened in my heart.

Note: Jamie was part of the band Knight Blaze, which recently performed it’s last concert.