Saturday, April 6, 2013

Stop Resisting!

Nineteen years ago I attended the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training in Oklahoma City. Employed by the city of Tonkawa as their first female police officer, I was anxious to attend my basic police academy. It had only been a year since I had completed basic combat and Military Police training with the US Army. Many of the things I learned at Fort McClelland, Alabama were similar to the training I was receiving in Oklahoma City for the Tonkawa Police Department.

One huge difference though as explained by our defensive tactics instructor, Vince O'Neill, was the verbiage used when trying to get control of a non-compliant subject. The Army had taught me to say, "kill" or occasionally, "die." Instructor O'Neill was not real crazy about my constant use of these commands I screamed while I struck the large, red pads with my expandable baton.

My defensive tactics training partner was a tall, very fit, muscular, black guy with an incredibly infectious smile and an outrageous personality. He was attending CLEET while employed by the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office.

On one particular day of training, while my training partner held the pad that I was striking with the baton, I screamed, "Die" just as our instructor passed by. Instructor O'Neill stopped my partner and I. He put his hands and each of our shoulders and reminded us again that we had to train as we would fight. We had to say, "Stop resisting," not "die."

"I'm not going to say that," I said after the instructor walked away. When my partner asked why I told him it sounded like a cheer, not a command. He laughed at me and then did his best "gay guy" impression by striking a pose like a cheerleader. With a dynamic lisp that I was certain he had used many times previously he started chanting, "Stop resisting, stop-stop resisting." He clapped his hands wildly in front of his face and off to either side of his body. He swung his long arms around carelessly and threw his hips off to one side and then the other as his full lips pursed together in a large pout. A slender index finger pointed straight at my face when he said, "Stop resisting," then he flashed me a perfect, white-toothed smile. It was that smile that sealed our friendship.

I'd never met someone so full of life and crazy fun to be around. Over the next 19 years, he and I would work together many times including recently as we worked on a publication that would bring us into contact on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. When he died last Saturday, I was so stunned and heart-broken that I struggled to grasp the reality that he was really gone. For someone whose personality was bigger than life itself, it's hard to imagine that my buddy, Pete "Stop Resisting" Norwood, won't be around to share a laugh with anymore.

I'll forever treasure those hilarious memories of Pete, but I'm most grateful for one of our more serious conversations that took place only a couple of weeks ago. That's when Pete told me that he knew Jesus, but that more importantly, Jesus KNEW him.


  1. So sorry for your loss, sweet friend. But I rejoice with you that he is singing in the presence of Jesus!

  2. Out of respect to ALL troopers that completed an academy, please stop portraying yourself as a 17 or 18 year trooper, especially to the media. Most know that you have been with DPS for 17 or 18 years, but you have only been a trooper for 8 or 9 years, since the transition. Not saying you can not do the job, in fact you seem to do it well.... but there is no shame in saying...."I've only been a trooper for 8 years." Thanks for what you do and keep up the good work.