As a police officer in S. California in the late 70’s and 80’s, I worked those busy streets and lived my on and off-duty life by a very simple code that may be familiar to you: There are only three kinds of people in the whole world– cops, friends of cops, and @$$&@!#$, right?
The cops: when it hits the fan you trust them with your life whether you have ever met them before or not. The friends of cops: you politely tolerate them until they can earn your respect. Everyone else:you smile at and be professional in your demeanor, but in your mind you have a plan ready to take them out before they can take you out!
We all remember the basic training we learned in the academy. We crammed for the tests then purged ourselves of all the junk when he hit the streets and got our first taste of “reality.” But the smart cops kept other things, like vehicle stop and approach techniques, felony takedowns, and proper methods of cuffing, searching, and securing a suspect. We learned to develop and to trust our gut feelings in certain situations.
That basic training kept me alive on the street as I wrestled drunks in the fast lane of the freeway at night with approaching traffic; as I handled the “routine” stuff like domestics, impaired drivers, high-speed chases, gang arrests, a riot or two, drug dealers, armed robberies, burglaries in progress, standoffs with shots fired, and all the rest.
I know you are familiar with most of these dangers. But do you realize that the greatest danger you face as a law enforcement officer is not from being shot by some guy on the street? We all took the oath of office and pinned on the badge with the very real possibility in our minds that we could get “that call” someday and be called to give our very lives in the performance of our duties. In fact, an officer is killed in the line of duty in America approximately every 59 hours. But one officer takes his own life every 17 hours. Are you surprised?
Maybe the thought of suicide has never entered your mind. But besides having the highest rate of suicide, law officers also have the highest rates of divorce, addictive behavior, and stress-related diseases than any other group of professionals in our country. And you and I both know why.
The front we put on every day to survive this job takes its toll on us as human beings. Having to keep an emotionless exterior as we deliver a death notification, pull dead kids out of a wrecked car, or watch a distraught teen take his life right before our eyes is a tough thing.
Even our society is often biased against the law officer. Have you ever wondered why the news always reports that suspects are shot to death by police, while the cops are always fatally wounded by the suspects? It seems like even the laws we uphold are stacked against the officer and the performance of his duty.
So how do you cope? How do you keep from swallowing your gun when you can’t hold it together because nobody understands what is chewing at your insides; when you can’t sleep without booze or pills and you’ve started to believe the very mask you put on to fool the public into believing that you’re all together; when you can’t relate to your family, spouse, or kids anymore; they just don’t understand what you can’t ever hope to explain; when you find yourself spending more and more of your days off hanging around with other cops, drinking, carousing, or crying on each others’ shoulders, and building up that wall higher and higher?
Is your own personal life played out before your eyes at some of the domestics you handle? How are you able to remain impartial and professional in those situations?
The pressures of the job are always there, even off-duty. A split-second decision on the street could cost you a career or even your life. I have known a few good cops who have pulled the pin following justified shootings because deep down they just couldn’t deal with the realization that they had taken a life. Some can do it with no problem; but 95% of us will be out of law enforcement within 5 years of a deadly force incident if proper itervention is not made.
What hope does your family have in the event that you are killed in the line of duty? How can you survive a career in law enforcement with this kind of stress? There is an answer!
When you took the oath of office, you probably ended it with the words “so help me God.” The fact is that you can not do your job without God’s help!
In the Bible, the book of Romans speaks of the law enforcement officer in Chapter 13:
“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth the sword not in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” – Romans 13:4
That verse speaks of civil government and its agent of street enforcement: the law offier who deals with crime and confusion every day. Do you realize that your authority to use deadly force (under appropriate conditions) originates from the very Word of God? You have a calling and a vocation that is ordained by God Himself. That is why you need His help to do the job right and to survive! …so help you God!
Your survival as a law officer depends upon the basic training you received, but the basics of spiritual truth are even more important and of a greater effect.
1. All of us are guilty sinners before God. Our badge won’t clear us in God’s courtroom in the day of judgment. He looks at our heart and sees our sinful condition.
“All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23Â
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” – 1 John 1:8
2. We are in need of a Saviour
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
“Except a man be born again, he can not see the Kingdom of God.” – John 3:3
“All our righteousness are as filthy rags…” – Isaiah 64:6
3. Jesus Christ is the Saviour!
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.” – Titus 3:5
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” -Romans 5:1
4. You must trust Him alone!
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:24
The benefits of being born again are immediate and eternal. You are forgiven of all your sin and you enter into fellowship with God and receive His blessings and protection, His love and mercy, His peace in your heart, and His strength to survive your professional calling.
How about it? Would you humble yourself right now, bow your head, and ask Him for His forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ?
“These things have I written unto you that believe in the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe in the name of the Son of God.” – John 5:13
If you have made a decision to trust Christ, I would enjoy hearing from you and having the privilege of helping you to grow in your new walk with the Lord. Give me an email or a phone call!