As I’ve traveled down the road of career transition these past two years, the one thing that has been constant throughout the journey is the experience of discovery. I had the opportunity last week to share the mission and vision of Public Safety Ministries with the Ramsey County Chiefs of Police Association at their monthly meeting. It was a great experience and I was overwhelmed with the response of support I received from them. I gave an overview of the ministry, the mission, the outreach and the services projects we are involved in. As I was talking about the Chaplaincy Services Coordination project that I am working on in partnership with The Minneapolis Police Chaplain Corp and The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, I used an image to describe the project that I had never used before.
The day before the presentation I was reading for a book that I received from one of our police chaplains, Father Tim Power, at my retirement from Eden Prairie PD. My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. holds a regular place in my collection of books I use for meditation and devotional reading.
In one of the stories she shares she tells of how she struggled with an assignment she had where she was supposed to “build community” among the employees of a hospice organization. They set aside one morning of a retreat to accomplish the task. When she sought out advice from a colleague she was give the following advice: “You don’t need to make that happen (building the community), Rachael. You just need to make it visible.”
As I described the efforts we have made towards identifying and coordination chaplain services around the state I have found the same thing to be true. We don’t need to create a chaplain services community, we just need to make the existing one visible. Of course there is a lot of other work to do as we strive towards building continuity of services, standards and identities and professionals in police chaplaincy, but the community is there and it is active. Making it visible, first to ourselves and then to others is a great first step.
There always seems to be plenty of visibility in our society of the problems and challenges we face. A simple story in a book has given me an image, an image of making visible all that is good in life, that will become a guiding light of this ministry.
Stories of the Street: Images of the Human Condition is a personal collection of stories I witnessed as a police chaplain on patrol with sworn police patrol officers.
The intent of this book is to amplify the variety of incidents to which police officers are dispatched and their encounters with tragedy, crime, and abuse. The focus is on the daily shift life and the human emotions of officers and citizens involved in significant and symptomatic events. Stories of the Street: Images of the Human Condition illuminate a normal police patrol shift that captures and personifies the realities of the street.
The book is intended to provide police families and the community with a broader insight and understanding into an average day for patrol officers serving their communities with honor, courage, and integrity. Having a resource that gives family members an insight into a day’s work of their loved one will undoubtedly help in understanding the stressors that “their officer” encounters daily.
The true-life stories demonstrate the real emotion officers and citizens feel when they encounter tragedy, crime and abuse. They capture and personify the heart wrenching realities of the street providing insights into an average day of service filled with honor, courage and integrity.
“As the wife of a veteran police officer, this book has opened my eyes and my heart to the emotional roller-coaster police officers are faced with every day they go to work.” Police officer spouse
Rev. Steve Best
Volunteer Police Chaplain (Ret.)
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