I know it’s no surprise to you that since 2020, law enforcement agencies around the country have reported officer shortages.
All agencies experience small shortages due to regular anticipated turnover and retirements, but never before have we seen such a huge vacuum of peace officers across the country. Indeed, some of our major departments report being anywhere from 200 to 5,000 officers short. As I look at these numbers, I can’t help but think about the officers in the field today, the ones who are continuing to serve through the difficulty and strife - the remnant of peace officers across our country.
Remnant is a powerful word! Merriam-Webster dictionary defines remnant as a small surviving group, and if you are familiar with Old Testament scripture, you have probably noticed references to remnants there. Remnants of believers are mentioned after war, plague, famine, or drought. Usually, the remnant has experienced loss to a great degree, whether through friends and family who lost their lives in battle or through companions who fled to escape trouble and persecution. Similar to what we see in scripture, no matter how rough things have gotten over the centuries, after the dust settles, there is often a small surviving group who continue to place their faith and trust in God.
The good news for those who remain is that they do not serve alone! Romans 13 tells us all authority - all areas of leadership - come from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. I want to remind all of you who are still serving as a peace officer that God has placed you there. And if He has placed you in law enforcement, then He has equipped you, by all means, to do the job. The key is to depend on God totally rather than trying to do the job of a peace officer in your own strength and in your own wisdom. I don’t know about you, but striving in my own strength has never turned out well for me.
I love what David writes in Psalm 101. If you are a part of this remnant of peace officers, David’s prayer gives you a down-to-earth, real-life example of how you can live your life on and off the job:
I will sing of your love and justice, Lord.
I will praise you with songs.
I will be careful to live a blameless life - when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity in my own home.
I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil.
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.
I will not endure conceit and pride.
I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me.
I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence.
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip.
Psalm 101, NLT
Remember - God has placed you where you are for this time, to be His examples. Without a doubt, all eyes (and cameras) are on your every move on the street. This is why the Board of Directors and I are asking our members and supporters to join us as we pray for the wonderful remnant of peace officers God is raising up right now!
For those of you still on the job in these difficult times -
- Know that the God of the Universe, the Creator of everything that is, was, or ever will be, who stitched you together in your mother’s womb, who knows your name has placed you exactly where you are so you can be His ambassador. You are an ambassador for Christ cleverly disguised as a peace officer!
- You are not alone. There is an army of FCPO believers praying for you. God goes before you, He has your six and He is to your right and to your left. God has you surrounded.
- Be the example Christ wants you to be.
Paul Lee, Executive Director (Retired Captain, Chattanooga P.D.)
Paul Lee retired from the Chattanooga Police Department with 29 years of service. He has been an FCPO member since 1995, is a former Chapter Chairman and has served in various capacities on the National Board.