Paul Riley: Retired Police Officer & Devoted Family Man

Paul Riley, aged 52, is a retired police officer with an impressive 30 years of dedicated service. Now, he cherishes life’s simpler pleasures in the picturesque landscapes of Scotland. An enthusiast of the outdoors, Paul enjoys long walks and golf, indulging in the sport’s challenges with a playful swing at the ‘wee white ball.’

At the heart of his world are his two sons, ages 18 and 14, who inspire his love for all things sportive. Together with his beloved girlfriend, Paul revels in the joy of family life, sporting events, and the natural beauty of his Scottish homeland.

Thank you for listening! We hope you feel inspired and encouraged by our conversation today. If you did, be sure to share this episode with others.

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Full Transcript

 Jeff Johnson: Welcome everybody to the Courageous Podcast here at Crossroads Apologetics. I had the opportunity to take a bucket list trip. You know, everybody’s got these things that are on their bucket list and I’m a golfer. So of course one of my bucket list trips was to be able to head over to St. Andrews in Scotland and play some golf.

And I had an opportunity to do that a few weeks ago with some other friends and I got to enjoy a round of golf at. The famed club Carnoustie over there with a friend of mine, Paul Riley, somebody that I had met just over there. And we were able to walk through 18 holes and I’m not sure how good a golf I played.

I hope Paul won’t talk about that at all. But anyway, there were some errant shots in there that were maybe a couple of glimpses of greatness. But anyway, as I walked through that course I got to know Paul. At on a deeper level and it absolutely blessed me. And so I’m grateful to present him here to you today to edify you and encourage you with his stories of courage.

So Paul Riley from Scotland, welcome to the podcast.

Paul Riley: Good afternoon here, Jeff and you, you, you did me a very good introduction. Indeed, it may be not so much to yourself because your golf was good. You were playing one of the hardest championship golf courses in the world. There’s absolutely no doubt about that.

But I’m sure you had a great time and there was lots and lots of good shots, some of which you remember. And you know, like we said, when that day, the bad shots, you tend to forget pretty easy. Right.

Jeff Johnson: That’s right. That’s right. Well, it was just, I mean, it was just picture perfect. And I remember the weather that we had, Paul was fantastic.

And anyway, but eclipsing all of that, even walking through that iconic golf course the opportunity to meet with you and chat with you was a particular blessing. And that was certainly the highlight of the trip, Paul. So I’m, I’m really grateful that you’re joining us here today as we ease into your Story of courage.

Can I ask you a couple of questions, maybe just to put you in context for our listeners. Can you tell me who you are, maybe a little bit about your family, what you do for a living, whatever you’d like to tell people to let them know who you are, Paul?

Paul Riley: Yeah. Like, like most people, Jeff. Your, your, your journey through life.

It’s ups and downs, bumps in the road, and, and I’m absolutely no different. I am 52 years old, be 53 at the end of the year. I live in the city of Dundee. I was born in England, the northeast of England an industrial town who into a great family nice mom and dad brought up well, brought up very well a working class, a working class area, an industrial area.

When I was 10 years old, I have two brothers one that’s four years older than me and one that’s 18 months younger than me. I was the third son of four to my parents. My mom and dad’s first son Anthony died of leukemia when he was six years old just before I was born. To which I often say at the time was the substitute the replacement child, if you like ingest on probably quite a serious matter, but that obviously had a huge impact on my parents, my mother in particular.

And when, when, when you talk about mental health res, that kind of resonates with me through her because my dad often says that the day that Anthony got not well and, and subsequently passed away my mom changed forever. And I would get that and I think we would all understand that. 10 years old, moved to Scotland, Carnoustie, where you’ve obviously been.

And I played, went to school there, grew up there, learned to play golf there. I am a one handicap golfer. I have two sons myself, who my ex wife, who is a lovely woman, an incredible woman, has given me two sons. And Our marriage failed in no small path down to myself. And, and that’s something that I deal with o on a day-to-Day day-to-Day basis.

I have a wonderful girlfriend, partner who I obviously love dearly. And my two sons are 18 and 13. Lovely boys. One is at university, one is in third year, which would be what, that’s ninth grade in the States, in education. And they both do remarkably well in education, both highly driven sports children.

And I When I left school, I didn’t go to university like my two brothers. I chose the option of going to work. I worked in a bank for three years. I worked in a bank from day one, Jeff, I absolutely hated it. And if I had my time again, I would go to university or, or, or, or possibly stick.

with some kind of sporting vocation, whether it be golf or soccer or whatever. But I hated it and I looked for an opportunity to get outside. I can remember one day working in the bank and I, Went in at 8. 30 in the morning, and it was dark in the wintertime here. It’s still a little bit dark at that time, and I came out at 5 in the afternoon.

I was downstairs in the bullion under, in the bowels of the bank, if you like, bank and network, and I’d been counting money all day, and I come outside, and it was dark, and I was like, there has to be more to life than this. And I I don’t, if you ask police officers, a lot of police officers, and I’m sure it’ll be the same in the States, eh, will have family that’s been in the police.

And so they go there. It’s a bit like the military, I guess, you know, your dad might have been in the army, so you go in the army or the way it works. If you have stuff like that, my dad and family, I had nobody that had ever been in the police, but I thought, you know, The police are outside and I never really thought about the level of helping people.

I was 19 years old. I was 20 years old. That didn’t really come into it. And If you’re 20 years old and 19 years old and you think about anything other than yourself, well, absolutely massive respect to you because I don’t think that really comes until a little bit later on. But I want to be outside and I want to do things and And I thought, well, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m going to join the police.

I’d like to join the police. And when I was at that age, 19 or 18 I actually believe I’m not applied to join the Metropolitan Police, which is in London. And the reason I did that was that in Scotland, in Tayside, this area where I live now, you had to be 21 to join the police. So I had an unfortunate experience with a, with a, with a male, in that I got accepted to go down to London.

Go down to London to see what it was like. I went through a process, went down to see what it was like, and I got on, the plan was for me to get on the overnight sleeper train from here, Dundee, just along there and go down and spend three days in London at the Metropolitan Police headquarters and go through assessments and see what I thought about it and all the rest of it.

Anyway. I got on the overnight sleeper train and it’s like, I don’t know if you’ve ever been on one of these, but it’s like a cabin and there’s two people share small cabin, it’s like bunk beds and not a lot of room in it. So I sat there on my bed and the train was just about to pull off out of station and this, Bear in mind, I’m a kid, I’m only 18 years old, 19 years old at the time.

And I got, I was sitting there, minding my own business, I had a book, I had some food which my mum had given me and I was going to sleep overnight. And anyway, so. Train just pulls out, just about to pull out the station, and this male guy, probably mid 50s, gets on and gets, and he’s, he comes in and he starts talking, he’s drunk, but he’s going to be in the, the, the bed above me, and he’s drunk, and, you know, I’m just like, kinda, Trying to humor this, this guy, if you like.

And so eventually he sort of gets up and he’s bunk and he’s talking away. He’s asking me where I go. I don’t say that I’m going down to try and join the police in London. I don’t say that. I just say I’m going down to London to see family or what. I can’t remember what I said. Anyway, he then starts talking.

In a, in a, in a sexualized manner, and I’m like, I feel very uncomfortable, I feel very uncomfortable about this and I’m a kid. Anyway, he gets down from the bunk and he sits on my bed. And he goes to touch me. And when I say that, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in this situation, but the fear in me was so strong that I felt, I was shaking with fear, but I felt so strong that I thought if he does anything here, there’s going to be a war on this train.

Anyway, so I pulled my knees up to my chest and swore at him and I said, You’d better get up back up there, because if you don’t, there’s going to be hell on this train. So anyway, he got back up and needless to say, I did not sleep. a wink on that trip down to London. He, he was snowing, he was crashed out two minutes later.

And that was that. And in the morning when the guard came in at the, the, the, the support comes and says, we’re waiting to pull into the station. He woke up and never said a word and I just got off the train and that was that. So I did three days down there. And that was, that was probably my first experience as a, as a kid, adolescence going into adulthood where there’d been a challenge in my life that maybe I wasn’t sure how to deal with it.

I probably looking back on it, I could have dealt a different way, but I think I did okay. And I did three days down there and I come back home and I told my mom what had happened. And the, hit the fan, and my mum went absolutely crazy. She’s on the phone to British Rail complaining, she’s on the phone to the police, and God knows what else.

And that was that. But that, all that that did was three days away, I was like, well, I don’t think I’m mature enough or old enough yet to go away to London to, to, to live. And I stayed and I lasted in the bank another couple of years. I did three years in total, three and a half years in total. And then I got accepted into the police in Scotland, in Dundee.

This is the city, it’s born part of an area called Dundee. Tayside which is made up of three regions, Angus, Perthshire, and Dundee. And I was based as a uniformed cop, you call them, a uniformed cop in Dundee, where I went about doing response calls, dealing with crime, helping people, and all the rest of it, as a young man.

And I absolutely loved it. I, I, I, Just the best job in the world for a boy. It’s 21 and you were getting good money for a 21 year old kid. And it was like going out. It was testosterone fueled. You were, you were going out. Whether it was early shift, late shift, or night shift, and you’d be dealing with social problems, crime, violence, everything.

Low end stuff, because you’re a uniformed response officer. And I just loved it. I really, really loved it. And I did that for seven years. And We have, in this country, our police forces, we have the CID within the criminal investigation department. I assume that’s probably like your FBI type, type thing in the states where you investigate high end crimes and all the rest of it.

I came into work one day and a guy on another shift and, and I don’t want to be too disrespectful to him, but let’s just say he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box. He had gone away for three months to go into the CID and I was like, how does that work? Then he says, oh, we, when the advertised for an aid to that department, you can you can go in.

And I thought, wow, I fancy a bit of that, Jeff. I really fancy a bit of that. So the next time this opportunity came up I applied. I was supported by my supervisor’s office and I went in. You wear a suit, shirt and tie. And I loved that. It was the next level. It was fantastic. proper stuff and all the rest of it.

And I then basically did the next 22 years of my service as a detective. And I loved it. And whilst within there, I got to 20 years, I got to 20 years as a police officer, and I’d not long got married and had my first son, and I I just loved being a detective constantly. But then I thought, you know, what if my son wants to go to university, this baby that I’ve got in the house, or, you know, prepare for the future type thing.

Maybe you want a kid. Try and get promoted. So I went through a process where you do your exams, which actually involves a diploma over two years. And I did that I was fortunate enough to pass that and ended up getting promoted and I got promoted again and again. And ultimately, throughout that period, I was in charge of intelligence, I was in charge of serious organized crime, proactive detective work, and lots of other things.

But going back to sort of things that maybe you might be interested in and want to ask me in detail about. I remember when we were on the golf course, and I did 30 years, and I did 30 years, and then I retired. As we do and now I did nothing for a little while, played a bit more golf, and then I now work in a children’s home where Three days a week, three nights a week, I look after or help look after vulnerable children and children that have been placed into care by the local council for a variety of reasons, whether it be they’re involved in criminality or outwith their parental control, their parents can’t look after them for whether it’s criminality, drug abuse, whatever.

And that’s kind of where we are. Fast forward, and it’s probably a little bit too long for you, but up to where we are just now.

Jeff Johnson: That’s fantastic, Paul. So now I, I, I invite the people that are listening to this, you know, imagine, imagine you’re in a bucket list scenario. You’re in Carnoustie. It’s this beautiful little chill in the air.

The sun’s out. I mean, we got, we had beautiful weather while we were there, and if we’re lucky enough to hit one in the fairway, the ball’s got a really nice lie, and you’re kind of measuring out, you know, what the next shot is, and you know, you feel that club in your hand, and, you know, you’ve been out walking on this beautiful, soft carpet, this beautiful Poiana greens, and all the kind of things.

Yeah. Yeah. The Gorscht over in the in the rough and all that sort of thing. And you’re lining up these shots and Paul and I have the opportunity to talk about us, talk about our history, talk about who we are, you know, just getting to know each other over this very, very, very long walk. And you can imagine.

It doesn’t become distracting while you’re out there playing golf, but it becomes, you know, part of, it’s kind of woven into the, the game as well. So as enjoyable as it was to feel that club in your hand and hit a good crisp. Shot and go find it, you know, and hit it again and that sort of thing. In between each one of those, we got to talk about experiences that Paul had had.

He was very generous. You were very generous with me, Paul, sharing a lot of those stories. So anyway, I wanna get to the question, what’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done? But before I do that, Paul, could I ask you, maybe just to calibrate real quickly, what do you believe is the relationship between fear and courage?

Or courage and recklessness, you know, to kind of define for our listeners, how you define courage. What’s that mean to you?

Well, do you know what, I think it’s, it’s, it’s very difficult because I say to people now when, when, when I was younger and I was a cop, I can remember going to a bar where a guy had caused a whole load of trouble and he’d smashed up the bar and I went in on my own.

Now we, we don’t have guns here or anything like that, right? I went on my own and I was probably about 21, 22. Now you’ve met me and I’m I’m six foot two. And I’m probably a bit heavier now than what I should be, maybe 15 stone. But at the time, I was probably about 10 stone or 11 stone, and I went into the bar and there was a guy, and he must have been like 6 4, 6 5, and he’s drunk and he has you, you know, on a bar you have.

The, the pump, the beer pump that you can pull the beer pump, well, they’re bolted onto a wooden bar and he had punched two of these off, right? He had punched that off, these two things off the bar. Now, ultimately, I’m taking this guy out of there, okay? I am taking him out of there. He’s going to get arrested and I’m taking him out of there.

And I’m waiting on backup to come and help me. And I’m in this bar and it was, it was what we would call anti police, you know, nobody tells you what’s going on and all the rest of it. But people are just sitting around as if nothing’s happened. The place is absolutely trashed a bit. And I say to him, you know you have to come with me.

And he’s like, I’m not going anywhere. And I’m like, oh my God. Right, now, I can feel fear. I can feel adrenaline. I can feel everything. It’s flying through me like there’s no tomorrow. And ultimately, to cut a long story short, Through the power of speech and communication, I convinced him that it would be a very good idea to come out into the street with me and wait on the car, the police car, to take us to the jail.

I said, because if you don’t, we’re going to end up, right, I’ll end up hurt. That I knew, right? I’ll end up hurt. But if I end up hurt, he’s going to end up hurt as well. And it’s going to be, serve nobody any good. He’ll still end up in the jail, probably longer than, than what he what would have been anticipated.

So he connects with this and we walk outside almost hand in hand and we wait on the police car arrives a minute or two later and we get in the car, we go down to the jail. So it’s about, you know, So when we get there, what I have to do is write this guy’s name in my book and his date of birth and his details and all the rest of it.

I couldn’t hold my pencil to write his name in my book. Now I can remember this and that’s over 30 years ago. I can remember this. So that fear, I would argue that day I was also pretty damn courageous,


Now that’s different levels of fear and, and courage, you know I would say nowadays just through experience that physical fear and emotional fear, although they’re the same, are two different things.

My point is, I am probably never going to be in a, I don’t think, hopefully I’ll ever be in a situation again where I am. scared because nothing now scares me, which is a bad thing. I think it’s a really bad thing, Jeff, because I don’t think that that’s normal. But what’s happened is over the years, I have been desensitized by fear.

Do you know what I mean? So, so there’s things like that. Courage courage. I’ve dealt with things, death, bereavement, horrible, horrible things. I did tell you about the death of a, of a baby whereby their parents were responsible, or stepfather and mother, were responsible for the baby’s death. And when I went there, I am not scared, but I have courage to be able to deal with it.

I have courage to be able to speak to people and deal with it without breaking down. Because you deal with, you deal with some real. Traumatic events and situations and stories that people will tell you it would be only human and humane to possibly express upset emotion, tears. I’m the type of person, Jeff, I could watch a sad movie on the television right now and be a bubbling wreck and I don’t want to watch that film because I know the effect that film might have on me.


however, I could deal with situations as a police officer, which were much, much more sad, much, much more distressing and then come home and have my tea. Like on my dinner as if nothing’s happened. Does that make sense to you? Yeah.


So I guess that itself is courage because

you’re defining courage as you’re defining courage for me.

At least what I hear you say is feeling that fear and then doing it anyway. Not being able to hold the pencil. But I went ahead and I took the guy out.

Yeah. Yeah.

Now that’s, that’s my coping mechanism. That’s my coping mechanism because I can’t sit here and watch a real sad movie with my girlfriend or my sons, and I can’t watch that without impacting on me as a person. But that’s Paul Riley the person.

That isn’t Paul Riley a police officer who is getting paid to do a job.

Right? Because going to tell somebody that their son who at two o’clock in the morning is in a psychiatric hospital, he’s in a psychiatric hospital because of drug abuse and he’s 19, 20 years old, and you go there, you’ve got to go to the hospital where he has run away from the hospital. Got drugs, brought them back, banked them, banked the drugs internally, and then taking the drugs in the hospital and died in a place of care.

So you go along there, you deal with that incident, and okay, that’s, that’s pretty, as a detective, that’s a pretty straightforward incident to go and deal with. But then you have to go to the parent, right, at two o’clock in the morning, and basically, destroy her life. Destroy her life by telling her what’s happened.

And the reaction, she is absolutely distraught. Yet I stand there, not cold, not cold, but Well, it’s professional, that’s what it is, but you’re basically desensitized to the whole event, you know what I mean? Which, which, which I don’t actually think is very good for us as human beings, because I think emotion, fear, courage, all these things.

Right? Happiness, sadness, they’re all good for us because it makes you go on and you deal with them. So

Jeff Johnson: yeah. Well, let me, let me jump in there, Paul, with, and I don’t know if the story of the young boy, which is so impactful. If that’s, I would imagine you’ve got a lot of things that you would define as the most courageous thing you’ve ever done.

So if you’d like to tell that story, please do, but let me come to that question. Paul, if you don’t mind, what is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

Paul Riley: Probably, probably the most courageous was and when I think about these things, it’s something that’s really, really impactive. on your life. So I remember telling you, and it’s not just you, I tell other people this, people say to me, why do you do that job that you do now? Why do you go in to an environment where you can be abused?

You could be assaulted technically, I suppose. And by young people having been kind of on the other side of the fence as a police officer. Excuse me for all that time, and I, my answer is that there are things that’s happened in my life my working life that’s made me question, not myself, but sort of more society in general, and go, what can I do to make things better?

Right? So can you do something to make things better? So the reason that I do what I do, and, or, Amongst them, and probably the main thing, and when you talk about courage, is about 18 years ago, 17 years ago I went, I was night shift, I was night shift detective In this area, in the city of Dundee. And the city of Dundee is about 200, 000 people, 170, 000 people.

And I got a call about a baby, a child, a toddler, who it just so happened was the same age as my son at the time, my oldest son. He would have been about two, two and a half. And he was in cardiac arrest. And the ambulance was on its way. So we go there. Now, the person I was with you, there’s only two of us for the, the city, but the other detective, she was very new.

She was learning, and we’ll go there and immediately on entering the house. You know, you, I’ve seen it a hundred times before, the vibe, the conditions, the home conditions are very poor. And they like, stay at the house, it was unclean, it was damp, eh, didn’t smell nice. Anyway, the, the police, they’re doing CPR on the little boy, who’s two and a half years old, and moments later, The paramedics come in and rush this little child off to the hospital in an ambulance.

So I walk into the house and I walk down the hallway and on the left there was a bedroom and it was a pigsty, a pigsty, right? dirty, cluttered, very cluttered, furniture broken, turned up, all the rest of it. On the right hand side there was another bedroom, there was a woman in there sitting down, on the bed, same kind of conditions, and her boyfriend was sitting down, and her head was she was kind of leaning into him, like on his lap type thing.

And that was a mom and the boyfriend and my partner stood kind of at the door and I went into the living room, the kitchen was off the living room, I went in the living room and it was, it was squalor, squalor, smell, not nice, damp, everything horrible, no, no place for the child to be brought up. And I then went into the kitchen.

And I don’t know what made me do this to this, to this day, I’m telling you, I don’t know what made me do this, but I looked on the cooker and there was like a pot of pasta or food had probably been there for weeks, not a couple of hours, it had been there for weeks, right? It was just disgusting. But something made me open a kitchen drawer to the left, to my left side.

When I opened the kitchen drawer, I saw heroin, okay? So I was like, right, okay, so I just shut the drawer again. I was like, okay, it’s quite apparent to me now what we’re dealing with. I don’t know what’s going to happen to this child, but what we’ll have is a child It’s now in serious trouble serious physical trouble and we’ve got a situation where he’s been in a house, there’s drug abuse, there’s squalor, there’s, there’s just everything that a child shouldn’t be subjected to.

So I went back into the hallway, and I kind of whispered to my partner, and I said, something along the lines of, There’s drugs in the drawer, there’s drugs in the kitchen. And the guy in the house, he shouted at me, I think, I can’t remember, I think it was the guy, he shouted at me, There’s no need to whisper, I can effing hear what you’re saying.

And I said something, and I’m maybe paraphrasing a little, but I said something. Like, if I were you, I wouldn’t be bothered about what I’m saying, I’d be a lot more bothered about the child that’s on route to the hospital. I said, we’re going to have to take this house, so you’re going to have to leave, get out the house.

So, cut a long story short, well, we they leave the house, we put a point on the door, a pointsman, a policeman on the door, and that’s now a crime scene, in effect. And I go up to the hospital and when I get to the hospital, we couldn’t have been in there very long when they said that the, the, the young child had died.

And I was like, oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man. Right. Okay. Right. This is like the worst thing you can deal with. Right. The very worst thing you can deal with. So,

God bear in mind, it’s a long time ago, but there’s some things that are so clear about this. So, what I had to do was, the police have to take possession of that body and lodge that body at the mortuary, okay? So in normal circumstances, an adult in a hospital, all that would happen is the, they would cover the body with a bed sheet and they would wheel the body around the mortuary.

Police would follow and then you do what you do at the mortuary, okay? But in this case, because it’s a young child, you can imagine that that would be pretty distressing, right, for people in the hospital. I assume and I’m assuming that this is what I don’t know what happens now, but this is what happened back then.

It’s a long time ago. So what I ended up doing was getting a nurse from the A& E room, the accident emergency department, and she sat in a wheelchair with the baby, the young child, as if just cradling it and it didn’t look any suspicious at all, right, and was wheeled to the mortuary and I followed. Anyway, when we got to the mortuary, when we got to the mortuary when we got to I have to lodge the body.

Now what you have to do is you might have seen it on tv search your body. Yeah. You would thereafter put a label, fill out a label and tie it to the toe of the deceased body. Okay? So you would do, and so at the mortuary, bear in mind that this child is probably being deceased for about no more than 20 minutes.

Right. Maybe a bit more, but a short period of time, we’ll get to the body. We’ll get to the mortuary. And I put the body on the slab in the mortuary table. And this little guy, all he had on was a pair of Chelsea, Chelsea football, you had a Chelsea football team?


They wear royal blue. They wear royal blue shirts, royal blue shorts and white socks, right?

He had on a pair of royal blue Chelsea football shorts. And they smell of stale urine, right? And when I was a little boy, and you used to go outside and play, and you’d climb trees, and go on your bike, and do whatever else you do when you’re a little kid, and you’d come in, and you’d have your tea, and you’d have your dinner, and your mum would give you a bath, right?

Maybe pre school age, round about school age. I can remember my mum used to saying to me, Oh, look at you. You’re covered head to toe in bruises. Now what she meant by that was that on my arms and my knees and my shins, anywhere where there’s going to be impact or contact with surfaces, I was covered in bruises from falling over and just doing kid stuff.

But when I say to you that this child was covered head to toe in bruises, I mean he was covered head to toe in bruises, cuts, marks, abrasions, all that had been caused by neglect. His abdomen was dark, dark charcoal grey to black, right? Now, I did what I had to do, and we did that. The little guy was still warm in the torso area, and we ended up dealing with that, and eventually.

The, the boyfriend went to prison, went to prison. However, that little guy, he had on these blue Chelsea shorts. Now, Bill Clinton, your former president, had a daughter called Chelsea, right? Mm hmm. It was Chelsea football team. Chelsea is a not common name here for a girl, but there is people called Chelsea.

Every single day. Time I hear on television or the radio the word Chelsea I think about that little guy. Well, I would Strongly argue that I think about that little guy more than what the mother does Or the stepfather, right? Jeff I don’t break down And start crying every time the football scores come up and says Chelsea 1 or Chelsea 2.

But every single time I think about that little guy when that word, I read that word or I listen to that word, Chelsea, I think about that little boy. Now that’s obviously trauma, right? Right. And I have a coping mechanism for it, and I do okay. And I’m happy that I think about that little guy, by the way, because that means somebody is thinking about that little guy.

So the courage, going back to the point, is that is probably the most significant event or one of, and there’s another couple, but it made me sort of, from then on, right up until I retired, I would think, right, human behavior, human behavior.

People hurt each other, people kill each other, people abuse each other, right? Why is it that they do it? Right, okay. Sometimes, that little guy was born into a society. The society failed him. Social services failed that little guy. The health services failed that little guy. Police maybe even failed that little guy.

I don’t know, I can’t remember. But there’s neighbors, friends, family, all failed that little guy. Right? So what I got to a point in my life was, What can I do? When I finish in the police to try and help, try and understand. So I now work with these kids, vulnerable kids, vulnerable children, young people, to try and make their life a tiny wee little bit better.

Now day after day after day after day when I go there, sometimes I don’t, right? Just because I don’t like it. But sometimes I do. And it’s good. You know? So if, say, for example, one of the kids says to me, Paul, can we go to a football match, a soccer match? Yeah, okay. You’ve been a good boy this week. Yeah, good lad.

Yeah, come on, let’s go and have some fun. And we’ll go there. And do you know what? For a period of time that we’re at the football match and he’s having fun, his life’s good, right? Yeah. So that’s what it’s about. And it’s the courage to do, to do these things. I think that by the very definition of courage, Courage.

It doesn’t have to be something that involves strength or fear, but it needs to be, you know, you have to be able to go out there and do these things, you know. I dealt with the rape of a 10 year old girl who had been Abused by her cousin, I think it was many, many, many years ago. And this little girl was bright as a button, Jeff, bright as a button when I spoke to her, right?

But from the age of 10 and the trauma that she experienced and suffered, her mind went downhill very quickly. And after that, her physical well being went downhill quickly. She got into things she shouldn’t have got into and all the rest of it and died a young woman. You know what I mean? As a result of drugs and, you know, anything you can do to prevent that or make one less victim in life, well, that’s, that’s kind of what I try to do.

And it, it takes patience. It takes Commitment, it takes strength and it takes pretty strong mental wellbeing at times, you know what I mean? So yeah.

Jeff Johnson: Paul, I’m, I mean, you told me that story, walking the grounds at Carnoustie and hearing it again, it’s having the same impact. I mean, I just, I can’t think of a better picture of courage, not only to deal with the situation that that’s at hand, but how beautifully put to, to be able to take that.

Incredibly difficult situation and turn it into something that’s very positive, which is exactly what you’re doing now. I mean, it’s a really, really, really powerful thing. So thank you for characterizing that for us. How many years ago was that with that young man?

Paul Riley: That would be, well, my son is 18. I think that’s about 15 years ago.

Wow. And from time to time, locally in our media a story comes up I remember, you know, the well being of, that whole thing, it created inquiries through the social work department. the health and all the rest of it. And we do have systems in place to try and prevent that, but you know as well as I do, you’re not going to prevent that.

There’ll be another one of them, and it happens from time to time. It’ll happen in the States, it’ll happen in the United Kingdom, it’ll happen in the richest countries in the world, it’ll happen in the poorest countries in the world, right? Because human behavior is very, very predictably erratic, right?

Why To me, to me, my girlfriend and I love her dearly. She doesn’t have children. She loves animals. She absolutely loves animals. Dogs, the dogs lying there snoring all the rest of it. But to me, children are the most innocent and the most precious things on the planet. Yet, we still have people that we’ll see fit to hurt them.

You know so all I’m trying to do is, like, combat that or do something positive around that, you know, and listen, Jeff, adults hurt each other, adults kill each other, I’ve dealt with this type of thing You know I once said to a guy a young man, a young man who had killed another guy and he’d killed him because the other guy who’s deceased now had basically ripped him off for drugs, ripped him off for drugs.

Now the killer had stolen money. From his grandmother who buy these drugs and they’re going to go in on the, on the buns together to try and get their drug deal empire off. But the, the, the guy didn’t hold his end of the deal down. So an argument ensued. Frustration got the better of him, and he killed him with, with a knife.

And he sat in front of me and I could. In those days, you, you know, you would speak, you could speak to suspects for hours and hours and hours. And, but this guy inherently was not a bad lad. He wasn’t a bad guy. He did a bad thing. And what, because he wasn’t a bad person, but done a bad thing in the end, what made him.

Ultimately, confess was when I said to him, I don’t think you’re a bad person. I said, I deal with bad people all the time. I said, but what I think is that you’re a good person that’s done a bad thing and they just burst out crying and a bit and then subsequently admit admitted to what he’d done and all the rest of it.

And it’s f*ed. Do you know? It’s, it’s, it’s f*ed. It’s not a game. It’s not a gig. It was absolute 100 percent fact that this guy had got himself into a position through dabbling, dabbling with drugs, and he’d ended up too deep, tried to get himself out of position to sort of manufacture a mini drugs empire, if you like, got himself got ripped off, the frustration borne out of it.

And he got. stuck between a rock and a hard place and ended up killing a guy. Thankfully that individual is now out and I hope he’s getting on with his life because prior to that He wasn’t a criminal. Do you know what I mean? So, you know, maybe courage, maybe he’s got courage to be able to deal with the rest of his life, whatever brings him and presents himself, because I don’t know what it’s like in the States, but we don’t have a wealth of opportunity for people wronged in this country.

To be able to get on with her life, you know what I mean? And mud sticks, all the rest of it, which is a shame, or I, I think it is you know, so I don’t know.

Jeff Johnson: Paul, one more question for you and then I’ll let you go. I promise. Thank you for spending so much time with us. But. It’s my contention that everybody has courage inside them and that everybody can answer that question.

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done? But by way of by way of encouraging our listeners in that regard, maybe I’ll pose this question to you. Do you think that courage is inherent? Do you think courage is something that can be learned? What do you think about that?

Paul Riley: It’s not inherent.

It’s not inherent. I don’t believe it’s inherent. I think it can be learned. You probably find, or I think that we’ve probably all got a lot more courage than we probably think we do. But it just needs something to find it and drag it out. That can be a negative experience. I guess it might be a positive experience as well.

But if you look at me, it was real negativity. Not, not. Not my own real negativity, but negativity that came my way and such like that’s brought it. But I think it’s in everybody or it can be in everybody, but you’ve got to go and find it. You have to go and find it.

Yeah. Yeah.

Thank you, Paul.

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