This has been a difficult year for everyone, but it has been especially hard on the Law Enforcement community. With the movement to defund the police and the violent attacks on Police all over the country, this is the lowest I have seen morale in my 25 years with the Los Angeles Police Department. Officers who swore an oath to “Protect and to Serve” have dedicated their lives to this noble profession, which has been villainized by the media. Although Law Enforcement has millions of positive contacts a year throughout the country, the focus is on a small handful of controversial interactions that cast a very large shadow on our efforts. We know that most of the law-abiding community supports our efforts, but it’s easy for us to forget they are out there.
In 2015, I was introduced to Tom Langan of Morale Boosters by a fellow Officer who was on a recruiting trip at Camp Pendleton. Tom was there providing “morale boosts” to Marines and he expressed his desire to include Law Enforcement officers as well. Over the past five years, Tom has provided unwavering support of our Officers with hundreds of handwritten thank-you cards, banners, treats, and, most recently, donations of hand sanitizer spray to keep Officers safe during the pandemic. All he has done has been greatly appreciated. It truly is impressive to see the passion that Tom and all the members of Morale Boosters have for lifting the spirits of the Law Enforcement community. We can't thank you enough for all your support especially during this difficult time.
To my brothers and sisters in law enforcement, keep your head held high. We are the reason why a civilized society can exist.
"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid." President Ronald Reagan
A Border Patrol Chaplain is different from a military chaplain. For us, it is a collateral duty. So I am a law enforcement agent first and accept the extra duty of being my co-workers’ chaplain. This obviously allows the Border Patrol Chaplain to understand more fully what his peers are experiencing because we are doing the job right beside them. On the other hand, the Border Patrol Chaplain not only shoulders the grief of the hurting agent, but also experiences the typical stresses of law enforcement. I myself am the Tucson Sector Chaplain, which means I am on a detail at our headquarters managing the Chaplaincy Program for the Tucson Sector. Even in this position, and in this year alone, I had to extract a dead body from a remote location high in the mountains; wrestled a drug smuggler at the border wall in order to seize several pounds of meth he was carrying; and had to hold down a naked, illegal alien who was dying from heat exhaustion. He did not die, but did test positive for Coronavirus. So I had to be quarantined for two weeks (I did not get the virus). Additionally we have to contend with the hatred of some in the public that we serve. Last Christmas, as I was trying to deliver toys to the children of fallen agents, an individual tried to fight me at an intersection in Tucson.
Needless to say, in this line of work, keeping up morale is a constant battle. We are extremely thankful for the invaluable work of Morale Boosters as Tom and his team fight tenaciously to support us. They help the helpers, provide for the protectors, take the time to reach out and ascertain what the actual need is, and provide to the fullest extent possible. We are very grateful for this organization, and appreciate their selfless devotion to those who are dedicated to protecting this great nation.
I have been a full time, sworn Police Chaplain for 10 years with the Portland Police Bureau. I spend most days responding to Officers experiencing traumatic events as part of our employee assistance wellness program. The entire time I have been at PPB there has been consistent riots and occasional problems with anarchists – now rebranded as Antifa – and constant scrutiny from the DOJ and our own city leadership.
The past 6 months have been historic. We have seen almost constant violence in our country and especially our city. Portland Police had city council members betray us, making accusations of the Police causing the violence, and even saying the Police started the fires during the nightly violence. The Officers in Portland were broken and discouraged, and many felt hated by their city -- and even some of their churches.
During this dark time, I was connected with Tom Langan of Morale Boosters and we received some of their "morale boosts." The officers were amazed, thankful, and surprised that people down in southern California cared enough about them to send Bibles, gifts, and even a banner. God has not been silent during this difficult time, and I get to have a front row seat to the work His people, like those at Morale Boosters, have in answering this call to action.
A few years ago I asked a local pastor about why he felt called to support the Police. His statement to me was "When I came home from Vietnam, after serving as a combat Marine there, the way we were treated is the same way they treat cops today." A few weeks ago, I saw a protester with a sign outside our Central Precinct that could have been a Vietnam War protest sign. The sign simply said "murderers, baby killers". After a short, tense conversation, he decided to leave, but that ideology permeates the anti-police protests.
Thank you, Morale Boosters, for supporting Portland Police at a time when many Police feel completely abandoned.