Undercover Cops ~ Is it possible to be a man of honor and live a life of lies?

Thank you to all who shared their hilarious pet stories over the weekend. Today, we’re going to talk about a different kind of character, or rather character trait. Being honorable
 
I think it’s safe to say that most female romance readers, as well as the heroines that populate romance novels, long to fall in love with an honorable man.
 
My dictionary defines honorable as “having or showing a sense of what is right and proper; honest; upright: It is not honorable to lie or cheat.” 
 
Ouch! Not looking good for Deep Cover’s hero Rick Gray, an undercover cop who’s obligated to keep his true identity, occupation and purpose from the heroine Ginny, a woman who esteems honesty above all else.
 
Rick likes Ginny, really likes her, and desperately wants her to see him as honorable. Each Love Inspired book has a scripture quote before the title page. For Deep Cover, it reads ‘There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.’” Luke 12:2
 
For most people the verse is an uncomfortable truth, whereas Rick longs for the day he can disclose his true life to Ginny. The day she will finally understand that he works for a greater good. The day she will know he’s honorable. 
 
Rick holds to the maxim that the end justifies the means. But as an undercover cop, sometimes those means are contrary to God’s Word.
 
It’s an interesting dilemma, don’t you think?
 
For Rick, feigning to be someone he’s not in order to bring a bad guy to justice is not the problem. Perpetuating the lie with a woman he cares for—for the sake of the case and her own protection—is.
 
But the bad guys need to be stopped. And he’s working within the law to do that. He’s doing his job. Yet, his conscience is torn.
 
I asked Lee Lofland, retired police officer and author of the suspense writer’s must-have book Police Procedure & Investigations, to give us his perspective on the dilemma. Here’s what he had to say:
 
A cop’s job is certainly a tough one, and all one has to do is watch the evening news to see why—shootouts, car chases, kidnappings, robberies, murder, and, well, you get the idea. But there’s a private side to law enforcement that not many people see. And that’s the side where an officer must sometimes push his/her core beliefs aside to get the job done.
 
An undercover assignment can have a negative impact on officers who try their best to keep their faith intact while working in an extremely faithless environment. After all, working undercover often means having to take on the guise of an immoral person. And some real-life cops have found themselves in a genuine struggle trying to separate reality from their make-believe undercover world.
 
Officers like Rick Gray, who protect others at all costs, eventually rise above the rest. They’re the officers who take their oaths seriously. Sure it’s a tough job, and it takes a tough person to do it, but isn’t toughness a trait of all heroes?
 
Thanks, Lee. Speaking with officers to research for this story, and participating in the Writer’s PoliceAcademy that Lee organizes, and writing Rick’s story, has certainly given me a broader appreciation of the emotional havoc law enforcement officers sometimes face.
 
Your turn: What do you think? Is it possible to be a man of honor and live a life of lies?

16 Comments

  • For some reason I’m thinking white lies here. If I were Ginny I’d be very confused once the truth was known, but I think in time I’d see that I hadn’t earned the right to that truth before. Every one has priorities and his was to his job until he accepted his love for Ginny.

    I think in this instant gratification age we think we deserve to know everything about others up front too, but in reality, we only build a relationship slowly. Sometimes we need to hold back for the safety of others and we always need to accept that the world is bigger than us and prioritizing is inevitable.

  • Wow, I’m impressed by your research lengths, Sandra. I’ve always wondered how that works for a writer.

    I’m on page 130 and you are killing me with this dilemma!!!! I think it would take a very special, committed and centered-on-Christ kind of individual to pull off this kind of undercover work without it spilling over into his ‘real’ self. A very tough line to walk.

    I knew one RCMP officer who did extensive undercover work with the dregs of society without a qualm until he got married. Once he had a wife to come home to his entire perspective changed because he felt like he was bringing that filth home to her. He really had an agonizing couple of years trying to find a balance and finally realized he couldn’t when their first daughter came along. He gave up undercover work that same month. Thought he would miss the adrenaline rush but he said being a dad gave him way more of a rush and a lot more often. LOL.

  • I’m glad you’re enjoying the story, Kav. Well…if feeling like you’re being killed is good. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story about the RCMP officer. He sounds like the kind of hero we like to read about, one who puts what’s best for the family above career.

  • Sandra, I like your subject; it will cause people to really think about what it means to be honest, and whether God requires complete true honesty all the time, no matter the circumstances.

    I remember reading Corrie Ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place, about Nazi concentrations camps and hiding Jews from the Nazis in Poland, for which her family went to prison.

    One relative was so strictly honest, that when the Nazis came into her house to question her about hiding Jews, she pointed to the floor where a throw rug covered a trap door to a crawl space, and said ‘that’s where we’re hiding them,” and lauged hysterically, because she was so afraid.

    They really were hiding Jews down there, and if the Nazis hadn’t thought she was loonie, they would have pulled back the rug and found the trap door (and the hidden people), but they didn’t. God protected the Jews, even when common sense tells us the woman endangered them by being truthful.

  • Wow… it’s a tough concept. Imagine having to lie for a living!

    I definately think that a person’s character can speak volumes about who they are, over what they actually say. Most of the time a man’s character is most vividly displayed by his actions. Cause let’s face it… Talk is cheap.

    Was Rick deceitful? Yeah. And generally that is a huge problem in relationships. But was he doing the right thing? Absolutely. Sometimes, as hard as it is to grasp, the end justifies the means.

    I had a neighbor growing up who was an FBI agent. I remember his wife telling me that there were so many things he had to keep from her. Secrecy was a requirement of his job. Personally, it would drive me half way to the nut-house to know that my hubby was keeping things from me, but sometimes our ignorance about certain things protects us.

    Great Topic Sandra… really got the gears going 🙂

    -Amy Leigh Simpson

  • Amy, wow, a former neighbor in the FBI…I bet he could offer lots of insights! It certainly takes a special kind of person to support a spouse in that kind of occupation.

    I’m so glad you think my hero did the right thing, even though he was deceitful. 🙂

  • I have a relative who is in law enforcement, and has done his share of undercover work. There is another, even greater danger, after that of being killed. From what he has told me, the inner struggle to stay pure in the midst of constant moral squalor is incredible. Many don’t win the battle, and the high divorce rate among the ranks in law enforcement is evidence.

  • You’re so right, Jane. Researching this series and speaking with a number of officers has really raised my awareness of the emotional toll the work can have on the officers as well.

  • Yes, I’m late out of the gate, but I do agree that it is a huge struggle; and that it is a necessity.

    I worked at a law firm many years ago, and the language that went on around me was so deplorable, it came to the point where I was afraid to opem my mouth lest a swear word would come out.

    I finally put my foot down, but it was an eye opener to know the effects of subtle negative influences that can invade one’s mind.

    Hats off to Christian officers, undercover and otherwise, who stand the test of time–or who are able to bounce back afterwards!

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