You don’t have to look far to see the pressures our law enforcement officers face on a daily basis. The citizens that they are charged to protect are facing new and, for many, unimaginable difficulties. Watching my fellow police officers go through this is extremely difficult. Every law enforcement officer risks his or her life every day to serve and protect every citizen. They run to danger, not away from it. They never know if they are walking into a situation that will cost them their life or wellbeing. The price they and their families pay is high, and most people take them for granted. Even during their off-duty hours, they are vigilant, watching to make sure everyone remains safe.
Police officer suicides have been rising exponentially over the last number of years due to the various stressors that come with being a law enforcement officer. Consider all the situations they deal with regularly: Who is the first one on the scene of a car accident or a fire or a medical emergency? Who is there to console a parent whose child has been killed and then changes gears to investigate the crime scene or to search for the offender (or offenders) if necessary? Who comes to moderate a neighbor dispute or domestic violence call? Officers jump into rivers and lakes to rescue the drowning. Who do people call when they have lost their pet or been the victim of a robbery? Who comes to search for a missing child or a disoriented elderly person? Who responds to help a family deal with the loss of a loved one? Who works to keep the peace or to maintain law and order?
Police officers and their support staff witness a side of society and life that no person should ever see. They are witnesses to a side of life rife with violence and pain, loss and grief (Matthew 5:9; Romans 13:1-6). And yet, they risk their lives daily to keep perfect strangers and their property safe out of a sworn oath of office and a deep love, honor, dedication and compassion for people (John 15:13).
We need to support our local law enforcement officers. As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, most police chaplains are not allowed to deploy and minister to their law enforcement community. A chaplain’s ministry of presence has been missed within these departments. Chaplains lend a kind and listening ear to help the emotional, spiritual and moral fiber of law enforcement personnel. Police officers need the full armor of God to do their job right (Ephesians 6:11-14). There is a saying in police work: “You have my back.” We can have law enforcement officers’ backs with our encouragement and prayers. There are so many ways to encourage and support the officers in your community.
Encourage your church members to verbally thank any officers that they see in the community. Give them a thumbs-up or a wave. Drop off commercial food at the police station. “Adopt a cop,” and let them know you are praying for their safety and security—even as they sacrificially provide the same for us. Write them a note of encouragement. Let our police officers see Christ in you so that He can guide their steps, guard their lives and give them peace that passes all understanding (Psalms 91:1-6; Matthew 5:9). All of them need our support, encouragement and prayer.
Published September 10, 2020