January 3rd, 1791 is an important date in American law enforcement history. It was on that cold Monday when New York Constable Darius Quimby was murdered. He was bludgeoned to death while attempting to serve an arrest warrant. Constable Quimby is American’s first recorded law enforcement officer (LEO) line-of-duty death. It was just the beginning. Since then, many more officers have fallen in the line of duty. The Officer Down Memorial Page website reports that there have been more than 26k line-of-duty deaths in America since 1791.
Law enforcement officers see things, do things, and investigate things that most people never will. To thrive in the midst of this sphere we call policing, LEOs need something that is critical for them to thrive. So, what is it? Over the past few months, we’ve discussed courage, common sense, a sense of humor, and compassion. These traits are needed for law enforcement officers to survive…but what about thrive? These four attributes must be built on a solid foundation. Without a solid foundation courage may wane, common sense may be lacking, humor may slip to sarcasm, and self-pity might replace compassion.
King David, Israel’s greatest warrior, had what the modern warrior needs—a foundation. It was a solid foundation. So solid he called it his rock. Listen to how David describes God as his rock, salvation, and fortress. “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken” (Psalm 62:1-2). Because God is all these things, David says he will not be shaken.
David’s faith was in the God of the Bible. God alone was David’s refuge—why? Why did this warrior need a refuge? Why did he need a fortress? Because there were those who unjustly attacked him. It wasn’t just a one-time attack; it was a relentless battering. Not only that, but there were also false accusations. “How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence? They only plan to thrust him down from his high position. They take pleasure in falsehood. They bless with their mouths, but inwardly they curse” (62:3-4). They take pleasure in falsehood, sound familiar?
David returned to his foundation. God was more than David’s refuge from his enemies; God was David’s salvation for his soul. “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” (62:5-7). God’s salvation is only through his Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible records, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus should be one’s spiritual foundation.
The Strong Blue Line Book Ministry
Burke Swearingen, founder of Blue Watch, ordered 80 copies each of “Winning a Gunfight” and “Suicide is not an Option” to give to newly sworn-in Alabama law enforcement officers at their academy graduation. Not only that, but Blue Watch also gave books to a department whose officers were involved in a recent shooting. Blue Watch’s March newsletter said this:
Last month we had the opportunity to reach out to officers of the Tuscaloosa Police Department and sent copies of “Winning A Gunfight” to their officers.
On February 7, around 7:30 p.m., the Tuscaloosa Police Department experienced an officer-involved shooting when the suspect broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend. According to media reports, about two hours later the suspect shot into her car, then set her home on fire. Officers located the suspect’s car and a chase ensued. During the chase, the suspect fired at officers, striking two of the police cruisers. The chase eventually ended in a crash and the suspect was taken into custody and charged with attempted murder of a police officer.
Pray for your police.