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Op-Ed: Cops, Believe It or Not, We Are Human Too


FORT WORTH, TX – So many people have jumped on the hate wagon. Cops have become a bunch of ruthless, coldblooded killers that lurk in the shadows for their next victim with a broken tail light. Sure there are those that go over the top and need to be weeded out but how many jobs can you give me which include all the different levels of training that a cop goes through to actually be a cop?

Most of you I am guessing can’t reply with nothing more than, well, nothing. I was one of them, a cop. I was part of the thin blue line and the cop brotherhood. I can tell you that most of you wouldn’t last a day in the training academy. It is akin to Basic Training in the Marine Corps.

Watch any military movie that shows basic training and then double it for cops. We ran, did sit ups, chin ups and everything else until we puked. That is never a pleasant thing. But this isn’t about police training and the difficult regimen we went through. This is about a good hearted cops who went above and beyond the call of duty for a man he had no relation to or knew. And most of us do it at one time or another.

Much of what I am going to tell you is from Your Sport Spot. Mike Myers, ok forget the horror film, was a nothing and no one wanted him from the time of his birth. He was born in California and was adopted by the Myers family.

He was the average kid in school, played in the marching band and was well liked. He wasn’t outgoing like many kids and tended to be on the quiet side. His adoptive mother always tried to make him feel like he was part of the family, but failed.

After he graduated he lost contact with most of those he knew and was like a wraith. He always hoped that he could catch a break and when things looked like he might get one, life took one final turn for the worse.

Mike found out when he was sixteen that he had been adopted. His siblings cut ties and he found he was alone in a cruel world. He started driving trucks to support himself. It wasn’t a job he could make a lot of friends or connections and soon that job dried up.

To quote the article, it felt that living in the streets of San Leandro, California may just be his destiny. In the first few years after losing his job, Myers’ played guitar in order to get himself a hot meal. People that passed by never really stopped to hear his music or drop a dollar into his hat.

Then came along Deputy Sheriff Jacob Swalwell of the Alameda County Sheriffs Department. Numerous times Swalwell told him he needed to stop pan handling. For Myers, it was the only way of survival and each day he returned to the same spot, hat out or guitar case open to accept the few dollars that he managed to collect.

One day Swalwell asked Myers for identification and of course he had none. What would he do now? After this encounter Myers life changed forever. Myers was not an alcoholic or drug addict. Unusual for a person that lived on the street. He didn’t even smoke tobacco.

Myers told Swalwell that he had no way of collecting social security, wasn’t addicted but he had no ID. Swalwell was determined to help the man that others would have passed by with their prejudice about his appearance.

Swalwell felt it was his duty to help the man. But with no ID of any type it would be an upward battle. Stalwell was not one to take no for an answer. Though Mike had a license in the past there was no record of it now. No license, no social security card. But Swalwell was not the type of man to give up in the moment of a tough battle.

Swalwell even engaged his personal Pastor to assist with the search for documentation. Swalwell was tenacious in his search and finally found Myers birth certificate. Mike’s real name at birth was Gordon Michael Oakley.

The local news agency seeing a real story here did an article on Myers, or Oakley, and Swalwell. That is when a Private Investigator entered the scene. Mark Askins worked for a non-profit, Miracle Messages.

After a lot of digging, prayers and hope, Askins found a link of Meyers/Oakley, and a woman named Marie Pauline Oakley. As fate would have it way, Marie was Mikes mother and lived two hundred and fifty miles away. Myers, now in his sixties, hadn’t held out much hope.

As it turned out, Marie met Michaels father, Wiley Albert Oakley when she was sixteen. They were married in Reno, Nevada and then moved to Tennessee. Life was more than tough, and Marie had to make a decision. She had to steal from the neighbor’s garden and her mother in law helped with formula. But things had to change.

Marie left her husband, moved in with her mother and got the marriage annulled. Marie was also pregnant with a second child. 

Hardship piled on hardship and Gordon/Mike, had a hole in his stomach and surgery was beyond her means. Mike/Gordon was adopted by a family from the congregation. Both always wondered what happened to his family and for Marie her son.

After 65 years, Mike and Polly, his mother, communicated for the first time. Two weeks later, a voluntary crew, flew Mike to meet his mother for the first time. Mike learned that she had other children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren. They all accepted him whole heartedly.

Mike had three possessions, a guitar, a gift from Sheriff Swalwell, and a high school year book. Life has it’s funny twists and Swalwell looked at people like Mike much differently. Mike even had an option of coming to live with his mom, Polly and her husband.

Without the kindness of one cop, one officer that took the time to befriend someone like Mike, none of this would have been possible. So before you go and judge a cop because he pulled you over and asks for ID or even arrests you, remember you just might find that a cop just like Deputy Jacob Swalwell could be facing you.

We aren’t all evil or racists or ethnic haters. Cut us a break and you may find that the officer asking for your ID may say, “Have a good night.”

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