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From the Pastor's Desk

  • Writer's picturePastor

Good Morning Pioneer Baptist!

“Toby Tiner was a cop.”

I had known other cops. My good friend Larry Marczak’s dad was a captain in the Auburn (Maine) Police Department, and Mr. Bishop, who lived in our subsection known as “New” Auburn (owing to the devastating fire of 1933) was also on the force. But Toby was my age; sort of. He was about three years older than I, but he must have been past twenty-one when I was a sophomore in college and met him walking the beat in New Auburn, even more handsome than ever in his clean and pressed police uniform. Toby was a great guy, a great athlete, and a possessor of as warm and a friendly disposition as you could imagine. His dad, Bobby Tiner had served as a cop in Auburn, and so did his older brother, Bobby Jr., and now there was Toby. It was hard to imagine that one of my friends had achieved such heights.

There would be others of my compadres, such as Auburn Police Officer Richard Valcourt, and Maine State Police officer Bruce Rafnell, but Toby was the first. That was then, and since then my nephew serves with the California Highway Patrol, my father-in-law was a motorcycle cop for the Anaheim Police Department, another CHP officer lived at my house for a few years, and among my best friends is a Sergeant with the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department.

I guess you could say I’m partial to police officers. The Toby Tiners of this world keep us safe and put their lives on the line for us every day. And everybody loved Toby! I remember a guy in Auburn sometime in the early 80s who was ready to commit suicide and he was holed up in an apartment building. Officers were trying to communicate with him, but he told them the only one he would talk to was Toby Tiner. And Toby came and dutifully saved the moment and at least one life. Just another day in the life of an exceptionally high quality human being who dedicated his professional life to serving his fellow citizens. Toby never stopped being the friendly, kind, courteous, courageous and humble man that he was, a credit to his department and to a profession which is full of men and women who, if not exactly like Toby, were cut out of the same mold. Men and women who would (and like Officer Rodney "Rocky" Bonney “did”) give their lives for the likes of us!

And now a portion of Americans wants to demonize them. It’s crazy! Yes we understand Jim Crow history, but that’s a term that is outdated and now overrated. We ought to leave that term in the vault where it belongs, rather than dusting it off and spouting it for political purposes. We’ve cut funding to those who should have more, and cut respect to those we should adore. I’m so sick of cops being badgered, doused with water buckets, pelted with everything under the sun, and murdered in cold blood. The courts are the public’s defense when needed to be sure that proper police procedures are adhered to, but when citizens resist and even attack officers of the law, bad things are sure to follow. Tragedies do occur, but without laws in our land we have anarchy, and without law enforcement officers, we have law abiding citizens abused. My Friends, that “Thin Blue Line” is real!

I thank and love my (now retired) friend Toby Tiner, and all of the other Tobys who are gearing up every day to keep the bad guys at bay. "Where would we be without them?" And doesn’t every right-minded American, in his heart, know the truth of that rhetorical question?

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls,...” (Hebrews 13:17 KJV)

Let’s stand, speak, and stay true to Blue!

Love to all,


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