My commitment to you.

To all my Public Safety friends: You know I’d do anything for you that I can and that I’ll have your back as much and as often as I can. But I have something I need to say.
 
I know that we blame the administration, or the media, or CopBlock, or lack of volunteers in the department or community for where we are as a Nation (and I’ll not disagree with any of those), but to quote Dr Phil “Sometimes you have to show folks how you want to be treated.”
 
All it takes is one of us being on the news to make it harder on the rest of us. All eyes are on us and the media and our detractors are looking for reasons to pick us apart.
 
I’ve been public about some of my shortcomings and the demons I fight. And I know that some of you are fighting battles far more complex than mine, and I respect that. I respect you not wanting to put your struggles in the public eye.
 
We have had arrests of some of our own for issues like drug use, DUI, anger and other things on the news (not to mention what we may struggle with behind closed doors).
 
I want to make you a commitment: If you are struggling, and you don’t know where to go, or you have tried something and it is not working, I will help you find help. There are chaplains across the Miami Valley who would agree to help too. I’ve offered to start a Celebrate Recovery session restricted to only Police/Fire/EMS and would still do that if there was enough interest. I’ve offered to come out for ride alongs or address a shift or department, or have a yearly seminar on relationships, stress or suicide (or all the above). I’d do anything I can for you.
I made a commitment that I wanted to make the Miami Valley the best place to be in Public Safety…the best place to be a cop, firefighter, or EMS.  But when you suffer in silence, behind closed doors, you are tying our hands. But now, I’m asking  you: “Help me to help you.”
For a time in my life, I suffered alone. I know what it’s like. You don’t have to do that any more.

Are police safer in 2015?

For those of you who read the Huffington Post article “FBI Confirms 2015 Was One Of The Safest Years Ever For Cops” , they are saying that based on the number of line of duty deaths released by the FBI that “2015 was one of the safest years for U.S. law enforcement in recorded history, following a sustained trend of low numbers of on-duty deaths in recent decades.”

The article stated that the stats “indicate that 41 police officers were intentionally killed in the U.S. while in the line of duty in 2015….but this number marks a decrease of nearly 20 percent compared to the 51 law enforcement officers killed in 2014”

If you look at those facts alone, then it does seem safer. But, let’s look at this further. In 2016 there have been 32 officer deaths attributed to gunfire, and 88% increase, and a lot of those were ambush-style attacks. The percent of felony assault (assaults, bomb, gunfire and vehicular assault) to officer line of duty deaths in 2014 was 41.3% of total officer deaths, 43.1% of total deaths in 2015 and 62.4% of officer deaths so far in 2016. So the numbers show that while police are working hard to reduce deaths they can (heart disease, car accident, gun accidents), the method used by the Huffington Post does not tell the entire story (shocker). Policing is becoming more physically dangerous. Add the fact that since a lot of the deaths have been ambush-style, there is an escalated sense of not knowing who and where danger or the next shot is coming from.

Additionally, officers continue to feel less safe due to numerous factors.

  1. Media coverage. Media is quick to report and make their judgments on an officer shooting. Reporting the facts is one thing, but reporting conclusions and “what seems to be” is another thing entirely.  After the media constantly made judgments in the Darren Wilson case, multiple investigations shows that the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” narrative was completely false.
  2. Fear of losing their livelihood if they need protect themselves like Officer Darren Wilson.
  3. Death threats via social media and the chants “pigs in a blanket fry em like bacon” or the rhetoric by Black Panthers and Louis Farrakhan would have both proclaimed death to officers.
  4. Character assassination and constant commentary by people who have no idea about law enforcement.
  5. Constant attacks from political elites. Comments like Hillary Clinton’s “police violence that terrorizes communities” and President Obama’s comments on the anything but peaceful Ferguson riots “There’s no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

So no Huffington Post, the American officer is NOT safer.

#SupportPolice #BlueLivesMatter #WarOnCops #WeSeeYou #Lesm #Baltimore #Ferguson #HuffingtonHasNoClue

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Fourth of July 2016

First let me apologize for the lateness of this message. As always, I want to say a big thank you to all who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank each of you reading this. I hope you will find some encouragement or inspiration. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading.

One of our founding fathers, John Adams, stated that “People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity.” That statement has remained true for us as a nation since our founding. Throughout our history, our nation has been involved in wars at home and wars overseas. As a nation we have redefined who we are and where we are headed. As a nation, we came from pilgrims, refugees, slaves and people fleeing oppression and we banded together to defeat one of the mightiest world powers of the time. We are a nation of overcoming adversity. We are a nation of people who can lay aside their own problems and come together.

Today our nation is facing challenges that our forefathers never imagined. We have major issues facing us like shootings, drug epidemic, and as a nation we are divided along so many fronts. But as the saying goes “It’s always darkest before the dawn”, and I believe that can be true for the United States today. So how can WE make a difference? How do WE turn the tide?
1) This one seems simple, we just do good things. Author Jeremy Palman wrote “Morality is not hard to know, it is hard to do.” As we, as individuals, go about trying to make OUR world better, it helps make THE world a better place.

2) Live like you are always being watched, because you are. In today’s society, those of us in public safety are being watched more and more closely. So to quote Bonnie Raitt “Let’s give them something to talk about.” Let’s go out and give a little extra when we can. Give the kid a sticker, a sucker, or a stuffed animal from your vehicle. Tell the attendant at the gas station the joke of the day. Make it your goal to make five people smile or laugh each day.

3) Do something unexpected. Surprise someone for paying for their lunch. Bring in fruit to roll call. One of the departments I helped with recently sent me a small gift in the mail. It cost them a few dollars, but it made my day.

Someone might say “Why should I try harder? I mean, I’m doing my job. Isn’t that enough?” To quote one of my favorite writers “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” I know that those may not be big things, or things that will make the evening news. But you just might change someone’s mind about those “public safety people”. Little things can mean more than you think. As Margret Mead put it “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Sometimes, even the best of us lose that perspective. We all need a “shot in the arm” from time to time (or maybe a “kick in the pants” if you’re anything like me). So if you find yourself struggling, ask someone you trust, ask a Chaplain, ask that trusted co-worker, or you can ask me, my contact information is below.

So Happy Independence Day, America! Let’s go out and live it!

In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

 

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424

Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael

Thoughts on the Dr Phil interview with the mother of Michael Brown

I used to like Dr Phil. I mean, catchy southern expressions, and a “say it like it is”  discussion, what’s not to like? But after the recent interview with the Mother of Michael Brown, I’m not sure I can support him any longer. Brother Kenneth Hagin used to say “Be as smart as an old cow, eat the hay and spit out the sticks”, so I can tolerate some things from people that I disagree with.But his seeming anti-police (and in this case anti-Darren Wilson) thoughts can not be tolerated.

Look, are we still sticking by the “he was a good kid” story? Haven’t we seen the videos of not only the store robbery moments before, but other videos that testify that his character wasn’t quite as wholesome as some would have us believe?  Come on, both investigations cleared Wilson. The actual facts, scientific evidence, lines up with his story, not the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie that was told time after time. it’s been said “If you tell a lie long enough people start to believe it”, and the “Hands up” is just that kind of lie.  so I am asked to make a choice between an officer with a good record whose story is backed by facts, or the story told by a criminal about a FELON (which is what Brown became after his assaults) which has no basis in fact. I think I know which story I would choose.

Then he asks”Has anyone apologized?” I seem to recall Darren Wilson saying he was sorry it happened in his interview. But even if that is not the case, why should I expect a man to say “I’m sorry that I chose to defend my own life against a much larger man that was attacking me?”

The apologies need to come FROM the Brown family and those who surrounded them that kept the lies going. To Darren Wilson for having to defend his life from a criminal attack.To the city of Ferguson of which they said “Burn this @#$%@ down” and to the shop owners in Ferguson who lost their livelihood because the crowd was incited by the lie that Brown was just a good kid and Wilson was the monster. And an apology to every cop who has hesitated in the moment when they have to choose to defend themselves from a criminal attack because they are afraid of being the next Darren Wilson. And to every one of us who were called racists, bigots, or backwater hillbillies who dared to show their support for Darren Wilson.

Sorry Dr Phil, this one was over the top.

Captain America : Civil War

I saw Captain America: Civil War tonight with my family. I absolutely hated it, but not for the reasons you may think. It had lots of action. The acting was good, as were the effects. There were good lines and funny scenes. It held my attention for the length of the movie.

(Spoiler warning)What I hated is this (and maybe I’m just too analytical): Here is a bunch of “super heroes” who can figure out each other’s weaknesses and fight each other, but they can not see that the true enemy is not each other but DIVISION. Then near the end of the movie ONE of them figures it out AND KEEPS IT TO HIMSELF. I wanted to scream in the theater. Seriously.

But the more I think about it, the more I think that it sometimes resembles our workplaces and our families. We are close to each other and know what makes them tick. We know what gets to them and where the buttons are. Yet, we fail to come together and fight for each other and instead we fight each other. Sometimes the reality is this: It’s easier to “grab someone’s throat” then it is to “have their back”.

And we do it on hundreds of ways. Someone comes after your wife and you’ll fight to the death. She has a bad day and instead of being there you want to fight back. Drop a 99 and everyone comes running ( as they should) , but it something happens on the jurisdiction lines…well you know how that works.

Sometimes we are so busy that we fail to see where the real battles of our life are, and how insignificant the ones we choose to fight are. John Maxwell says “Teamwork makes the dream work”, but sometimes just fail each other.

So I guess the reason I hated the movie is because I have lived it, and maybe in some sense still do. But that’s what all good parables, stories, and lessons do. Show us what makes us mad, then holds up a mirror to our lives. It changes a “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” to an ” Ouch, that hurts. ”

So what “team” are you failing, what “team” can you do more for? What areas do you need to grow? I know what my answers are. What about you?

Police Week 2016 Prayer Points

Police Week 2016 Prayer Points

Each year I post some prayer thoughts for Police Week. Most of this is taken from a note I did in 2012, but added some modifications each year. For all my law enforcement friends, spouses, and Chaplains: If you think of anything to add, let me know!

I’m asking all my friends to pray for our Police Officers this week more than any other. Even now as the anti-police movement continues to stir hatred of our officers, it is up to us to keep them in our prayers. May 15-21 this year is Police Week. It was designated by President Kennedy in “recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”. I’ve listed some “prayer targets” for each day. This is a work in progress, so as I find things or as other officers give me suggestions, I’ll update the list. Also, you will see some action “ideas”. The book of James tells us that “faith without works is dead.” So do something. Get involved. Be kind. Make a difference.

Note: National Peace Officers Memorial Day falls on Sunday, May 15 in 2016. Because National Police Week takes place during the calendar week on which May 15 falls, this year’s official National Police Week dates are Sunday, May 15, 2016 through Saturday, May 21, 2016. However, several annual events will take place before May 15.

Romans 13:1-4 tells us “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”

Friday 13th-Sunday 15th – Safe trips to DC, local memorials

Monday 16th – Community support for officers
-Prayer targets:
— Officers would be honored in the communities they serve.
— Officers would not be hated for doing their job-upholding the law and correcting law-breakers.
-Ideas:
— Officers love simple tokens of appreciation. By their lunch when one is in the drive-thru behind you.
— When you see businesses giving officer discounts, let the manager/owner know that you appreciate that.
— Get involved. Call/visit your local police department (during business hours) and ask them what you can do to help.
— Post blue lights in your windows to show your respect for officers.
— Join/start a neighborhood watch.
— Greet them when you see them in public.

Tuesday 17th – Officer Safety
-Prayer targets:
— That no department would have to choose something else over officer safety due to small budgets.
— Officers would have wisdom and safety in all situations.
— Pray Isaiah 54:17 -No weapon formed against them shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against them in judgment will be condemned.
-Ideas:
— Have your house number in a location where it can be seen in the event they need to respond to you.
— Only use 911 in cases of emergency.
— If you are stopped pull over as far to the right as possible so that, when the officer comes up to your widow, he or she won’t have to worry about being clipped by vehicles in the right lane.
— Do NOT get out of your car unless the officer asks you to do so.
— If a police car is coming behind you with its siren blaring or emergency lights flashing, pull over to the right safely and quickly.

Wednesday 18th – Officer families
Note: Officers have a higher rate of divorce than the general public.
-Prayer targets:
— That the families might know peace when their loved ones are on duty.
— That the families have understanding when the officer they love is under stress.
— That officers would be able to separate work and home, and that their families can support them in times of stress, and know that their stress is not directed to them.
-Ideas:
— If you are fortunate enough to know a police officer, offer to babysit while they go out with their wives.
— If you know an officer and you can see he is having a rough time, just be available. They don’t have to tell you what’s going on, but they may need someone to talk to.
— If an officer tells you something in confidence, KEEP IT IN CONFIDENCE. Don’t tell the neighborhood that an officer is struggling in their marriage.
— Be good neighbors and human beings. How do you want people to treat YOUR family?

Thursday 19th – Officer Seclusion, isolation
-Prayer targets:
— That an officer will never feel isolated from his peers or superiors.
— That an officer will never feel like they are facing their struggles alone.
— Pray that God would send good and trustworthy friends into their lives.
-Ideas:
— If you are fortunate enough to know a police officer, invite their family to your house for a cookout.
— When you see an officer, discretely and kindly ask if they would like you to pray for anything. And don’t be offended if you hear “No.”

Friday 20th – Mental stress, anxiety, suicides
Note: Most officers will shy away from talking about this. Officers are taught control from day one. If they are not in control, someone could die. When officers lose the ability to control their circumstances, self-doubt may set in. Officer suicides are two times higher than the general public.
-Prayer targets:
— That an officer will not struggle with self-doubt.
— That an officer will never feel like they are facing their struggles alone.
— Pray that departments would give good stress detection and suicide prevention programs.
— Pray that officers would always see a way through the pain and struggles they face.
— Ability to relax off-duty – Officers are human beings and need to rest.
-Ideas:
— If you are fortunate enough to know a police officer, invite their family to your house for a cookout.
— If an officer tells you something in confidence, KEEP IT IN CONFIDENCE. Don’t tell the neighborhood that an officer is struggling in his marriage.
— When you see an officer, discretely and kindly ask if they would like you to pray for anything. And don’t be offended if you hear “No.”

Saturday 21st- Departments and families of 2015 Line of Duty deaths
Note: There were 128 deaths in the “Line of Duty” in 2015 with am additional 27 K9 officers. Over 100 departments across the United States will honor names added to “the wall” in DC.
-Prayer targets:
— That officers and families would experience healing from the pain of their loss.
— That departments would develop programs for support before they are needed.
— Pray that officers would not experience “survivor’s guilt” .
-Ideas:
— Contact your local police department/Sheriff’s office to see if they have any memorial events. Attend them.
— If your local dept has memorial gardens, plaques, or stones, visit them. They died protecting you and your family.

Distribution: Please distribute to all law enforcement personnel – Police Week 2016

As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. While I can’t visit with each of you individually, I can, however, remind and show you that people DO care. This message is being read by departments of all shapes, sizes and locations. To each of you, welcome. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading and I hope it will be beneficial to you.

May 11-17, 2016 marks the period that we call “Police Week”.  In 1962, President Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day, when we set aside a time of “recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”. I, like a lot of you, will attend memorials or private ceremonies. Some of you may just gather together to reminisce about our fallen comrades. Most of us will do something so we remember them and never forget what they have done for us.

As Cicero wrote, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” During this time, I think it is fitting to ask ourselves “What am I doing to bring honor to their memory?” The way I look at it, I’m the product of many people back in my family tree.  I could be dramatically different, or maybe not even be here today if one of those couples had not met. I might not think the same; feel the same, like the same things. So I feel that I owe it to them, to my family, both here and no longer living, to be the best version of me that I can. The harsh reality of that, however, is that some days I live up to that, and some days I don’t.

So how does that affect us in our career? How do we bring honor to those who have come before us in our career? Here are a couple of thoughts that I think may help us do that.

1) Live life to the fullest.  This means different things to different people. Donate time to a church or charity. Volunteer in the neighborhood or homeless shelter. Play basketball with the neighborhood kids. Attend a 12 step program or finally kick that habit that has been a thorn in your side.  Maybe start a group workout.  Help someone with a hobby you have in common.

2) Never stop growing. Life is an unending series of changes. Make some on your terms. Never stop training. Never stop learning. Read a book, take some training time, learn another language, skill or talent.

3) Tell the stories for those that came before us. Those that are just starting their careers need to hear the stories of those that came before us. Why do we do things a certain way? There is probably a good reason, find it and tell the story. That guy who told great jokes when someone was having a tough day, tell his story. Share the stories of those officers that your department has on a memorial wall. Set aside a day in the memory of an officer to do special events in your community, or to the less fortunate.

4) Learn from costly lessons. Some of the changes in the way we do things are learned by sacrifices of those before us, like seat belts, vests, back up weapons, traffic stop safety etc. Learn their stories, share them, and motivate yourself and others to prevent the deaths and injuries we can prevent by heeding those lessons. When we attach a name and face to something, we work together to prevent it from happening again. Take those accidents from the realm of “statistics” or something that happens somewhere else and allow it to motivate us to help one person at a time, maybe that officer that may be in roll call with us next time.

For all law enforcement reading this, I’m praying for a peaceful and safe week for you: safe traffic stops, safe building searches, and safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year, or with a loss that continues to hurt. I pray that those of you making trips to Washington and state memorials will have a safe trip. For those who are attending a memorial to honor a fallen brother or sister, I pray for healing. But most of all, I hope now more than ever, there is an outpouring of appreciation form the communities that you serve.

In closing, thank you for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it for the remainder of my days. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

 

Dr. Mike A. Crain I, D.Min.
Chaplain
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Blog: https://chaplainthoughts.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DoctorMichael