Distribution: Please distribute to all Police, Fire, Dispatch and EMS personnel – Happy Thanksgiving 2015

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. You’re busy and the fact that you are taking a few minutes to hear what I have to say is humbling. I hope you walk away a better or happier person because of it.

During the month of November, lots of people go to social media to daily list something they are thankful for. There are the usual staples of spouse, kids, parents, other family members, friends, their church, etc. The kind of gratitude that warms your heart, puts a “spring in your step”, and just makes you feel good. There are others I have seen, however that are shall we say, unconventional.

– That I’m not a turkey.
– Indoor toilets.
– McKayla Maroney’s “not impressed” face.
– That I “have” to work the day after Thanksgiving, so no shopping for me!
– Facebook . . . because with it, I have visual proof that my friends are eating well.
– I am thankful my kids are finally at an age where they’ll watch my shows with me, instead of making me watch their shows with them. I’m pretty sure Disney XD was causing my brain to atrophy.
– Any day my spouse doesn’t have a saved segment of Dr. Phil backing them up on something.
– I am thankful that I don’t look anything like the portraits my kids draw of me.

Any counselor, pastor, or 12 step program will tell you that being thankful is a key to living a happy life. We all tend to look at the things we don’t have or that we wish we didn’t have, and I’m just as guilty as anyone. Sometimes just listing the things you are thankful for will improve (even drastically improve) your attitude and you moods. So what are you thankful for? What makes you smile when you think about it? I encourage you to take the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas and do some “homework”:
– Write out a list of things you are thankful for, no matter how big or small.
Things like pets, places, food, and hobbies. My list includes the Red River Gorge, Ale-8 (a Kentucky soft drink), and the Florida Marlins. It doesn’t have to be big things.
– Write down a list of people that you are glad you know and have made contributions to your life.
– Write down a list of surprises that made you happy (Finding $10 in the parking lot, someone buying my lunch, surprise birthday party, etc.)

And then once you have your list, see if you can add anything regularly. Consciously LOOK for things to be happy for and see if you don’t feel better.

Finally, as we approach “the holidays”, we all know that the holidays can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, other supervisors, clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to. Life is a battle best fought with others.
I’ve said it in every email, and every chance I get. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. I’ve said it to you on the parks and restaurants. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Dispatch, Paramedic and Fire personnel – 9/11/2015

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Dispatch, Paramedic and Fire personnel

First, I want to say another thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

As I write this, Patriot Day is less than two weeks away. It is a day or remembrance for what we lost in the attacks on 9/11. Just under 3000 people lost their lives that day. 343 firefighters, 71 officers, 8 private EMT’s and a K9 gave the “last full measure of devotion” that day and over 100 more since then due to some type of 9/11 related illness.

In today’s environment, things are getting more and more tense. We appear to be getting more and more divided and more and more hateful. And it would be easy, almost natural in fact, to let this dictate what we do. It would be easy to allow all the hate and division to weigh on us. We can let the death threats, the physical attacks and the hate of some to rule us. When Firefighters are assaulted for trying to put out a fire started by an arsonist, a EMT is attacked just trying to give people CPR, not to mention the attacks against our police, it would be real easy to just give in, or give up. But we shouldn’t. I’m not saying it’s not hard. I’m saying we should fight that urge. I’m saying that we keep gearing up, and suiting up, and never giving up. Because it only takes one. What do I mean?

  1. One More Person – Sure the last ones may have been tough. But the very next person you come in contact with could be the one you save. YOU could be the one keeping them alive until they get to the doctor, who comes back to tell you how much that means to them. You could be that voice in the dark times that pulls them through tragedy.
  2. One More Try – Maybe the next person was thinking about ending their lives, and because YOU cared enough to try, the decided to give life and hope another change.
  3. One More Report – Maybe an act or something you say on your next call helps a citizen decide to stop their a bad habit, turn from a life on the edge of the law, stop smoking, stop making bad life choices. I know sometimes we get into the rut of thinking that no one can change when we deal with the same people a lot.
  4. One More Day – Sure today may have been bad, or even horrible. But tomorrow CAN be different.

I know that sometimes we try not to hope, because let’s be honest, sometimes the good thing never happens. But if we give up now, we might miss out on what could be one of the best days of our careers or even lives. I’ll leave you with this:

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out,”Good morning! What are you doing?”

The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.”

“I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”

“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”

“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”

Your next person could be “that one”. So if you find yourself struggling, ask someone you trust, ask a Chaplain, ask that trusted co-worker, or you can always email or call me.

I’ve said it in every email. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic, Fire and Dispatch personnel: Happy Fourth of July

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. It’s always my goal that something said in these notes will encourage, inspire or uplift you in some way. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading.

On July 4, 1776 our Founding Fathers said enough was enough. This year marks 239 years of a free America. But even though the last year hasn’t been easy, America has had rocky times before. We have been involved in twelve major wars, we had the Great Depression, we’ve had leaders assassinated, and times of major disasters. But through the years America has risen to the challenge, continued to grow, and stay free.

It’s been said that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” How do we do that? We do that in the everyday choices we make. We do that when we choose the right path over the easy path. We do that by choosing to help others when they need it the most (even if we think they deserve it the least). We do that by watching out for our brother and giving a hand when they need it. We do that by smiling at the kid who looks at our shiny badge, or taking a picture of them in our cruiser or fire truck. We do that by remembering the fallen, and helping their families. We do it by remembering that life is lived in small pieces and by living an honorable life in day to day parts. You can’t fix the world, and you can’t do it in a day. Here’s the key: Just take the next right step. Make the next right decision. No matter how deep in the hole you feel, life is lived one day at a time, one decision at a time. Sometimes, even the best of us lose that perspective. We all need a “shot in the arm” from time to time. So if you find yourself struggling, ask someone you trust, ask a Chaplain, ask that trusted co-worker, or you can even ask me.

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.

What’s up with all the anti-cop stuff? Recording Police, Trust, and those dirty cops

Disclaimer: This is written as a perspective, not official guidance on the law or police procedures. If you have questions on your laws and ordinances, seek professional guidance. This article, or my views, may not necessarily represent the opinions and thoughts of any agency that I (the author) am affiliated with. They are strictly my own. Any real-life scenario will have any information withheld that would be considered confidential or identifying information.

It’s long….I know.  But if it perspective and truth you seek, it is worth a little bit of reading.

In the weeks since what happened in Ferguson, New York City, and here locally in Beavercreek, I’ve seen that police is a very polarizing issue. I’ve seen and heard lots of positive comments from people with my involvement with the “I Support the Beavercreek Police“, and from folks on Twitter and Facebook across the nation. However, I have seen some VERY negative comments, including personal attacks. I’ve been told I’m a “white supremacist, black lynching, hillbilly monster”, that I’m a murderer (because I support the officers in question) and that should just “rot in hell”.

So what is my take on some of the issues? For those of you who don’t know me, here is how I come to the following conclusions. I’ve been around public safety since 2008 and a Chaplain since 2012. I’ve spent over 550 hours in a police cruiser with police. I have been in situations that I thought I might have to use a weapon in defense, or almost hit by a passing car in traffic.

Complaint 1: “No one trusts the police” – Here is my “official” opinion. We can not cite low “trust” in police without taking a look at the broader picture, and this is what various police sources have been telling officers in the last few months (that I have seen) – people do not trust any form of government. The president has a low approval/trust rating. So does congress. So does state and local governments. And enforcement of the laws passed by these governments come down to one group of people. Most of us have seen the pictures from anti-police organizations with instance of abuse by police. (I’m not going to say that there are no bad cops, or that some do not follow procedure, or that none of them abuse their power.) However, for every one of those that I’ve seen I can produce at least twice as many of officers doing amazing things in their community. Buying meals, sports equipment, or furniture with their own money for people. Stories of officers adopting children of murder victims. I can also provide a list of names of the over 100 officers that die in the line of duty every year. And when you have cultures who wholesale teach (in word, deed or song) not only to not trust them but make heroes out of people who attack (physically or otherwise) then we have a huge problem. To clarify that statement, that is not a racial thing. There are places in the US (Eastern KY, Montana, etc) and groups like Sovereign Citizens who not only “don’t recognize” federal or state law enforcement, is cases like the Sovereign Citizens movement advocate the murder of Federal LEO’s.

Complaint 2: “Police don’t care about ‘public relations’ anymore” – No I’m not a strategy guy. I’ve never been to the academy. But very few departments have anyone dedicated to “public relations” because they are busy doing an increasingly harder job with increasingly few resources. There are some departments that I know that are so short-handed, that some officers work almost as much overtime as regular hours. So it’s rare that a department (especially local smaller ones) can afford to have an officer dedicated to the PR function. And some who do , they do it on their own time. They manage the department’s Facebook page at home. Some rural departments the officers do a 12 hour shift, and go home and repair their own cruiser. I’ve been in one.

Complaint 3: “The police is too militarized.” – We complain we cops get RE-ISSUED equipment from the military, but no one seems to care when they are driving Crown Vics that are 15 or 20 years old. No one complains that there are police vehicles that do not even have the basic internet connection to run plates or to see if the guys they stopped has a warrant or is dangerous. Don’t tell me they don’t exist because I have been in them. We complain that they have “scary guns” (hey I’ve handled an M4 and that would qualify if it’s coming at me) but no one seems to notice that some are using outdated weapons and in cases they are FAR out-gunned by the locals (good or bad) in the area. It’s called “parity of force”. The most common department cited is Ferguson. Keep this in mind: They rolled in with those AFTER they are assaulted with rocks, guns, bricks and Molotov cocktails. “So if you up the ante against me, it will come back and bite you, because I am going home tonight to my family.” As for body armor and Kevlar, it has saved the lives of countless officers, so as far as I am concerned, they can wear it all they want. When I was in a disaster area for almost a week (Tornado ravaged KY) all the KSP, and local officers were in camouflage and had weapons like the M4. And no one complained except a few people and those who were trying to loot. And why wear camo? Because it is more durable and functional in high stress or high use incidents.
The other thing to note is that police have had access to military surplus equipment for years. The twenties and thirties cops had bars, Johnson Rifles and Tommy Guns from military stock. Even Barney Fife had a Military Motorcycle and helmet.  To close out this point, I’ll quote a law enforcement officer friend of mine on a recent attack in Texas: “So… ISIS is now taking responsibility for the Garland TX cartoon contest shooting. One in which responding officers stopped within 15 seconds of their arrival according to news reports. For all of you that are adamant that American police departments don’t need armored vehicles and high caliber weapons, we just stopped a terrorist attack on OUR SOIL. Your argument is invalid. Find something else to complain about.”

Complaint 4: “Police should NEVER shoot anyone with a toy gun” – “Killed because of a toy gun”. What people infer is that since we NOW KNOW that the gun was an Airsoft or BB or toy gun, the police did not have to shoot. While this statement is true, it is only true at face value. The each of the major cases, officers were not aware that the gun is the suspect’s possession was an Airsoft/BB/toy gun. Only after examined up close were they able to determine that fact. So based on the information they had, they thought someone was pointing/using an actual firearm. In Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989), the United States Supreme Court held that the “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. The Fourth Amendment “reasonableness” inquiry is whether the officers’ actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation. The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, and its calculus must embody an allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation. Pp. 490 U. S. 396-397. In an initial statement following the tragic incident in Cleveland, a police spokesperson said, “Upon arrival on scene, officers located the suspect and advised him to raise his hands. The suspect did not comply with the officers’ orders and reached to his waistband for the gun. Shots were fired and the suspect was struck in the torso.” So the point here is that given the information they had, did they do what a “reasonable” officer would do in the situation. Is it reasonable to shoot someone who attempts to go to their waistband for a gun? I would say “Yes it is”. Is it reasonable to do it even when it is a child, even if it may be (or even looks fake)? I again would say it is. And while some would like to rush to judgment based on the facts as we know them now, the Graham v. Connor standard mandates that officers be judged on the information they have.

Complaint 5: “I should be able to film the police anytime I want.” – Some people (including anti-cop groups) are encouraging everyone to  “record all contact with police.”  On face value (and some of my LEO friends may disagree), I don’t see a problem with recording. When I think back on my experience, the overwhelming majority of that time would not reveal ANYTHING wrong, or improper. It would show that the overwhelming majority of that time the officers have been professional, dedicated, courteous, and accommodating (even to those who were placed under arrest). But it’s not the majority that these folks are after, and quite frankly I don’t think that they care. I’ll give you a personal example.

Scenario: I am with a police department who gets a call for a missing child. We catch the suspect who is extremely uncooperative with officers. He admits to maybe knowing where the child is located, but is belligerent to anyone talking to him.

So , had this entire thing been recorded, what would they have seen? Was the suspect handled rough? Was he treated graciously? In the real life case he was treated kind, far better than I think he deserved. But it could just as easily go the other way. If the officer didn’t guide his head properly and he hit his head on the door, you become an internet sensation. “Officer XYZ when talking to this helpless teen, bashed his head on the side of the car. #StopAbusiveCops.” What if it was very hot or cold and you left him outside so you could talk to him and not break your neck trying to turn around in the cramped car? “Officer XYZ leaves defenseless young man in the hot sun for hours while questioning him. #StopPoliceBrutality” See a problem there? Out of an hour or so incident, someone took 5 seconds to “prove” their own agenda that all cops are bad, and that police brutality is intolerable. Then we all get to see that picture on the internet a thousand times. And does that cop have any recourse? Can he stop the flow of misinformation? And taken out of it’s context, you have “proof” of brutality that doesn’t really exist when it’s viewed in context. I know some of you are saying “That doesn’t happen” or  “You are minimizing the significance of the proof”. I’m not saying that every cop is perfect, that brutality doesn’t exist, or that there are no bad cops out there. What I am saying is this: I don’t object to anyone videoing the interaction. What I object to is the ability to throw a 30 second video or a couple of pictures taken completely out of context. In addition to that, where is the right of the office to face his accusers? Where is the right of the suspect for fair treatment (I mean, the suspect may not want that picture/video out either)? And on the flip side, what if we recorded you at your job? Do you always give 100% all day, every day? Because that one time you don’t, I’ll make sure all your friends and family (and boss) see you sleeping on the job, shopping online, or sticking that pencil in your pocket. Fairness and context is all I ask.

Complaint 6: “If cops dealt with ‘dirty cops’ then I might care more. – This came up from a Twitter message I had after another New York officer was attacked, shot and killed in the line of duty.  People might care more about the deal of an innocent, dedicated and highly decorated officer who was killed by a career criminal if  “dirty cops” were dealt with? SERIOUSLY?

So why do we not hear more about the “dirty cops” getting caught? I think there are a few reasons for that. You also must consider what makes a cop a”dirty cop”. If you are reading this, I’ll presume that you mean more than a “hateful” cop who doesn’t seem to have a lot of patience or “niceness”.

Police, just like most of our jobs, always have supervisors who are making corrections. Some infractions may be minor or department policies (misspellings in reports) and others major or legal issues (taking money from a drug raid). So when you see the article or meme on the internet, you just presume that the issue was not dealt with, when in fact, the disciplinary action was not published. Officers are fined, given extra duty assignments, suspended, forced to resign or fired when it is deemed necessary. I’ve received a “correction” at work, and it didn’t appear in the Dayton Daily news or on WHIO, and most likely, neither did yours. So why do we expect any different from them?

In addition, cops ARE arrested and charged when they do wrong. Michael Slagle was fired and charged with murder in South Carolina. 6 cops were arrested in Baltimore on various charges. Those are two recent and high profile ones for example. Additionally, they, like everyone else, are innocent until PROVEN GUILTY. When not proven guilty, then there is no conviction.

On a separate note, the odd thing is that you could not get away with that statement about ANY OTHER GROUP.
“If Christians dealt with bad Christians, I might care when one dies.”
“If Muslims dealt with bad Muslims I might care more when one dies.”
“If YOUR RACE dealt with bad members of YOUR RACE then I might care more when one dies.”

Most rational people would not say those statements, and fewer would defend their use. But police and their families are supposed to be OK with it?

It’s long, but there was a lot to cover. I’m sure there are more, but I wanted to touch the big ones, from a Chaplain’s perspective. Can law enforcement agencies do more? Sure. Can they appear less aggressive? Maybe. But I place my family’s safety way over my neighbor’s touchy-feely experiences any day.

Thank you for reading and I hope you were able to glean from this article.

If you are one of my LEO friends and you have additional thoughts, examples or clarification, please let me know and I’ll update the article.

Police Week 2015 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 stirs hatrid of our officers, it is up to us to keep them in our prayers. May 10-16 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.

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.”

Saturday 9th-Sunday 10th – Safe trips to DC, local memorials

Monday 11th – 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.
— 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 12th – 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.
— 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 13th – 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.
— 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 14th – 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.
— 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 15th – 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.
— 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 16th- Departments and families of 2014 Line of Duty deaths
Note: There were 105 deaths in the “Line of Duty” in 2014 (Not including 17 K9 officers). Over 90 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” .
— 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 2015

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 and sizes. 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.

May 10-16 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”. Some of us will go to memorials, or private ceremonies, or just sitting around reminiscing about our fallen comrades. Most of us do something so we remember, so we never forget. As Cicero wrote, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” I encourage you to take time to remember.

There has been so many events occurred over the past year, and I’m sure I don’t need to mention most of them. They are common names and places now, that one year ago most of us had not heard of. I wanted to use this note to share some insight I have been given. Insight that some of you reading this note have given me over the last year. Some of you reading this have shared your thoughts, hurts, anger and frustrations. You are under a spotlight more than ever. Some of you feel that your job is hated, or no longer matters. You feel that the average citizen does not notice, or worse, does not care. I have heard from officers in different places about the environment we find ourselves in. Public opinion is brutal, and unfortunately for us it’s been turned in our direction. So here are some things I want you to remember:

1) Eventually some (if not a lot) of the negativity will die down. There will likely always be some that will cause us heartaches or headaches. But it will get better. Humans go in cycles, and people will movie on to other things.

2) Stay strong, prepared, and optimistic. It’s my mission to help people not lose hope, even though it would be easy to do given the times. Keep training. Keep doing those extra checks. Keep “sharpening your saw”. Keep doing what you do. Tell a joke or two in roll call. I was on a ride along with a department, and the supervisor bought pizza for all of us. I thought it was great. It’s the little things in life that keep us going sometimes. So don’t neglect them.

3) You still have a lot of support, perhaps more than you think. There are thousands and thousands who support Law Enforcement, but maybe not as vocal as some of us. Just keep doing what you do, and the support will rally around you when you need it. Just don’t be afraid to ask.

4) Your role in society is just as important as it ever was. Maybe it’s even MORE important. Sometimes all of us look at our jobs and question “Is it worth it?” But in today’s environment, this one can be hard to remember. You are the ones who keep us safe from the evils in society. You are the sheepdogs keeping the wolves at bay, away from the sheep.

5) Don’t forget your support network. Maybe you were just on the receiving end of someone’s verbal abuse (or worse). Find someone who can remind you that everyone is not like that. Maybe you were on the receiving end of someone’s generosity. Share it. Bring those cards from that kindergarten class in to work. Someone bought you lunch, or the new K9 unit some dog treats, then talk about that. If you have good stories, share them on social media. Talk to your chaplain. If your department doesn’t have one, find out if a someone close to you does.

For all the law enforcement reading this, I’m praying for a peaceful and safe week for you. Safe traffic stops. Safe building searches. Safe DV calls. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year. 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 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.

Darkest Hour

Dr. Michael A. Crain I, D.Min.:

Anyone connected to the fire service will totally understand this article. And it’s not just for fire, it applies to law enforcement and EMS too. Give it a read and a follow!

Originally posted on ffbha:

L. Mauser-Ferguson

The Cincinnati Fire Department lost a good man on the job this morning named Daryl Gordon. I did not know him, but have gotten calls and messages this morning from several brothers who did. By all accounts, he was a magnificent man who will be so severely missed. I want to extend my deepest condolences to Cincinnati FD and everyone who loved Daryl Gordon: Myself and everyone I know are sending you a huge combination of prayers, uplifting thoughts, and hugs.

Today was already a dark day, marking the anniversary of the deaths of Boston’s Lieutenant Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy. I remember sitting at my kitchen table listening to the fireground channel last year during the search for both Walsh and Kennedy, yelling silently in my head for my Dad to save them. I found myself doing the same thing this morning listening to the…

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