Featuring Lynn Forrester
The true definition of “love” is caring about the health, well-being, and happiness of another person to a greater degree than your own. We do that for each other.
After nearly forty years, two marriages two children, and four grandchildren, I am living my love story.
As a twenty-seven-year-old single mom in the early 1980s, I quit the nursing profession and signed on with the Sheriff ’s Academy of a major metropolitan city. I was only the third female in the Police Department to be hired among the ranks of testosterone in the male-dominated field. After completing the rigorous training and putting up with all the jokes that could be thrown a young woman’s way, I began my probation period with the City Police Department. I was determined to complete probation—even if it killed me.
But the police were just as determined to prevent a female from entering their ranks.
I had made it through three Field Training Officers (FTOs) before being assigned to the final training officer, who would either give me a thumbs-up—signaling that I had what it took to be a cop—or a thumbs-down.
Nobody warned me about what I was getting into. The prior FTOs had been hard enough to handle, with their crude remarks, jokes, and a variety of pranks. Then along came a training officer with a wiry frame who was known on the streets as “Mad Dawg.”
He was unlike anyone I had ever met.
Mad Dawg had a sense of humor. I never saw him in a bad mood, but I didn’t always know when to take him seriously. I couldn’t predict what was going to come out of his mouth in the form of conversation or instructions. However, this was the last FTO I had to get through to reach my goal of becoming an officer, so I was intent on figuring him out.
During the last weeks of training, I learned a lot about this guy they called Mad Dawg. He was probably the most honest person I had ever met; faithful to his wife, and in love with his career as a cop. He made police work seem effortless. I had total respect for him as my training officer and wanted him to have the same level of respect for me.
I had no idea why we began receiving so many dead body calls, but soon found out why.
Over the next four weeks, we handled many calls. Without telling me, Mad Dawg had requested every dead-body call that came in during my training be dispatched to our unit. Eight dead bodies later—with only a few weeks of training left to go—I was dubbed with the nickname “Grimm Reaper.”
Finally, my training with Mad Dawg was over. He gave me a thumb’s up and I passed, not only with flying colors, but with respect as a cop who could hold her own.
I became the first female on SWAT duty throughout California, but never bragged about it, because of my training with FTO Mad Dawg. He taught me to have respect for myself and to always know the strengths I possessed.
Life was good. I married a fellow cop, and Mad Dawg and his wife were good friends to both my husband and me. Even after Mad Dawg left for another opportunity, our families remained in touch.
Over the years, we both went through many changes. Mad Dawg remarried and had a son, and he and his wife moved to the Pacific Northwest. I retired from the City PD, had a son, and found work as a private investigator while trying to hang on to my marriage and raise two kids.
As the years passed, I lost touch with Mad Dawg and his family. Then one day, while I was researching an old friend, I found out that Mad Dawg was now working for the sheriff ’s department in Washington State. I called a number, not sure it was the right one, and left a message for him. Mad Dawg called me back an hour or so later.
He seemed to be the same ole’ Mad Dawg: happy, crazy, and thrilled to hear from me. We caught up on things. He didn’t know I’d been divorced for several years. He was doing fine and living a satisfying life. He said if I ever wanted to visit, he and his family would be glad to have me.
We ended the conversation on a promise to stay in touch –but once again, years passed, and we didn’t reconnect.
One day, three years after Mad Dawg and I had spoken, he called again. Something was wrong. He told me his marriage had ended. Nearly forty years had passed, and here we were, both divorced.
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Editor’s Note: This excerpt is from just one of many Sacred Stories of our time. Powerful voices from around the globe that speak to our shared human experience. May they inspire you and give you great hope. Order your personal copy of CHAOS TO CLARITY: SACRED STORIES OF TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE today and discover hope for the future and a blueprint for your life ⤵︎