Hard Work Pays

Today I had the opportunity to assist the Memphis Police Department, along with the University of Memphis Criminology Department in addressing the problem of illegal drug sells in our community. We did what is called a “Knock and Talk”. We gave drug dealers with no or limited criminal records the opportunity to enroll in programs geared toward making them productive citizens. While many may say they deserve to go to jail, I would disagree.

In today’s ride, we attempted to identify 6 individuals. Five of them were males. It felt so good to know that hard work does overcome all obstacles. The Knock and Talk team consisted of several detectives of the MPD, the U of M Criminology Department’s case manager and one intern, a community leader (Charlie Caswell) and me. The team was arranged this way to ensure the potential program participants that this was not a trick. The potential participants were given a letter stating what they had been observed doing. The letter, also, stated that this was not a trick, but a real opportunity to make a decision that will change the course of their lives. They were given instructions on when and where to meet to have the entire program explained to them.

I consider it a great honor even having been considered to participate in this endeavor. I am a convicted felon. Society does not think that I have the ability to change. I am sure there were objections in the planning room when my name came up. But if you consistently work tremendously hard and remain above reproach, the wagon will come full circle. My role was that of a preacher and a community leader. I was to be the comforter for this tense situation. Imagine the Police Department comes knocking on your door the day following a major drug dealer roundup. You would be skeptical and afraid.

I didn’t truly know how much clout is placed one the title Minister until we arrived at one of the addresses and a car pulled up while we were preparing to leave. The target was not home, but his grandmother was. She said that she didn’t know where he was and could not contact him. Before we could leave, a car pulled in the driveway. It was the target’s brother. When the detective approached him, he withdrew and got quiet. Then I walked up and introduced myself as Minister Brown. Immediately, his demeanor changed. He smiled, shook my hand, and promised us he would have his brother contact us. And he did just that.

The one lady that we identified admitted to selling drugs. During the explanation of the opportunity she was blessed to receive, she broke into tears. She realized that her actions could have taken her away from her two small children. She was truly grateful.

Rehabilitation MUST become a priority of our society if we want to reduce crime and make our hoods neighborhoods again. Locking people up only costs money. It doesn’t address the issues that cause the crime. I am glad to see that we are heading in that direction. I am even more excited because I am allowed to serve as an agent of change and I have the opportunity to share with these individuals.

Remember, hard work overcomes all obstacles. Work hard. Remain above reproach. Eventually your time will come and you will reap the harvest from your labor. NO ONE CAN STOP IT!!!