“Life” happens when you are making plans!!!!!

“Life” happens when you are making plans!!!!!

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Let’s face it – we all have plans for the future – whether it be the immediate future or the long-term goals that we so dream about. Marriage, children, buying and or building a home, buying a car, you get my drift. Anyway, just when you start dreaming of what you want to do – “Life” steps in and changes are made. Just look at the current weather situation in Florida. We are planning a vacation to the Keys in the near future but what if it would have been this weekend or next weekend? Monies would have been paid, time taken off of work, “plans” made all for what? Just to be rearranged, cancelled, or even lost. The fact remains that yes we make plans but plans are made to be changed. Just because you get pitched a curve ball doesn’t mean that your life is over or that it is the worst thing in the world. Think about all of those people in the Caribbean that were planning on – well – tomorrow! Their tomorrow will never come and their families will be asking themselves “what could I have done different”?

I have a very dear friend that, on and off over the years, we have kept in contact with each other and from the very first day that I met Mike Holland, I knew there was something different about him. Something strange! Strange in a good way though – the type of strange that you don’t see any more in this day and age. I was working as a Rent-a-Cop – a Security Officer at a local Mall in Henderson. This was all before I went to the Police Academy in 1990 to become a real Police Officer. I had been working there for over a year and was tasked with training all of the new hires and getting them acclimated to their surroundings. Mike Holland was hired on and he and I were assigned onto a shift together. Over the course of the next few weeks, he and I worked together and I learned a lot about him. For one, he built and worked on computers and from what I remember; he was quite brilliant at it too. Secondly, he had a religious upbringing and was very family oriented. Mike was an avid firearms nut and had a sense of self-sufficiency about him. He and his father later opened a towing business in the Lickskillet Community and ran that for some time.

Mike later joined the Marine Corps and served his tour of duty with them and learned many valuable lessons and skills which he transitioned into his civilian life when he got out. I am proud of and thankful to him for serving our country and doing his part for “our” freedom. Now Mike had this “thing” about him – he carried himself as “just a dumb ole country boy”  NC Redneck and never tried living above his means. Always treating others with respect but if you ever crossed him or done him wrong, you would definitely know about it – he has always been a straight shooter. You see, Mike is very intelligent and very well-educated but he interacts with people on their level. He was able to speak to the average person so that they would understand exactly what he was saying and he had a way of explaining himself to where you could understand it.

Mike married his high school sweetheart Kim and they had 4 beautiful children together. Since the beginning, he has always been the spiritual leader of their home and they have always, and I do mean always, helped out others in need. Since day one, he has lived his life to serve God and his fellow-man. After the military, Mike has held many jobs, some at the same time, but he has always worked in serving people in some form or fashion. From being a Law Enforcement Officer, a Licensed Private Detective, a Pastor, a counselor, a chicken farmer and countless other jobs,

Mike has learned a thing or two about people and he tries every day to teach you about what it means to be a servant of God. He truly lives what he preaches and leads by example. No – he is not perfect and he will be the first one to say it but at the same time, he knows what it takes to be highly favored by God. We have all been exposed to the “Instruction Manual” – Gods Holy Word – at some point in our lives – he just happens to follow it to the best of his ability.

Mike and his wife Kim are always taking in people in need of shelter, heck he even volunteers his services to the homeless shelters and other places in the area. He has taught his family how to be self-sufficient, growing their own gardens, raising their own chickens and farm animals; he is even a licensed beekeeper and harvests his own honey. His children help him in every task required and he does his very best to teach them what it means to help others. peoplehelpingpeople

Now I have given you a good example of what Mike and his family do on a daily basis but what I need to explain to you is what he does aside from all of that. Mike is always going around to the elderly and making sure they have what they need to survive, he constructed a food truck to feed the homeless and hungry, he has cut and donated firewood to those who needed heat in the winter, he has Pastored to the lost in the prisons and he has traveled out of state to help others – all at his own expense. Just this past week in the wake of the Texas flooding – he, along with his family and friends, drove a caravan of supplies out there to donate his time, money and supplies to those in need. All to what end? Not for the fame or fortune but for the Glory that God himself will reward him with. Salvation and that leading others to God is the way that it was meant to be. You see Mike believes in the Bibles’ teachings not as a suggestion, but as a commandment from God. A requirement and guide on how we are to treat one another.

Holy Bible on wooden table.

Now to ask you this – is your life worth more than anyone else’s? Is how you live your life now able to help anyone other than yourself? What about those who were planning on but never got the chance to see their tomorrow? What if that was your Mother or your brother? What could you have done different? What will God think of you now?

God gives a good chuckle when you are making plans. After all – He has the final say-so in these matters!

If you get the chance – check out Mike Holland’s efforts and life at giftedfaithful.org

You just might be glad you did!

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Your Rights during a Traffic Stop

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We rely on the police to keep us safe and treat us all fairly, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. This information provides tips for interacting with police and understanding your rights and is excerpted in part by the ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union, the Raleigh Police Department and various other sources.

Driving is a Privilege, Not a Right

Driving is not a constitutional right. You get your drivers’ license based on the skills you have and the rules you agree to follow. After you get your drivers’ license you must continue to demonstrate your ability to drive safely on the road. If you fail to demonstrate this ability, you will be issued traffic tickets, or even have your license suspended or revoked. No one has more right to the road than anyone else. If you’re going to drive, you owe it to the other roadway users and yourself to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.

During my career in Law Enforcement, I have had many opportunities to encounter civilians during “routine” traffic stops – enough to know that there is NO SUCH THING AS A ROUTINE TRAFFIC STOP! Every person is different, every circumstance is different and every story is different. The cars and the locations are the only part of the whole scenario that hardly ever changes. Here are a few basic Rights that you, as a civilian, have when dealing with Law Enforcement during a traffic stop. These tips are not to be construed or used as Legal Advice. Do your own research and use accordingly.

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There’s no magic word, handshake or gesture to get you “off the hook”. Every LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) is different and each Officer has their own way of doing things (within the law). What you must remember is that LEO’s are human beings – they are people just like me and you and they are all subject to peer pressure, mood swings, bad days, good days, etc. Most of the time their interactions with you are strictly business and you should not take it personally. They have a job to do – just like you when you go to work. They have supervisors who tell them what to do and give them parameters to work within – who also give them grief during the day and push for performance.

Now with that being said – there is a lot that can go wrong during one of these encounters regardless of whether you are guilty or not.

Most traffic encounters can be stressful, but everyone involved (even the Officer) all want the same thing – they want to get through it as quickly and safely as possible and get on with the rest of their day.  Remember – Driving is a Privilege – Not a Right!

Your Rights Explained:  I know my rights

1. Be ready (Have your Documents in a location that is easily accessible)

We’ll start from the beginning. Just as soon as you see that you are being pulled over, immediately put your turn signal on, slow down and safely come to a stop on the shoulder of the road. If it is dark and you feel unsafe, you can drive slowly to a more lighted area if possible. Once you get your vehicle stopped, put your car in park, turn down your radio, if it’s dark outside, turn on your interior lights and roll your window down so that you can communicate with the Officer. Attitude is key at this point. If the Officer sees that you are going to be hard to deal with, you will most likely have a rough time getting through the traffic stop quickly and in your favor. Officers have a vast arsenal of charges that they can charge you with so tread lightly.

2. Probable cause (Know what you’re being stopped for).

The Officer should tell you why you’ve been pulled over right away. You have a right to know why you were stopped, and officers need a reason to stop you. This is known as probable cause, and it can be for anything, including a license plate light being out or speeding. If the officer fails to tell you why they pulled you over, don’t be afraid to ask; it’s your right to know.

3. You don’t have to say much (But keep your hands visible at all times)!

In a routine traffic stop, you will need to provide your Drivers’ License, Vehicle Registration, Proof of Insurance, and you may have to answer some basic identifying questions.  Many people in North Carolina lawfully carry different types of weapons. You should notify the officer as to the presence of these weapons. For example, if you are a law-abiding gun owner who is carrying during your stop, let the officer know about the presence of your gun. When the officer asks for these documents or items, let him know that you are going to reach for them and state where they are at. This will help put the officer at ease with what you plan to do with your hands. Other than that, you can be as quiet as you want to be. Remember: Staying silent means you can’t incriminate yourself. Essentially if you are pulled over for speeding, tail lights, running a stop sign or some other violation of the vehicle code you are not required to answer unrelated questions.  As a matter of common sense you should be polite to the officer who pulled you over but you are not required to answer questions unrelated to your car (i.e. ‘were you drinking tonight,’ ‘where have you been’ etc.).  You are required to give the officer your license, registration and insurance card. You are not required to give the officer consent to search your vehicle nor are you required to talk with him if you don’t want to.

4. Film away (Record-keeping isn’t a bad idea). 

Relations between the police and certain communities aren’t great right now. For safety and evidence purposes, some Law Enforcement Agencies have started to use body cameras, so there’s a record of virtually every interaction between police and the citizens. But if you want to take matters into your own hands, it’s perfectly legal to film or record a traffic stop, so you have a record of the interaction, especially if you think you might need to dispute something later.

5. An attitude isn’t illegal (There’s no law against this, but we wouldn’t recommend it). 

At the end of the day, police officers are doing a job and want their days to go as smoothly as possible. There’s no law governing etiquette for dealing with an officer, and you can’t be arrested for having a bad attitude. But being difficult won’t do you any favors either. In fact, it’s probably the easiest way to make a tense situation go bad. If you’re being mistreated, fighting fire with fire isn’t going to help you at a traffic stop. “Any level-headed person who gets pulled over does what a police officer tells you, and there won’t be any problems. Whether the cop is wrong, you can hash it out in courts after it’s over.” Comply with all reasonable requests. When stopped, please follow the officer’s instructions. This is not the appropriate time to debate the merits of a traffic stop. Let your attorney handle that in the courtroom.

6. Do not get out of your car (unless instructed to by the Officer).

More often than not, when a police officer asks you to step out of the car, it’s for their own safety. They either want to make sure you don’t have a concealed weapon on you or issue a field sobriety test. Do not exit your vehicle unless the officer tells you to do so. Once again, this is true for passengers as well. Simply remain inside your car until the officer has a chance to speak with you.

7. You can refuse a breathalyzer test (Even exercising this right might land you in jail). 

This one is a double-edged sword. If you’re asked to submit to a breathalyzer test, remember you’re being asked, not ordered. Still, many states have implied consent laws, which mean you automatically consent to the test as soon as you get your license. If you refuse, you can still be arrested and charged with a DUI based on evidence presented by arresting officers. Either way, being in this scenario is a no-win situation.

8. Know where you stand

Most officers want traffic stops to be as quick as possible. But if you’re in a situation where you’ve had your documents returned but you’re still being questioned by the officer, you’re well within your rights to say, “I need to be going. Am I free to go?” If the answer isn’t a clear “yes,” you can ask, “Am I being detained?” If you’re not allowed to leave, it’s time to stop talking and think about getting a lawyer.

9. Don’t allow a search for any reason (Innocent or not, don’t ever do this). 

Sometimes, an officer will nonchalantly ask, “Mind if I take a look in your car?” Innocent or not, do not ever consent to this; no good ever comes of it. The only way an officer can search your car is if you consent, if you have something illegal in plain view, if they’ve already arrested you, if they have probable cause that a crime has immediately been committed, or if there’s danger that evidence from a crime could be immediately destroyed. Other than that, they need a warrant. End of story.

10. Warrants and checkpoints are (mostly) non-negotiable

If you’re driving and come to a police checkpoint, you need to stop and interact with the officers. There really isn’t a lot of wiggle room there. And in the event police have a warrant to search your car, you must let them search. But there is a catch: If they’re looking for a specific object, they only can search areas where that object can fit. If police start searching outside the parameters of the warrant, they’re violating your rights.

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So there you have it – remember this is just a guide and is not meant as Legal Advice – If you feel that you have been discriminated against or treated unfairly, make sure that you report it to someone. Everyone has a boss or someone that they report to – even the Police!