I recently had the opportunity to attend the Northwest Regional Training for the International Conference of Police Chaplains in Eugene Oregon. We had the privilege to hear speakers from around the nation, many of whom serve as chaplains to large agencies in major metropolitan areas. Several of the speakers referred to the daily stress the officers face on the street. They run from one felony call to another. They are constantly facing the horrors that humans can inflict upon one another and face life threatening situations regularly. (At least that is what they say!)
As I was reflecting on their comments I was also thinking about the life of the officers that I know or know about. The greatest source of stress that the men and women of our state deal with is not the daily stress of the street but he stresses that come from the two other major areas of their lives - dealing with the stresses of the department and the stresses of their home life. I know that we have the occasional critical incident and I am not downplaying the significance of these situations upon the lives of our officers. But the stresses that really become a problem to our officers are the on-going issues of a difficult marriage, parenting of difficult children and/or the frustrations of departmental problems.
This can be a great place for the chaplain to provide perspective, encouragement and information that can help the officer to regain focus. It can be an opportunity for help with a struggling marriage so that it doesn't end in divorce, or useful information that can help a family understand the unique challenges of being a law enforcement family or make some suggestions that might make a department function a little more smoothly. What challenges is your department facing? Is it possible that a chaplain could actually help bring peace to a troubled officer or officers? One of my favorite sayings that applies to this type of situation is "the straw that broke the camel's back." We all know that the "straw" did not break the camel's back. It was the load that he was already carrying that was the real problem. Stress becomes that kind of load that no one really notices until someone's back is broken! Chaplains have the responsibility to help "carry one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2). Please call upon a chaplain and let us help, we would love to serve.