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'We need the church to stand up': Law enforcement officers face rising anti-police sentiment

Police, Memorial, Law enforcement
Law enforcement officers participate in the National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May 15, 2022. |

As law enforcement officers gathered in our nation’s capital to mark National Police Week, some behind the badge warn of a rising tide of anti-police sentiment across the United States.

After two years of virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, National Police Week has returned to live, in-person events from May 11 to May 17 in Washington, D.C., to recognize those who serve and those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

The National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum held ceremonies to honor the fallen officers whose names were recently added to the memorial, including the event’s 34th annual Candlelight Vigil last Friday.

This year, 619 names were added to the memorial — 472 of whom were killed in the line of duty in 2021, including 319 officers who died from COVID-19. The remainder lost their lives in previous years.

Rebecca Lynn, the author of Proud Police Wife: 90 Devotions for Women Behind the Badge and a police wife of 15 years, told The Christian Post the memorial is an opportunity for families to see the lives and service of their loved ones celebrated.

“We can remember those officers that we lost, and really thank their family members and give support to those family members as well, to let them know the legacy of their loved one will not be forgotten,” Lynn said. 

Lynn says since 2020 — and especially in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota — media headlines have been a source of stress and tension for officers.

“While people are moving on with their lives, trying to get past the pandemic ... what 2020 brought with protests and riots, people kind of think that’s over, but it’s not over,” she said. “Law enforcement officers and their families and departments are still dealing with the kickback from what we’ve seen.”

It’s a reality that was recently addressed in comments made by FBI Director Christopher Wray, in which he warned of a “phenomena” of violence against police officers.  

Wray told “60 Minutes” that the nearly 60% increase in police killings — including 73 officers murdered in 2021 — “is one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn’t get enough attention.”

Adam Davis, a former law enforcement officer, FBI-trained hostage negotiator and co-author of Prayers & Promises for First Responders, told The Christian Post it’s time for Christians to lead the way in civically defending law enforcement. He’s calling for those supporting police to “be louder than the voice of those who oppose us and who hate us.”

“We need the Church to stand up and not be cowards. We need the Church to be a voice of the righteous for those who are good,” he said, citing Revelation 21:8. 

“We can’t sit on the sideline anymore. We have to be a voice.”

 Candlelight Vigil for fallen police officers
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Candlelight Vigil for fallen police officers in May 2021. |

Davis warned that the anti-police narrative coming from the mainstream media is part of a larger effort to discredit local law enforcement.

“We have to address the reality here. ... There are organizations and groups that have a political agenda, and in order to further their agenda, they need cops out of the way,” said Davis. “That’s the sad reality, but it’s a fact.

“They’re not going to stop going after cops. They’re going to come after your families, they're going to attack your families, and guess who’s going to be there when there’s a fraction of the law enforcement presence when evil comes to your doorstep?”

The narrative is also pushing more law enforcement officers to consider changing careers altogether, according to Lynn.

“Honestly, the last two years have been incredibly difficult for law enforcement and their families,” she said. “We’ve seen law enforcement officers choose to leave this profession because of that scrutiny. And what really happened is people will just look at a headline from a news media [outlet] and just regurgitate a headline, instead of actually learning facts about certain situations regarding law enforcement."

“What’s happened is law enforcement as a whole has just been dehumanized, and people don’t really look at officers as actual human beings anymore. They don't see them as mothers, fathers, coaches, your neighbors.”

Davis contends the effort to dehumanize officers began long before COVID-19 and 2020.

“That started in movies, where people would cheer on the villain as they would attack cops, or the cop was corrupt or whatever. This has been something that’s been happening for a long time,” he said.  

“This is a reminder that every man and woman that puts on a uniform, that puts on a badge and a duty belt, every man and woman that you see that maybe pulled you over, gives you a warning or a ticket or works a wreck in response to your worst day, they’re human beings, they’re deserving of grace, they’re deserving of mercy.” 

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