EXCELSIOR SPRINGS – Pisgah Baptist Church here held a summit for area law enforcement command staff on March 15. Pastor Doug Richey, also a chaplain for the Missouri Highway Patrol, coordinated the event which was held at the historic Elms Hotel and Spa.
The guest speaker was Capt. Steve Lambert of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Virginia State Police.
Lambert used scenarios from past investigations to demonstrate the need for agency interaction and trust between fellow officers in order to mitigate risk and protect the public. He provided case studies from scenarios where coordinated efforts enhanced the conclusion of the investigation.
Throughout the daylong summit, the officers discussed personality issues, trust factors and interagency cooperation. All help in solving crimes and in protecting police officers and the public.
“I have spent a lot of time on my knees praying for my guys,” Lambert said.
One case “ended far better than anyone expected. The perpetrator gave himself up. With what was found on site he did not have to and could have taken a lot of officers down with him.”
Lambert stressed the need for spiritual and emotional care for police and first responders. At the end of the summit two documents were given to the officers affirming them in their roles and summarizing what the Bible teaches about law enforcement.
Richey, a police and fire chaplain for seven years, stressed the need for churches to uphold and undergird the efforts of law enforcement personnel in their communities.
“You have to establish trust on the front end,” he said. “They have to know who you are. Law enforcement officers are paid to be skeptical. They, by nature, tend to be apprehensive if they don’t know anything about the person.
“If you are going to coordinate something like this, you have to invest time and energy to build trust in their eyes. As you invest time in that you look for ways to show you are looking out for their interest and are being a support to them. As you build those relationships you are always in a listening mode. What are their interests? What bothers them? What are their stresses in life? The kind of hours they work?
“You listen and wait for those opportunities to share Christ. You trust the Spirit of God who will open the door to talk about faith. When that opportunity comes you don’t shy away from talking about who you are and who they can be in Christ.”
Richey said Pisgah Baptist provided the summit as an outreach to the police officers of their area in the hope that bridges will be built to their community.