As a Police Chaplain on the front lines, I witness first hand where Police and the Community meet and my experience is so different from the one I see portrayed in our media. We hear so much about the “tensions between police and community”, as if they are somehow separate entities, two competing armies warring against one another.
The man or woman who puts on a uniform and diligently answers calls for help, at the risk of their own life, is a citizen or our community, a neighbor, a friend that was set apart by our community for this unique calling.
A small, select group of our citizens are chosen, set apart and asked by their community to willingly accept the authority of being a police officer and to do one of the most difficult jobs in that community. They bring order to the chaos of crisis and tragedy , they save in disaster, protect in danger, and enforce the laws that the community agrees to.
Without the police the innocent would be enslaved by the lawless and the lawless, emboldened by their freedom would take from our community our personal freedom for Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The war that is waged every day is not between the Police and the Community, because the police are the Community. Neither is it a matter of, “We have met the enemy and the enemy is us”. It is instead, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of Evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing.”
Does evil creep into the heart of a person who wears the badge? Of course. Because Evil can creep into the heart of anyone in a community. Factor in all that an officer sees, hears, smells, and feels, they are most vulnerable to the effects of Evil because they are always closest to it, as they battle it every day.
The battle is not between police and community. The war is between Good and Evil. From the mundane of helping with a flat tire to the tragedy of a child who dies in the arms of an officer who was the first to answer the call for help, police swear on oath to stand between for Good and against Evil, from the accidental to the brutal, from the inadvertent to the predatory, they are the “Thin Blue Line”, members of OUR community that stepped up to this higher calling.
“I am the Officer”
I have been where you fear to be, I have seen what you fear to see,
I have done what you fear to do -All these things I have done for you.
I am the person you lean upon, The one you cast your scorn upon,
The one you bring your troubles to -All these people I’ve been for you.
The one you ask to stand apart, The one you feel should have no heart,
The one you call “The Officer in Blue,” But I’m just a person, just like you.
And through the years I’ve come to see, That I am not always what you ask of me;
So, take this badge … take this gun …Will you take it … will anyone?
And when you watch a person die And hear a battered baby cry,
Then do you think that you can be, All these things you ask of me?
We have met our protectors and they are us. We have an obligation to serve those who protect us. That is why Paraclete Exists. We better take care of these brave neighbors and friends before we make it impossible for them to succeed at the calling they have accepted on our behalf. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”