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Statistics tell us that law enforcement officers will experience an average of 800 traumatic events over the course of a 20-year career.  The average citizen will experience 1 or 2... in a lifetime.  You can imagine the toll this can take on an officer's emotional, physical and spiritual well-being... or can you?  Here are just a few of the challenges facing our local law enforcement community:
  • Morale is a constant battle
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Injured officers often feel left behind
  • Retention is an increasing challenge
  • Far too many marriages are ending in divorce
  • Many officers do not feel like they are making a positive impact
At Shield Chaplaincy we believe that if officers are emotionally and spiritually healthy, they are more likely to serve longer, do a better job while serving, and find greater fulfillment both at work and at home.  Working in cooperation with Roanoke City Police, Roanoke County Police, Salem Police, and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, we aim to provide full-time chaplains to support our local law enforcement officers.  Chaplains Stephenson and Potter have met privately with hundreds of officers and have done more than a thousand ride-alongs with officers and deputies from these four departments, allowing them to see first-hand everything law enforcement encounters during their shifts.  Some of SHIELD's mission-specific goals are to:
  • Help boost morale by serving as CEOs of a sort - Chief Encouragement Officers.  This necessitates being consistently visible in each department.
  • Provide opportunities to equip officers and their families with emotional survival practices to help with peace of mind, family life, and job retention.
  • Provide hospital visitation.
  • Officiate weddings and provide marital counseling.
  • Provide death notification support.
  • Officiate funerals and follow up with those who have experienced loss.
  • Serve on retreats for officers and dispatchers dealing with post-traumatic stress.
  • Provide first-level support to help prevent outside matters from festering and coming into the workplace.
  • Serve with VALEAP (Virginia Law Enforcement Assistance Program), assisting with Post Critical Incident Seminars and Peer Support debriefs.
  • Grow our list of qualified professionals from a variety of fields to whom we can refer officers and/or their family members in matters beyond our capacity to help.
  • Organize and train a limited number of volunteer chaplains to be on-call to assist with traumatic events with the public as needed.
  • Be a liaison to faith communities throughout the valley on behalf of our local police departments.
  • Raise extra funds that will allow SHIELD  to bless officers by purchasing needed equipment and supplies they would otherwise have to pay for out of their own pockets.
  • Provide general support and encouragement.
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