Tag Archives: Police

ICPC In Review (Video Included!)

This post is going to be packed full of media, so I hope you can view it on a good computer or smartphone…

Last Week

It has been a week since my last post and I’m chomping at the bit to talk about all that’s gone on. However, for the sake of time (it’s nearly midnight at the time of this writing, and I have to out of the house by 7 a.m.), I will stick to one subject – my trip to the annual training seminar with the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) in Lexington, KY.

Below is a photo of me and the three other chaplains from our Sheriff’s Office who attended this year’s annual training seminar (ATS).

Myself and Chaplains Rich Payne, Allen Lindon, and Sergio Freeman (who is also a Chaplain with the Air Force and the US Secret Service)

I really didn’t know what to expect when I agreed to go to the ICPC training last week. I had never attended anything like it, but it was being paid for by our Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and was needed for our department to meet certain government credentialing standards, so who was I to say “No”?

What I experienced was an event that was informative, encouraging, and challenging. Even though I have been a police chaplain for 3 years, most of the courses I had to take for my “basic” level of credentialing contained a lot I’d never learned from experience.

What the ICPC does is provide education and instruction to those who want to be or are already chaplains to law enforcement officers and the victims they serve. Police departments cannot pick and choose the faith traditions of those who want to serve as chaplains, and this training is not meant to promote one particular faith, either. The courses of instruction are designed to help the police chaplain do his job, regardless of denomination or faith.

For that matter, as a law enforcement chaplain, it’s not my primary job to promote my faith while performing the duties of the position. However, where I am able, I want to share the light of Christ in a very, very dark world most people never see. I’m very thankful that I got to fellowship with a lot of chaplains last week who were solid Christians and devoted followers of Jesus Christ, even though not all were in my particular denomination.

Below is a list of the 12 mandatory courses I attended over the 5 days of the seminar:

  • Explanation of the basic courses

    Intro to Law Enforcement Chaplaincy

  • Death Notification
  • Stress Management
  • Ceremonies and Events
  • Law Enforcement Family
  • Ethics
  • Confidentiality and Legal Liability
  • Responding to a Crisis
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicide
  • Officer Death and Injury
  • Sensitivity and Diversity

I also took another course on how First-Responder Chaplains (which is what police chaplains are) can be used during riot situations, along with attending a larger group session dealing with “implicit bias.”

They Came from Everywhere!

While I walked around the convention center during the conference, I thought it would be cool to collect pictures of department patches. The following photo collection is only a portion of the police (and fire) departments that were represented at this international event. Some chaplains that attended (like myself) didn’t have dress uniforms to wear, so the following photos only tell part of the story.

The Video

In order to give you a little more insight into my week, I made a little video and posted it on YouTube. I hope you will take the time to watch it.

But before you do, I need to clarify a couple of things.

First, as you watch the video clips of the memorial service, it may seem odd that people stood up when the pictures of canine officers were shown, but not when the people were shown. Well, what actually happened was that whenever the officers of a particular state were shown, the people there from that state would stand up and hold up their blue “candle.” However, when the fallen police dogs were shown, they were shown after officers from other countries were shown, so the American Flag came up instead of individual states. That’s why all Americans stood at the same time.

Second, I left a very disturbing statistic out of the video, and I want to share it here. New numbers were released to us as we were at the conference, and those numbers were heartbreaking and sobering: 4 times more police officers die of suicide than those who die in the line of duty.

Did you get that? Besides having the highest divorce rates, police officers take their own lives four times more often than those who die while performing their duty!

If there was no other reason to do what I do, that’s reason enough.

If you want to do something different, why not consider volunteering to be a Police Chaplain where you are? There are risks, but the rewards are well worth it – and those you serve will thank you. #ICPC4cops.org

Click here to visit ICPC’s website.

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ICPC Week In Lexington, KY

This week I’m not writing or posting very much, not even on ProverbialThought.com. The reason is that I am in Lexington, Kentucky, attending the 45th annual training seminar for the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC).

The purpose of this week-long seminar is to provide valuable training for law enforcement chaplains, along with the opportunity to meet and develope friendships with fellow chaplains from across the nation and around the world.

This is the first one of these conferences I’ve attended, and after the second day my brain is a little tired – information overload, as we say. But I do appreciate Sheriff Jim Hammond and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office for making this trip possible.

Tomorrow afternoon there will be a memorial service honoring the fallen. Thursday night there will be a more formal banquet. In between all the classes and meetings we try to get some food, meet new friends, compare notes, and work in time to study for Sunday sermons (the last one is me, at least).

I will share more about this conference, some photos, and some things I’ve been learning in another post. But if you’d like, you can go to the following website to learn a little more about the ICPC, police chaplains, etc. There may even be some recent video now posted.

Go to www.icpc4cops.org

In the meantime, hug a cop and say a prayer for him or her and their families.

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I Shocked the Sheriff, But I Did Not Shock the Deputy

Command Staff Meeting

This morning’s agenda. I was #2 on the list.

This morning I was once again honored to offer the “Leadership Charge/Prayer” at the beginning of his weekly Command Staff meeting. It’s just one duty that I perform as a chaplain with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office here in Chattanooga.

If you are unfamiliar with what I’m talking about, once a week our Sheriff (Jim Hammond) holds a meeting with his Command Staff (all the captains and chiefs over the different divisions of the department). At each of these meetings one of our chaplains opens up the meeting with a charge/devotion and prayer, then later closes the meeting with prayer. And since the Sheriff is not only an intimidating figure in his own right, but also a student of the Bible, it’s always encouraging when he doesn’t find fault with what we say. LOL!

The Leadership Charge

Since today was the 16th of the month, I decided to see if there was something from the 16th chapter of Proverbs that might be applicable. So, I went to ProverbialThought.com and found the commentary I had written for verse seven.

Proverbs 16:7 became the text, and my post on the verse (click this link to read) became my 5-minute sermonette.

My seat was next to the corner on the left.

There, from my seat at the table, I spoke to the Sheriff, his staff, and his captains of the need to please the Lord, not men. I spoke of God’s commandments and how that when we keep them, even our enemies have a hard time finding fault with us. Then I read a verse from the New Testament:

And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; – Colossians 3:23

“It comes down to a simple choice,” I said. “Do we try to make people happy, or do we try to please the Lord?” If all we care about is pleasing people, we will always fail; they are too finicky. But if our goal is to do everything we do to please God, He will handle the rest – including our Sheriff’s upcoming election.

So, what about “shocking” the Sheriff and not the deputy? Nobody was shocked, not even the Sheriff; I did what was expected of me.

It was a catchy title for a post, though 🙂 Wasn’t it?

 

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Filed under Bible Study, General Observations, ministry, politics

Just Look Ahead

This is the third time I’ve edited this post in an hour. It’s just hard to write. 

Sometimes we…

No, we can never stop the bad news; all we can do is decide what we’re going to do with it.

This morning I received some tragic news of a police officer getting shot and killed…by other police. I wish now I could have met him, but he worked a shift I haven’t yet visited. I have reasons for why I haven’t, but that doesn’t change anything. 

I’m a police Chaplain, that’s what I’m supposed to do: visit with all the officers I can, to minister to them in some way, if possible. 

But I didn’t with this young man. 

Now he’s gone. It’s in the hands of a merciful God. That’s all I know. 

I can’t go back and change what happened, what I did or didn’t do, but what I can do is look to the future as I keep my eyes on Jesus, my eyes wet with tears for the lost.

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Some Choose the Thorny Path

 Wise Solomon

It never fails to amaze me how people get themselves into trouble. But if the truth be known, many of those who end up getting hurt, whether it be physically or emotionally, chose the wrong path. Wise King Solomon put it this way…

There are thorns and snares on the path of the crooked; the one who guards himself stays far from them. – Proverbs 22:5 HCSB

Below are two stories about two different paths. Both contain dogs, but only one has a happy ending.

Whose Fault?

People who drink and drive should expect problems down the road. People who use illegal drugs should expect problems, also. Why is it, then, when these people get caught, harassed, or arrested by law enforcement, they blame the whole thing on the police?

Recently a man’s dog was shot and killed. After seeing his owner arrested for mouthing off to machine gun-toting policemen who had surrounded the house of a criminal, the 80 pound Rottweiler decided to attack. What was the arresting officer supposed to do but defend himself? Yet, the community where this happened is calling for the policeman to be punished. Why? Because a fool who couldn’t keep his foolish mouth shut forgot to restrain his killer dog?

Taking a Different Path

The above story reminds me of something that happened to me years ago. One night our German Shepherd was acting like a stranger was close by. There had been some suspicious activity down the street already, so I took my shotgun (we lived out in the county) and walked with my dog through the shadows around our house over toward the street.

Just before we came out of the shadows, I saw six policemen with M-16 assault rifles walking in my direction. Little did I know they were looking for a criminal who had just shot at another policeman.

My heart nearly stopped. “Oh God…please don’t let them see me…for the love of all that’s holy, dog, pleeeeezzzzz don’t bark…”

The dog stayed silent… We both survived.

I quietly took a different path.

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All Lives Matter. Period. Including Police.

A Re-Post

The following is a re-post of something I wrote not long ago. The reason for re-posting it should be obvious – multiple Dallas, Texas police officers shot and killed tonight (July 7th, 2016) at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

From NBCnews.com. Dallas Police swarm city looking for snipers.

More deaths of blacks have happened at the hands of police in the last day or two, and that is horrible. It’s horrible on several levels, not just that cops killed blacks, but that people, whatever the color, were killed. It’s horrible because even if the police did something wrong, activist groups are rising up and calling for civil chaos and blaming ALL police for atrocities. It’s horrible because we don’t know the whole story behind any of these deaths, because even when information is available, the hate in the black community has already assumed to be judge, jury, and now…from roof tops in Dallas…some have become executioner.

Folks, hate the police all you want, but try to go a week without any on the streets and see what happens. Go to the places where cops fear to tread and look at the quality of life. BLUE LIVES MATTER, too!

Because ALL LIVES MATTER!

So, here’s my previous post, and it’s never been more timely. You might also like to go to the sermon archives page and listen to a message I preached back in September of 2015. The idea there was that all lives matter, and the proof is John 3:16.


A Prayer

Lord, please help me. Help me, dear God, to say, or rather write, something profitable, something worth reading on this most difficult topic of race.

I need wisdom. I need guidance. May my words contribute to healing, not hate.

My Thoughts

I have not been writing as much as I would like, but I felt it necessary to take a few moments to address the whole idea around the rallying cry of “Black Lives Matter.”

Folks, being that I am not black, brown, or transgender (somehow gender has been added to the mix – just check out the website), I admit there are things I don’t understand. But there is one thing I do understand, and my race has nothing to do with this truth: ALL lives matter, not just ones with a particular color or sexual preference.

Let me reiterate. ALL LIVES MATTER.

Yes, I said it, and I will not back down. Why? Because to do so would be un-biblical and un-Christlike. Regardless how one might want to politicize the issue, as a follower of Jesus, as one who believes God made all mankind in His image, I must stand firmly on Truth, not catchphrases.

Racism is wrong. Bigotry is wrong. And taking a statement that excludes the inherent value of all human life as your mantra is also wrong.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I would not have agreed on several things, particularly in areas of theology and what is called the “social gospel.” Nevertheless, I believe Dr. King and I would have seen eye-to-eye regarding the “Black Lives Matter” thing. He would have said, “NO! NO! NO!” to all the violence and hatred. I believe he would be heartbroken at all the calls for unrest. He would certainly be ashamed of those who have used race as a tool for their own gain. Was it not Dr. King who envisioned a “color-blind” society?

If a person can’t say that “all lives matter” in public without being condemned, without being forced to apologize, then what does that say about the lives of others? What about my family? What about the Asian family down the road? Or the Indian woman that walks down the street with her husband and son? What about the Native American?

I guess one could argue the phrase is only meant to bring attention to the plight of the black community in America. One could also argue that by saying “all lives matter” one is, in a way, saying racism in America doesn’t exist. Possibly. But that’s a matter of opinion.

The truth is that black lives do matter, but so do white lives, brown lives, yellow lives, and red lives; “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” The proof was when Jesus offered Himself as a ransom so that every tribe and nation could be reconciled with God.

All lives matter. Period.

 

 

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations, Life/Death

Chaplain Baker Writes

Supporting Police

There has been so much hate and violence directed toward our police these days. So much so that recently I felt compelled to do more than just talk about it – I joined up.

No, I am not a policeman, per se, but I have become a police chaplain. Sitting idly by while people condemned the men and women I know who are honorable, self-sacrificing, and brave was no longer an option. More had to be done besides posting memes on Facebook.

One of the things I am expected to do as a chaplain is write for the Roll Call, a newsletter published by our Sheriff’s Office. I was featured in this month’s edition in what is called the Chaplain’s Corner. The text of the article is below, but you can view the original newsletter by clicking HERE or on the picture.

Roll Call snip

On the Verge?

Have you come to the point where you want to give up? Seriously, where are you in your career, your marriage, your friendships, even your faith? Are you tired? Exhausted with all the blood, sweat and tears? Admit it, guys, if life doesn’t wear you down to the point of exhaustion, trying to help those who don’t want to be helped will. There are times when, after all you’ve done, you wonder, “Is it really worth it?”

Yes! Yes it is!

Over nearly 30 years of ministry, and in the last few years, especially, there have been numerous times when I’ve done all I could do to help someone, only to get burned and burnt out. And what’s worse, even when I did everything right, I was the one who got hurt. Believe me, I get where you’re coming from. But so did the Apostle Paul.

Speaking to folks in a place called Galatia (Galatians 6:1- 10), Paul encouraged helping those who’d gotten into trouble. He said they should “do good unto all men…bear one another’s burdens,” etc. But he also said, “Let us not grow weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).

Faint? Did he say faint? Officers of the law certainly do “good,” that’s for sure. They help others, bear burdens, and carry more than their own share of the load. But police officers never faint! Or do they?

The Greek word translated as faint in the Authorized Version of Galatians 6:9 is actually a word which has the idea of being totally spent and wasted away. It’s sort of like if all your strength and emotions were held inside of you, but then “loosed,” like out of jail. Gone…done…spent.

So, yes, there will come a time, when in the process of just doing our jobs, we will feel like quitting, like throwing in the towel just before the buzzer. We will find ourselves with little or no emotional reserve, ready to “faint.” But THAT is the time we should NOT give up! That is the time to lean on others and press on!

Remember, in “due season” we will reap what we sow, so keep plowing ahead; harvest will come.  

– Chaplain Anthony Baker

Do Something

So, what can you do? If you are a pastor, why not consider becoming a police chaplain? There’s always a need.

But if all you can do is write, talk to others, or simply pray…do something! There are bad apples in every bunch, but those who “serve and protect” need to be served and protected, too.

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