Domestic violence is a serious problem in America. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that on average domestic abuse occurs to nearly twenty people per minute in the US. Law enforcement officers are not exempt. Last month this was highlighted by a tragic incident in Chicago involving a married couple, who were both police officers for Chicago PD. The wife claimed she attempted to shoot herself when her husband tried to stop her. A struggle ensued over a handgun. The pistol discharged, the husband was shot and died. The wife was booked for his murder. I’m not sure how this case is going to turn, but the fact remains it was another needless death of a law enforcement officer.
Law enforcement officers need more than tactical training, policy and law schooling, and instruction on how to use the latest equipment. They need help at home. They need counsel about how to deal with the issues that face families, no matter the occupation of the breadwinner(s). The extra stressors policing brings to a family, only exacerbates the problems. Family problems are a big reason why Jimmy Meeks started the Cornelius Project. Last year, Jimmy started promoting Blue Life Support (BLS) Seminars. These are seminars for LEOs and their spouses that focus on officer stress, PTSD, resilience, sleep deprivation, and much more.
Early last spring Jimmy stopped by Idaho Falls for a quick visit and we discussed bringing a BLS seminar to Idaho. He was working with folks in Cor de Alene about a seminar in the panhandle. He also considered Boise as a possible Idaho location. We agreed Idaho Falls would be a tough venue. It only has a regional airport and a low population, but we began praying about it. In the summer we decided to give it a go. We secured Watersprings Church as the location for an early November day-and-half-seminar. Over the summer we worked on logistics and advertising. The date was set for Monday-Tuesday, November 8-9. At the end of September, we had just over twenty officers signed up. Jimmy called me and we talked about canceling the event. We decided to give it a couple more weeks and see what happens. Two weeks later, we had well over a hundred officers signed up. The final count was 257 from five states. It was the most attended BLS seminar across the county! Keep this ministry in prayer as we look for more venues in 2022.
I received this email from a chief of police in the Twin Cities area:
Hey Tim, hope all is well. Sunday night we had a fatal OIS [Officer-Involved-Shooting]. This is the second fatal officer involved use of force for our agency in two months-unheard of for a suburban agency, but such is life in the Twin Cities right now. The officer is doing well and did what he had to do. We both know firsthand what he has in store with stress and doubt, but I wanted you to know the day after he received a copy of your book [Winning a Gunfight]. Although the class we hosted was small, it had a huge impact on the area and your book and ministry continues to impact those who need it. Just wanted to let you know, have a great day brother!
Keep our officers in prayer, especially those serving in communities that are less than supportive of their law enforcement personnel.
On the Sunday before the Blue Life Support seminar, Cop Church Idaho Falls partnered with Watersprings Church for a pre-screening of the movie Break Every Chain. Over six-hundred people came out for the viewing. The movie is based on events in the life of Officer Jonathan Hickory. Jonathan was one of the speakers at the BLS seminar and shared that evening following the movie. It is a great movie and available through Amazon in DVD and streaming.
The movie highlights how LEOs don’t have it all together. They are regular people working a high-stress job that tends to tear apart relationships. LEOs and their spouses need to be intentional about making family relationships a priority. Officers and their spouses need to communicate and have wise counselors who will speak into their lives. Therefore, I believe a church family is of extreme importance. LEOs need to have friends who are civilians. This is important for them, their spouse, and their children. This is one of the reasons for Cop Church. Cop Church isn’t just another “cop club” but a church that unashamedly supports LEOs and their families. It’s a safe place for LEOs and their families to fellowship and worship with both LEO families and civilians who support them.
Several chaplains from the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Idaho helped support the BLS seminar by serving coffee, drinks, and lunch. We would not have been able to be so successful if it weren’t for the unselfish work of the chaplains. In addition to helping, several were able to attend the sessions and learn how to better minister to officers. They too reported how beneficial the seminar was to them.
Pray for your police.