We are all raised to believe that what we should strive for in this life is the knowledge that when we leave this earth, we do so having made this world a better place. Isn't that what we have always been told?
If leaving this world better off because you have lived means helping people when they believe that everyone else has failed them or forgotten about them . . . If it means teaching someone that doing the right thing means telling the truth when you would rather not get involved . . . If it means convincing people to speak up and speak out even when doing so might put their very lives at risk . . . If it means taking on the cause of those among us who oftentimes never get heard . . . then I know such a man.
His name is Johnny Bonds. He recently retired from a lifetime career in law enforcement. He spent the first part of his career working for the Houston Police Department eventually finding his way to the Homicide Division. He retired from the Harris County District Attorney's Office as an Investigator. He spent most of his life doing what few have done better, as a "murder cop."
Johnny worked on the high-profile cases often enough during his career. One of his most difficult cases is profiled in The Cop Who Wouldn't Quit , a book Rick Nelson wrote about Bonds. But this article is written to tell you about all of the not-so-high-profile deeds that Johnny Bonds did for so many years.
Because my friends and I were fortunate to work alongside Johnny Bonds for so long, we got to see him in action close-up. His ability to convince people who were reluctant or defiant witnesses to come clean and tell what they knew the truth to be was masterful. His easy-going approach to handling dangerous and tragic situations was a lesson that all rookies would be lucky to study. His innate perception at how best to approach people from all walks of life was impeccable. The number of investigations and unsolved cases he closed are too numerous to count.
In the world of homicide cops, Johnny would tell you that he was no different than any of the other guys he worked alongside. He had far much less machismo and ego than one might expect. He was first and always a team player more committed to getting the job done than to anything else. His ability to laugh and to make others laugh when all seemed so bleak and his ability to size up a situation will always be remembered.
Ah, Johnny Bonds, the families you have given justice, sometimes single-handedly. The grieving parents you have given some measure of solace. The innocents you have helped make safe from the evil visited upon them. The wrongs you have helped right. The good you have done in this at-times terrible world. May God's blessing be always upon you. For all you have done for all of us.
You have truly left our world a better place because you decided to become a cop.