No doubt. No doubt any day. Or conversation. Let me put it this way. Try to find anyone…anyone you tap on the shoulder and ask them, “Tell me about your experience with police.”
I would imagine the negatives would flow. Personal experiences, what’s happened to friends.
Well, truth transparent. Name any profession and the negatives would flow. I know more about ministry…and could perhaps write a book when ministers impersonate Elmer Gantry, when ministers believe they are direct Machiavelli descendants, when ministers preach sermons written by other ministers and never give credit, when ministers…
Think you get the point.
Back to police officers. As many of you know, for six years in the 80’s [that’s not the 1880’s for you cynics] I, along with 30 other clergy of every religious cloth, was a Volunteer Police Chaplain with the Colorado Springs Police Department. An amazing six years.
As chaplains we rode with an officer one night a month. Another part of the ministry was to take the 24-hour scanner for 2 weeks, when it was 24/7 on duty. The dispatcher knew which officer we rode with, so when the “heavy” stuff happened…we were included on the call. That meant death notifications, suicides, homicides and domestics. [They were the worst, not that seeing 3 bodies at 3 in the morning on a tavern’s floor was a walk in the park. That an horrible scene with two murders and one suicide—the son shot his father and his father’s girlfriend and then took his own life. They had no church so it was the request for 3 funerals.]
But. I “have been there with police.” One of my closest buddies is Chief of a near-by Police Department. One of my cousins was on the staff of an Oregon Prison [yes, on the staff not in a cell.] Police officers and state patrol officers have helped me detail each of my novels, to make sure where the body goes and how the DNA is processed…and by whom.
As volunteer police chaplain I remember the twist in my gut when we would stop a car for speeding. What would happen. After doing the research the officer would get out. I was asked to stay in the car. I never argued. Except the one time, actually my first ride, Sue the officer [we had just met when I fastened my seat belt] was called to a robbery just happening. Once arrived at the back alley of the strip mall, Sue jumped out of the car, puller her revolver. I was frozen to my seat. She reopened her door, “Reverend, come on, we’re in this together.” “But, Sue…not fair. You have on a bullet-proof vest.” She was quick in response, with a smile, ‘Ah, but don’t you have a bullet-proof faith?”
That makes for an interesting sermon launch. But. Not now. [Oh, I stayed in the car but the ensuing conversation—there was only an open door to the cleaners—no robbery—was about faith and its purpose.]
Back to my point. I can remember my twisted gut when the “police partner for that evening” went to the driver who was stopped for speeding or erratic driving. I can remember bouncing and darting over a country side chasing a fleeing car. Yes, I can remember. I can remember a death notification at 4 in the morning…it was the wrong house! [Yep, perfection always a goal, never a full reality.]
But. At the deepest level I know—it’s not musing or speculating or guessing—I KNOW the challenges for police. And. Whenever I have a chance. I affirm police for their help.
Sure. There are bad cops. And. It’s not an act in an investigation or their overall functioning. But, cops are human, no less than we. This story linked below triggered all that. How goodness comes…when “a child shall lead them.”