This week we spend a few minutes with Bennie Boles, the President of the Deer Park Rotary Club and a police officer in the La Porte Police Department. He has been instumental in DWI enforcement in the southeastern Harris County.
InsideDP.com: Where are you from originally?
Bennie Boles: I'm from Knoxville, Tennessee.
How did you end up in Deer Park?
I got here through my wife. I had joined the military and came through Texas in 1986. I was stationed at Fort Hood. I started going to church up there and they needed a bus driver so we could go to summer camp in Columbus. I was the only one with a CDL and drove this old 1940s church bus to camp. I met Christina at camp. We started corresponding and a year later to the day we got married. I got out of the service. She grew up in Pasadena and through Church of the Living Water, we moved to Deer Park. I was there as youth pastor.
Tell us about your family.
I have four kids with a wonderful wife that I've been married to for 21 years. She works for the Deer Park Chamber as the membership coordinator. My oldest son is in the Air Force and I'm incredibly proud of him. He's about to be deployed and he's excited for that opportunity. Jessica is my next daughter. She is incredibly gifted and talented with music. She has been involved with a documentary called "Chronicles of a Teen Killer" where she wrote the music score. It's about teens and drinking and driving. She has been given some awesome opportunities. She will be playing her song for BACODA's healing fields in November. Then we have Jeremiah who is in junior high. He's going to be a percussionist like his older brother. I guess my kids' musical skills come from their mother. They don't come from me. He's a sharp kid and very intelligent. Last is Joy, and being the baby in the group, she runs the house. She's also very smart and very articulate. She's a fourth grader and will be the assistant principal at her school sometime next year, the way she runs things.
How did you get in the ministry?
I have a lot of people ask me that, myself included. I don't think I was ever a bad person. I've always been mischievous, but that's all of us. I found myself at a full gospel church one day and rededicated my life to the lord through what I believe are supernatural interventions God poured on me. I realized preaching the Word and helping people is what I wanted to do. I pursued it. I joined my wife's church and spent nearly 20 years there as youth pastor, associate pastor and then senior pastor. It was just one of those things. I woke up one morning and felt God was calling me and then it was all on-the-job training. It was a lot of falling down and getting back up. I just minister what puts on my heart and am open, honest and real.
How did you get into law enforcement?
Being a police officer is something I've wanted to do my whole life. I put being an officer off to go into the ministry. I applied for police jobs as soon as I got out of the military. Houston Police called me the same day I was called for ministry. In a split second, I had to decide whether I was going to do law enforcement or ministry. At that time, I chose ministry. Six years later, God began to put in my heart and opening a door to go to law enforcement. I was a chaplain in the La Porte Police Department and an officer asked if I had thought about going into law enforcement. I told him I had and he encouraged me to apply and I got hired.
What is the transition like between the two jobs?
It's not as different as some would think. Police officers are problem solvers and ministers are problem solvers. It works out pretty well. They honestly go hand in hand. People call you when they're in trouble. People are in need and you bring resources and solutions. They aren't always the solutions people are looking for, but you're trying to resolve the situation. It's the same in ministry. People have a crisis and they need someone to help solve the issues.
What got you so involved with DWI enforcement?
It evolved is the best way I can put it. I saw a lot of DWI defenders. To file DWI is a lot of work. It's one of the few offenses that it is the opinion of the officer as to the state of the case. In a possession case, some one has possession. That's clear-cut. This is something where the officer establishes an opinion as to a person's impairment. DWIs need to be prosecuted and became determined to do it. I had to get good at it and you don't start out an expert. I'm by no means an expert, but I desire to get there. I started looking for them. A couple of years ago, there were two young ladies who were killed in a DWI-related accident. They were close to my family and I knew them from when they were three-years-old. This is 100 percent avoidable. People choose to drink and drive. Their victims don't get that choice. When I put someone who has been drinking and driving in the back of my car, I know that person is going to wake up in the morning. I know that person is not going to kill someone or seriously injure someone on the way home. As a side note to more DWI arrests, you will have fewer incidents of failure to stop and give information in hit and runs that typically occur at 3 in the morning when drunks sideswipe vehicles. Also, there are less family violence arrests when you arrest DWI offenders. As a police officer, when we go on calls, we hear "He or she came home drunk and…." When you intercept a drunk driver, they are on their way home, there are some side benefits in that it can prevent other very serious crimes and minor crisis. The more I got involved, the more I became aware of the statistics and started working with MADD and BACODA and no refusal operations. I've filed 50 DWI cases this year and more than 100 in the last year-and-a-half in the city of La Porte. It saves lives.
How did you get involved with Rotary?
I got involved with Rotary while I was pastoring. I wanted to get involved in the community and started out with the church joining the Chamber of Commerce. I went through the leadership seminar with the Chamber. I enjoyed that a lot. We had a church member that was a Rotarian and invited me to come to Rotary. I fell in love immediately. I knew it was something that I wanted to do. It was a lot of learning and the nature of the organization, what we do and how we do it. The people we have are here unbelievable.
How did you get involved with the leadership of the organization?
I got roped in. I started getting involved and someone saw something in me and asked if I would fill in as a director. Later on, I was asked if I would be vice president, and I accepted. What I didn't know at the time was that being vice-president made you president-elect and then president. I felt like it was an opportunity to be a leader of the most awesome club. We are very unique and have a great unique group of people. I don't want Rotary to be Deer Park's best-kept secret anymore.
What are some of your goals for the Rotary Club this year?
We want to grow our membership by focusing on fellowship among the Rotarians. People are so busy today, so we want to make opportunities, formal and informal, to get together with one another and have some fun, do some projects and such. Our biggest project is our bike tour. This will be our third year. It will be bigger and better than ever. We are soliciting sponsors and getting things together. This fundraiser takes more people than finances. We need bodies. We have been blessed to be a recommended ride of the BP MS 150, which we got in our second year, which is very unusual. It has brought our club together and put us out in the community. I want this to be a good fundraiser for us. We don't keep any of the money. It all goes back out into the community. We also want to get more involved with our District here in Houston. The final thing is getting more involved with our Interact Club at Deer Park High School. The saying is true, "Out of sight, out of mind." We are going to get behind them 110 percent. I want to see projects, be at each others meetings and get them to see Rotary as a whole. They are our Rotarians of the future.
What do you like best about what you do?
I like being involved. I've never been one to sit around. I like standing up for the underdog and run to the aid for folks. I like knowing that my involvement is making a difference. I don't want to live my life knowing that I didn't make a difference somewhere.