Each year, there are 58,000 assaults on police officers, with 16,000 officers being hospitalized. Law Enforcement is one of the highest ranking careers in divorce and suicide rates.
The Life of Law Enforcement
It must be remembered by all, law enforcement officers are people too. Sure, they are perceived to be governmental robots by those who come into contact with them in their enforcement duties. Just as everyone, their jobs REQUIRE them to perform the functions that the profession entails, but also are SWORN under oath to do so. The men and women behind the shields are just as anyone else; striving to sustain marriages, raise children, own homes, along with fulfill personal desires and future goals.
They also have the same life troubles; divorce, budget problems, health issues, death, school, etc. that you do. Now, throw in the rigors of working night shifts, weekends, holidays or when a disaster or emergency arises. This not only takes an emotional and physical toll on the officer, it directly affects his/her spouse and children. This added family stress, combined with the daily scenes officers are introduced to (death, blood, gore, violence, children injured and killed, victims, etc.), can lead an officer to become emotionally drained, exhausted, unhealthy, fed up, etc. However, he/she faces possibly an even bigger demon to overcome, internal departmental pressure. Everything the officer does, or does not do, is “Monday morning quarterbacked” by the citizens, media, administration and legal counsel. Cameras are everywhere, administrators want answers, lawyers are licking their lips, the media wants to sell the news and some citizens appear to love to see a law enforcement officer suffer.
The officers are bombarded mentally and physically on a daily basis as they encounter high levels of stress and danger. Each day they risk their lives to serve and protect us. Very few know the life of an officer, and what they go through and how they feel. Law Enforcement officers tend to only “release” to their fellow officers. Turning to someone outside the “circle of trust” is not prevalent nor is it encouraged. Sometimes, even the spouse just cannot understand, as the officer tends to keep work at work (to make life “normal” as possible at home).
Although these men and women often maintain a strong emotional front, behind their badges and tough veneers are spiritually hungry men and women who need to connect with God and place Christ at the center of their lives. The role of Christ in the life of an officer is crucial to overcoming and flourishing in the day-to-day activities of a law enforcement officer.
This is where the professional Police Chaplains can, and do, assist the officer who may be ready to burst………………
Chaplains counsel officers over cups of coffee during the night shift or riding in the confidentiality of their patrol car. In other words, law enforcement officers will turn to a friend they know and trust or a Chaplain whom they have learned to trust.
Through dedicated service, unconditional love, trusted Chaplains have earned the right to intervene in an officer’s life during difficult times. Chaplains are proficient when it comes to knowing when to listen and when to talk. They are able to enter into the officers thoughts because they have spent countless hours with them and built countless hours with them.
On some days chaplains perform everyday functions by calming unruly prisoners, monitoring offenders on probation or speaking at public events. On other days, a chaplain will serve a death notice to a victim’s family OR sometimes the family is that of a fallen officer. No matter what their duty is on a given day, a chaplain becomes a dependable presence of God ready to serve and assist. Through sacrificial service, a chaplain will free law enforcement officers to do what they do best: protect and serve.
Remember to pray for those who protect.