This Sunday is first responder Sunday at my home congregation, Tree of Life Lutheran Church in Conroe, Texas. We are deeply grateful for all first responders, but due to a number of recent shootings, this statement focuses on law-enforcement today. I am grateful for Kyle Seitzinger, US Marshal, Scott Collins, Police Chief, Aubrey ISD, Bill Mintz, and Chuck Fleeger, thirty-year law-enforcement veteran, for taking time to read and offer suggestions for this statement.

For Our Officers

In the wake of the recent, senseless shootings of officers while on duty, we express our support for those in law enforcement. We give thanks for those who answer the call to be public servants.

We recognize that peace officers are called upon to do a very difficult job. We ask them to identify and apprehend criminals, those who would prey upon the weakest of us, while putting their life on the line for a salary that often requires them to work overtime or extra duty, to make ends meet. “Routine activity” like a traffic stop can be a potentially life-threatening situation. Our officers have to be constantly vigilant.

We believe one officer dying in the line of duty is one too many. We are grateful that number of officer deaths by gunfire is half what it was in 2001, and that the number is down by 10% so far this year. We want to see this trend continue.

We want our officers to be safe. We want less crime, safer streets, and fewer gunshots.

Because of our high regard for law enforcement, we also want our officers to be well-trained and held to the highest standards possible. Racial profiling and excessive force are an affront to a civil society and to the values of the vast majority of officers who serve professionally and faithfully. We recognize that being against the use of excessive force is not being against the police. It is a commitment to quality police work and accountability. Those who would abuse the authority of the badge endanger the trust that must exist between a police force and the community it serves.

Meanwhile, we lament that the number of unwarranted fatal shootings of suspects is on the rise. We are compelled to shed light on this trend and ask difficult questions.

As followers of Jesus, who was unjustly executed, our faith in Christ calls us to stand with all victims of violence and injustice. The love of Christ calls us to pray for all victims of violence and to work for peace and justice.

Officer Scott Collins (in the hat) in Flower Mound.