Unless you don’t follow company policy.
On June 29th, Dean Crouch, assistant manager at Academy Sports in Tallahassee, Florida, had gone to work just like any other day and was doing his job when he heard an employee yell, “Stop that man!” Dean turned and saw the man, with a firearm in his hand, running from the gun bar to the exit at the front of the store.
Dean ran after the man and tackled him to the ground. They secured the firearm and took the man back inside the store until police arrived. “Arrest paperwork filed with the Leon County Clerk says Jason White asked to see a Glock from inside a glass case and, once the employee handed it to him, began running. The paperwork indicates Crouch ‘ran after him, making contact (tackling him) just past the first doors.’ The gun flew out of White’s hand and was recovered along with a backpack that contained other stolen merchandise, including two magazines and ammunition.” 1
According to the police report, the suspect was alleged to have said he was going to “shoot someone and that they would see him on the evening news. Just you wait and see.” 2
All Dean Crouch was trying to do that day was do what was right.
In the days following the incident, Dean Crouch was suspended indefinitely, then terminated causing a national outcry. He and his wife put their house up for sale and contacted an attorney. Apparently, company policy for Academy Sports wasn’t followed. Their spokesperson, Elise Hasbrook, said, “We have policies in place to protect our team members and customers during a robbery. While this incident ended without injuries, actions inconsistent with our corporate policies were taken.” 3
USA TODAY said, “Crouch’s firing drew national attention with many criticizing Academy’s actions while lauding the 32-year-old as a hero for doing the right thing. Expressions of support and job offers have been flowing in from around the country.” 4
JESUS said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Dean Crouch was willing to do that for total strangers and got fired for it.
All Dean Crouch was trying to do that day was do what was right. Since then, his attorney said all Dean wanted to do was get his old job back.
If Mr. Crouch had followed company policy and let the suspect run out of the store with a stolen firearm and several boxes of ammunition, the story most certainly would have had a different ending. But Dean put his life on the line and without question probably saved the lives of many others.
Here’s the good news: Academy Sports apparently reevaluated their policy, definitely the actions of Mr. Crouch and, according to his attorney, offered him his job back, which Dean accepted.
I want to be clear. Companies, corporations, cities, churches, communities, businesses, governments, etc., have the right and responsibility to have policies, procedures, rules and regulations. However, when someone steps in to do what’s right when something wrong is going down we need to be careful our response is right.
Was it pressure from the media, fellow employees, customers or total strangers that helped Dean Crouch get his job back? Maybe it was because the powers that be at Academy Sports realized …
… It’s never wrong to do what’s right.
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
1 CBS News. “Sporting Goods Store Chain Fires Manager NRA Calls ‘Hero.’” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 12 July 2018, www.cbsnews.com/news/sporting-goods-store-chain-academy-sports-fires-manager-nra-calls-hero-dean-crouch-jason-white-tallahassee/.
4 Etters, Karl. “Academy Sports Rehires Manager It Fired for Thwarting Suspected Gun Thief.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 13 July 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/07/13/academy-sports-manager-rehired-after-backlash/783864002/.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.