Thursday, May 26, 2011
Pray For Them-- It's The Least We Can Do!
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Ever wonder why God asks us to pray for those that are in authority? It’s because they need it! This became very real for me this week as I experienced two days of training exercises with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. One my co-workers, Matt Munson, and I were invited to join a group of community leaders for what KDPS calls a “Citizens Leadership Academy.” For two days we were exposed to the various aspects of what it means to be a Public Safety Officer.
It was an incredible two days of hands-on experiences. Our first day began with a 2-hour discussion on the use of force, and ended with one of the officers being tazed to demonstrate how they are able gain control of an out-of-control situation with the least amount of bodily harm. We then went out to the fire tower for fire-fighting training. Until you’ve put on all that heavy fire gear, an oxygen tank and have gotten on your hands and knees and crawled through a smoke filled room, you’ll never fully appreciate what they do, and how they lay their lives on the line to save others. We then spent a couple of hours with the guys from K-9. We worked with the head of the K-9 division who trains both the officers and their dogs for duty. These teams are simply amazing, and so dedicated to one another. We met the officers and their partners and all I can say is they were both incredible. These dogs are all cross-trained to smell dope, track a suspect running through the woods, find a gun thrown into a field, and if necessary will bite once and hold their suspects, all at the command of their handlers. Then at the end of the shift they (man and dog) go home together and share their lives off duty. We ended that first day with some adrenalin pumping exercises with SWAT. Just one word…wow!
Our second day began with a large screen computer-training simulator called MILO, where we experienced “shoot, no shoot” scenarios just like the officers will face. Not sure my heart has raced quite like that in my 50 plus years. Next was traffic stops where we again experienced first hand some of the tough and very tense situations that can occur in any traffic stop. Our day ended at the shooting range, and not being a guy who has spent much time around firearms, I was shaking like a leaf. The last exercise of the day was a “shoot, no shoot” drill with live ammo at paper targets in a darkened room. Oh my, I’m breaking out in a sweat just typing these words. I can’t imagine what it would be like in a real life situation.
You may not be aware of what a Public Safety Officer is and how that role differs from that of your standard Police Officer. It just means that each Officer has received cross training in police work, fire fighting and emergency medicine, and can be called upon at any time to exercise one of these disciplines. Honestly, I was shocked that one person could be proficient at all three of these. They carry all of the equipment they need in their patrol cars and will actually change their clothes on the run. But on top of that, some officers also volunteer to train to become members of the SWAT team, the bomb squad, or work K-9 on top of their normal duties.
So let me break down what that actually means for one of these officers on a typical 12-hour shift. They can start their days on road patrol, be called to fight a fire, go back on patrol, receive a call to end a domestic dispute, follow that with a search through a building because an alarm has gone off, and then end their night stopping a bar fight. Then they go home to their wife and kids. Are you getting the picture yet? Can you see why they absolutely need our prayers? These super-human men and women do this day in and day out for the good of our communities; for people who are typically against them, and if they are not against them, they are at best neutral toward law enforcement personnel. How many folks out there are for them, I mean really for them? Personally, I have always been a fan of law enforcement, but my appreciation has grown 100 fold. Will you join me today and pray for the law enforcement officers of your community and our nation? Let’s join our faith to lift them up in prayer so that you and I can “live a quiet and peaceable life,” and that these officers return safely home at the end of their shifts.
Then, I have one final request: Today, if you come across an officer, please take a moment and shake their hand, give them our thanks and let them know that we’re praying for them. It’s the least we can do.
Love to you-