Not that long ago I was attending a retirement celebration for a friend of mine. He'd completed 25 years of service with a metropolitan police department and was moving on to better things. That particular police department (that he'd retired from) served a jurisdiction that was relatively well recognized for its high crime rates and the citizenry's near complete lack of regard for the law - much less the law enforcers. As a sad side note, when he'd been hired 25 years ago, the jurisdiction had a 20-year retirement program, but they changed it to 25 when he was about 15 years in and didn't "grandfather" anyone anywhere. People who had been around more than 20 but less than 25 were allowed to "retire early" but folks with less than twenty - even one day less when the law went into affect - had to get to 25 for their retirement. Setting all that aside, at my friend's retirement party I met a Minister. The unique thing about this particular minister was that he had previously served as a Homicide Investigator in the same jurisdiction where my friend had retired from. He had seen some of the worst our society had to offer - and it hadn't shaken his faith. It had made his faith stronger.
Actually, I'm not sure that's right either. He said, "My faith always held me through. There were times on the job when I could have easily fell into despondency because of the cruelty I constantly either witnessed or investigated, but my religious faith kept me positive; it kept me optimistic." However, there came a point where he decided that his true calling wasn't investigating homicides but was instead serving as a man of the cloth. He left the police department, studied at seminary and started serving in North Carolina. He also joined Peace Officer Ministries, a faith-based organization specifically designed to serve the needs of law enforcement professionals. Peace Officer Ministries was founded by Reverend Steve Lee in 1995 (give or take a year - best guess on Reverend Ruffatto's part). What faith-based special needs might law enforcement professionals have? you might ask. But if you're asking, you've obviously never worn a uniform.
So I enjoyed a pretty long conversation with the gentleman - Rev. Frank Ruffatto - and learned a bit about why and how he joined Peace Officer Ministries. The afternoon and evening passed and then, before he left, he gave me a book. Now it's kind of cliche for a minister to be handing out Bibles, but the book Rev. Ruffatto handed me certainly didn't look like any Bible I'd ever seen. The title, as I read it is, God's Word: The Peace Officers Tactical Edition. It IS a Bible, but it's more than that too.
Prior to the parts that are actually the books of The Bible, there's a Foreword and a section titled "The Path to Peace for a Peace Officer". After the New Testament there are Bible Study Helps that include:
- A breakdown of The Teachings of Jesus by topic
- An Application Index that allows you to relate specific Bible parts to goals
- A Dictionary / Concordance
Then there's the end / remainder of section one, "The Path to Peace for a Peace Officer". After that there are four other sections titled:
- Section Two: God's Word - Our Backup Book
- Section Three: Meditations
- Section Four: To Protect and Serve
- Section Five: Spiritual "10 Code"
Of course I wondered if I could acquire copies of this "Cop's Bible". It's available on the Peace Officer Ministries' website. Suggested donation for one Bible is $20 which would include shipping, and for a Bible with such reference material built in, that's a DARN low donation (in other words, give from the heart because it's more than well worth it).
- Confidential Spiritual Care
- Critical Incident Stress counseling and management
- Critical Incident Response (which permits on scene timely intervention)
- and more...