The Strong Blue Line
“I gotta go handle a call, I love you; I’ll talk to you later.” The 54-year-old Ventura County Sherriff’s sergeant didn’t tell his wife the nature of the call on the evening of November 7th. It was for shots fired at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA. Three minutes after saying goodbye to his wife, Sergeant Ron Helus and a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer arrived at the bar full of college students. The sergeant radioed dispatch, “One subject advised she didn’t see him [the gunman] come out. We’re making entry.” The officers made entry through the front door. Sergeant Helus made second transmission, “We got multiple people down. We need a lot of ambulances.” Gunfire suddenly erupted in the bar, Sergeant Helus was hit several times and went down. The CHP officer drug the wounded sergeant out of the line-of-fire. Rather than facing anymore officers, the assailant killed himself. Sergeant Helus died.
What drives officers to go where most are unwilling to go? Courage. Where does courage come from? Genetics? No; courage doesn’t always run in families. Education? No; there are plenty of educated cowards. Money? No; money can buy foolishness, but not courage.
The word courage comes from the Latin word (cor) for heart. Webster defines courage as the “mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship.” Scripture tells us to be courageous, The Lord said, “Be strong and courageous” (Duet. 31:7). Hence, courage comes from within—it’s a decision. It’s a resolve from inside. Courage is a choice. Courage comes from being on the side of right. King Solomon wrote, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Prov. 28:1).
When carrying out their duties, law enforcement officers are on the side of right. They face danger because it’s the right thing to do. They swore an oath, and their words mean something. They promised to protect, and that’s what they do—no matter the cost. Keep our officers in prayer.
Chaplain Bob Collins (US Army, retired), the Executive Director of Alliance Chaplain Ministries and the vice president of the International Association of Evangelical Chaplains, mentioned in an email that he planned to attend the biannual Flagship Church Conference at Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, CA. The conference serves those strategically engaged in ministry to our military through churches and parachurch ministries. I saw this as an opportunity to share Winning is More than Surviving with military chaplains. Chaplain Collins agreed to pass out 50 books if I shipped them to the conference. The books were ordered, and he reported all the books were distributed to conference attendees. Pray these will be used to minister to combat veterans.
Chaplain Collins also ordered 50 copies of Winning a Gunfight to handout at the Alliance’s Southwestern District’s men’s retreat. Any of the books make great gifts and stocking stuffers! Please consider purchasing books to give away this Christmas season, click here to purchase.
Next month I’ll be speaking at the annual Back the Badge Breakfast in Sacramento, CA hosted by the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Sacramento. After the breakfast, I’ll be teaching a Winning a Gunfight seminar for officers who have been involved in shootings. Please pray for the officers to whom I’ll be ministering and for me to have wisdom and discernment.
So far, we have 139 copies of Winning a Gunfight for Jimmy Meeks (Sheepdog Ministries) to give to officers attending a March 2019 Sheepdog seminar in northern, ID. This seminar will feature Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Pastor Frank Pomeroy (First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs). Our goal is 200 books, please consider donating to this effort or donating monthly to The Strong Blue Line ministry.
The November Cop Church service was a true blessing! Pastor Ty Orr (Waterpsrings Church) and the worship team did a fantastic job, we had a great time visiting with each other and saw some faces we haven’t seen in a while.
It’s Christmastime and Cop Church is supporting local law enforcement agencies with their annual Christmas charities to help the less fortunate in our community enjoy the season. For more information go to our Facebook page. If you’d like to help out, you can donate through our website (CopChurchIF.org) or by making a donation at our December service.
Pray for your police.