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Sword and Shield As an Officer How Can I be Faithful to My Job and My Faith In light of the Bible’s aAdmonition aAbout kKilling, hHow cCan Oofficers Llive Oout tTheir fFaith on the sStreets? David J. Fair, D.Min., Senior Chaplain, Texas Department of Public Safety’s Critical Incident Response Team

I am often asked by law enforcement officers, “Chaplain, what if I have to shoot someone? The 6th Commandment, says, ‘Thou sShall nNot kKill’.”. If this question is not dealt with properly dealt with, an officer may feel his faith is in direct conflict with his or her job. If that happens, gGuilt and stress can follow, and that doesn’t have to happen. The commandment "Tthou shall not kill" (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17), is better understood to mean "you shall not murder.," Mmost newer translations of the Bible put it this way. According to the Bible, not all killing, the taking of a lifelives, is murder. Murder is the unlawfully taking of human life with malice aforethought. Armed with this explanation, officers should become more at ease, and understand, their faith and law enforcement career don’t have to conflict. Actually when one looks at the New Testament, they discover God ordained authority for the police. And when people think of authority, they think of THE authorities, law enforcement officers. The Living Bible puts it best:. Romans 13:1-5 13:1 Obey the government, for God is the one who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. 2 So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. 3 For the policeman does not frighten people who are doing right; but those doing evil will always fear him. So if you don't want to be afraid, keep the laws and you will get along well. 4 The policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose. 5 Obey the laws, then, for two reasons: first, to keep from being punished, and second, just because you know you should. TLB. Another question that comes up, especially from undercover officers, is“ Chaplain, when I’m under deep cover, I have to live a life that is totally opposite to my faith. I often have to lie, and compromise in other ways. How can I even consider myself a person of faith?”. The best answer and example I have heard encourages the undercover officer to look at the under cover assignment, as a role play or a theatrical production. In plays, movies, and the like, we assume a “character.”. In the under cover role,l if we consider we stay


“in character”, and are acting out a role, it becomes easier for us to feel we are not compromising our faith. I have been asked about concerns of carrying religious symbols for protection. These might be crosses, angels, or similar items, often worn as pins. The question is usually, “ I want to carry something with me, that gives me protection, comfort, and contact with my faith. But I don’t want it to be looked at like a rabbit’s foot or other good luck charm.” There is a place in scripture, where the Apostle Paul, gave out handkerchiefs asre a point of “contact”. Specifically it says: Acts 19:11-12 11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. (from New International Version) I believe the scripture, explains there are items that can used as a “point of contact” for the believers. Thus there appears to be a clear difference between something with a spiritual significancet and a good luck charm. In closing, as a Chaplain, I am called upon to talk to people of all faith traditions, or no spiritual belief system at all. They usually marvel that spiritual principals work many times regardless of their personal belief system. As Chaplains, as people of faith, we need to be ever mindful we are in a unique position to be able to help people regardless of their beliefs. It is my hope, officers will read the Chaplain’s Column at Oofficer.com regardless of their beliefs. If you will, and if I and other Chaplains are doing our job, you should always find something here that will be helpful in life regardless of what you believe.

Web Links:

International Conference of Police Chaplains http://www.icpc4cops.org Crisis Chaplains Response Services http://www.crisis-chaplain.org There are a number of useful sites at www.icpc4cops.org, www.crisis-chaplain.org, and www.traumaticare..org. Dave Fair, is Director of Chaplain Services for the Brownwood, Texas Police Department, and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office where he serves as hostage negotiator. A licensed peace officer,



he also serves as Senior Chaplain for the Texas Department of Public Safety’s, Critical Incident Response Team, and holds certifications from the State of Texas as a Mental Health Peace Officer, Instructor, and Investigative Hypnotist. He was deployed to Ground Zero following 9/11, and to Eeast Texas for the Space Shuttle disaster recovery. He also has worked with survivors of Katrina and Rita Fair is an advisory board member of the American Association of Police Officers, and written a number of articles on critical incident stress, and published his first book, Mastering Law Enforcement Chaplaincy. As Executive Director of Crisis Response Chaplain Services, Fair is Board Certified as an Expert in Traumatic Stress, a Fellow of the, American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, and is a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners, International.