The Historian's Spotlight - Dan Bateman
BY PATRICK DAVIS
I first had the pleasure of meeting Dan Bateman at the 2014 Philadelphia National Conference. I was the Conference Chair for the event, and Dan was our newly appointed National Board Chaplain. Two years later, after I was appointed to serve on the Board as your National Historian I had the honor of working side-by-side with him on the Board.
His service to the Association went far beyond participating in the three annual Executive Board meetings. As our Chaplain, he made phone calls and wrote far too many letters to spouses, Chapter Officers and others whose loved ones and friends were either ill or had passed, to offer condolences on behalf of the Associates and his personal Spiritual Support. He served on committees and provided inspiration to the Board. I have been blessed throughout my lifetime, by friends that I have made and experiences that I have encountered. Dan Bateman is one of the people that I have been blessed to know.
Dan recently completed his term on the Board and has gone back to continue his involvement with his home Chapter and thought that it was only fitting for him to tell the story of his journey in his own words, or as he calls it, “My Story.”
When asked by our esteemed Historian, Patrick Davis, to pen an article regarding my history and the FBI National Academy Associates, I felt instantly old! Isn’t that for people who are in their sixties and on Medicare…..Hey, wait, that is me!! I will do my best to share with you what I call “My Story”.
The truth is everyone has a “My Story” that needs to be shared. It usually involves the retelling and culmination of events that lead to the present moment and whatever life station you find yourself in. Whether it is some great accomplishment or unforeseen circumstances that bring decision and fate together, there will be a time when you must recount your story. This is mine.
Having concluded my time as your Chaplain in the previous four years (2014 – 2017), I can now look back and reflect on how this came to be and the great impact law enforcement has had on my life, my career, my faith, and my family. Of course, no one attends the FBI National Academy without having become a sworn, enlisted command officer. And so my story begins a long time ago.
It was during the last century, (dare I say the last millennium!) my journey began. It was 1976 and no one in our family had been in law enforcement prior to my interest. In fact, no one in our family owned a handgun prior to my start down the path to become an officer. Furthermore, I had no intrinsic desire to become a law enforcement officer until a precipitating event occurred.
In southeast Michigan, the area freeways were becoming dangerous with crime occurring frequently on the highways themselves. Being newly married in 1976 and with my bride traversing those freeways every day on her way to work, I was somewhat alarmed and concerned regarding her safety. The danger rose to such a point, the Michigan State Police were called upon to provide additional patrols on the freeways proper. In what seemed like an instant, the freeway crime rate drop precipitously to where it almost disappeared. Given the impact of the Michigan State Police, I told my new wife, “Whatever that is, I want to be a part of it!”
However, as each of us must do, we had to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. The giving of that “last full measure of devotion”, as President Lincoln stated during the Gettysburg Address, is a question each of us must answer to the affirmative prior to enlistment. Being newly married, and with a potential family ahead, the answer to that question took a three year journey until I could bear it no more. Thus, in 1979, I began my journey to become a Michigan State Police Trooper and submitted my application.
Wouldn’t you know it?! The Department had restricted hiring due to budget restraints just when I applied! It would be three more years before I would enlist and take the oath become a State Trooper. That delay became a blessing in disguise as I was privileged to serve as a Deputy with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office during that time. I worked in the jail and received a real education that served me well in the future as I worked with other agencies during my career and as your former chaplain.
Ultimately, I enlisted with the Michigan State Police and was sworn in May, 1982. During my career, I served as a road trooper, forensic scientist (latent prints) and crime scene investigator, various levels of command starting with lieutenant and retiring as an inspector (second in command to a captain) in 2013.
During my career, a complete change in perspective took place in 1997 when my wife, Anne, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am thankful to God the treatment path was successful and she is still with me today. I learned a great lesson from that frightful experience. In an instant following the pronouncement of the diagnosis, what I thought was important was not so and what I had neglected became ever foremost important.
Following that crisis, a positive life-changing experience took place when I was fortunate to attend the FBI National Academy in April, 2000 as a proud member of the mighty 201st Session. It is an experience like no other and I am so grateful for the FBI and its support for the long-standing program. Each of us has had friendships forged that will never be forgotten. In every respect, it is a distinct honor and privilege to be selected to attend with the expectation you will give a substantial return on the investment made by the Bureau and your respective agency.
Upon graduation from the National Academy, I became active with the Michigan Chapter and rose through the ranks to serve as the Chapter President in 2010. Significantly during my time as President, I was able to work closely with the Michigan membership and Past Presidents to change our Constitution and by-laws to begin a 2-year presidential term following my 1-year term. The change has served the Michigan Chapter well.
Greatly influenced by Billy Gibson, our long standing Chaplain, I felt a calling to submit my name for consideration to be the next FBINAA Chaplain. Billy’s standing in the Associates as its longest serving Chaplain is legend and I had the awesome privilege to shadow him in 2013 prior to my start as Chaplain in 2014.
As fate (I prefer providence) would have it, upon retirement from the Michigan State Police, I began to serve as your chaplain for the next four years. It has been rewarding to share in that journey together with you. My faith in God has sustained me throughout my life, career, and family. I knew the pressures we are under as officers and the sometimes difficult task of separating who we must be at work to protect ourselves and who we ought to be in the warmth of our families. It can be a difficult walk because I have felt the storm within myself.
My time as your Chaplain strengthened me in so many ways. My faith in God and the ability to serve Him as your Chaplain humbled me. I was privileged to see the amazing work the FBINAA Executive Board, Executive Director, and the hardworking staff performed. They truly have your best interests at heart.
I am grateful for the grace of God that has placed Jeff Kruithoff as your current Chaplain for the next four years. Chaplain Kruithoff is a man of God with the heart of a servant. His devotion to God and demonstrated service to others is awe inspiring. I am thankful both for Billy Gibson’s influence on my life and the Associates and now the great work our current Chaplain Jeff Kruithoff will be doing.
Lastly, the blessing of my 41-year marriage to my lovely wife Anne supported me beyond what I deserve. My story would never be complete without she who completes me. I love and cherish her now more than ever.
My continued prayer is for you to have personal success in your relationships in every aspect but particularly as it relates to your faith in God. May God bless you as you serve in this noble calling of law enforcement.
Peace and blessings always.
Past Chaplain (2014 – 2017) FBINAA
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