10 Ways To Help A Cop post-OIS

During my career in law enforcement I was involved in several incidents which, as I look back, could be classified as critical incidents including a traffic stop where one of the officers who came to back me up ended up having to shoot the suspect I had...

9) Be Genuine“Let love be genuine.” (Romans 12:9)

More literally, in the original language, it reads, “Let love be without hypocrisy” (hence, genuine, sincere).  Police departments can sometimes be a hot bed of gossip and hearsay.  Our involvement with the officer dealing with an OIS or other critical incident has to be for his good – not to gather information.  His ‘trust factor’ will already be brought lower than normal and so, sincerity in your care is paramount.  Here, chaplains can gently remind the officer that there is the shield of confidentiality under which you work.  Sometimes you won’t have the words to say – so say that.  Let the officer know that you are as nonplussed as he is but that you are there to walk with him through the valley he is encountering.  (Also, cf. 2 Corinthians 8:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-2; 1 Timothy 1:5)

10) Get Backup“For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die.  But God commends His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

So often, for officers, the word help is to be banished from their vocabulary.  Officers will not hesitate to respond to a ‘Signal 13 - officer in trouble’ call; they will risk life and limb to respond to that call to save another officer’s life, even if it means getting covered in blood, sweat, and vomit.  However, admitting any kind of ‘mental or emotional weakness’ is a different ball game.  Help becomes a sullied word.

But the fact is, we all need backup and needing it for our mental, emotional, and spiritual needs is no different than needing it physically.  Encourage the officer to seek and obtain the help he needs.  There is no shame in calling for backup.

You can also help the officer by embracing the paradox that it is through our weakness that we can experience God’s power.  Christian chaplains, then, as the appropriate opportunity presents itself, can share that Jesus, the ultimate peace officer, suffered through the most critical incident by clothing himself in the uniform of human flesh, perfectly followed God the Father’s standard operating procedure for life that we could not, and on the cross, took on the punishment – the bullet – we deserve.  He took on and defeated the ultimate bad guys of sin, death, and the devil.  Jesus died, not for righteous people or for those who helped Him, but for sinners – those who were blind, dead, and enemies of God.  The backup He provides is the grace we so desperately need.  (Also, cf. John 15:13; Romans 8:38-39; 2 Corinthians 8:9, 12:9; Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:18)


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