One only needs to tune in to the evening network news to hear the negativity directed towards law enforcement agencies by certain groups that feel they have been treated unfairly. And one might also understand why it is somewhat confusing to the men and women in that chosen career field to understand why five fellow Police Officers in Dallas, Texas were murdered and several others wounded while they were only trying to protect a group of people exercising their Constitutional right to protest. For whatever the reason for this person to commit such a horrendous act of violence, it has not had its desired effect upon the general public at large. All across our nation, churches, clubs, businesses and individual citizens have banded together recently to show their full support, appreciation and concern for not only those killed and wounded Dallas Police Officer and their grieving families but for law enforcement agencies throughout our country. That same type of very positive support and appreciation has recently been reflected in Liberty County in so many ways.

On Tuesday evening, July 13, Pastor Ken Smith and his congregation at the Faith Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church in Tarkington Prairie not only opened their church doors for law enforcement but their hearts as well. Pastor Smith or as most know him around the Sheriff’s Office as “Chaplain” Smith is one of six Chaplains who volunteer their time with the Sheriff’s “Family Assistance Unit”. His church held a prayer vigil for all Liberty County law enforcement personnel and it was estimated that well over 80 law enforcement Officers from different agencies, church members and citizens who dropped in participated in prayers for not only our local peace Officers but for law enforcement personnel everywhere. Prayers continued in groups and individuals from 7:pm to 9:pm in this continued show of positive support and encouragement to attending Officers in letting them know they have the full backing of their community. Each Officer was given a blue “prayer cloth” to be carried in their patrol car or on their person as well as a “goodie bag” containing refreshments. The evening was filled with prayer, laughter and assurance from Chaplain Smith and his church members that his church will keep all Officers on their prayer list on an on-going basis and that his church will subscribe to the term, “got your six”. A term recently coined to say, “ We have your back”. As one speaker mentioned, it was difficult to express in mere words how much this show of positive support was appreciated by the agency heads who were in attendance and by the rank and file Officers as well.

There have been several such prayer vigils in Liberty County recently with more planned in the near future. Just last week President and Captain Donna Weibelhaus of the Sheriff’s all volunteer Mounted Posse Unit sponsored a prayer vigil with her members in the City of Liberty city park and many citizens and peace Officers attended that candle light prayer event.

On Thursday, July 14th. the CC Driver Revival Church located at 805 Sam Wiley Dr. in Cleveland will have a similar prayer vigil for peace Officers starting at 7:30pm and the public is invited to join their members in prayer. All Police Officers, Deputies, Constables and D.P.S Troopers both on duty and off duty, are encouraged to be in attendance and meet those citizens of whom they serve and who are keeping them in their daily prayer.

It has been said that Sir Robert Peel, who is considered to be the father of modern law enforcement, said many years ago that, “ Without Law there would be anarchy and with anarchy there can be no civilized society”. With the positive attitude of most of our citizens as demonstrated in recent weeks towards their local law enforcement agencies this negative atmosphere will, in time, fade away and the confidence in those who are sworn to “Serve and Protect” will be assured once again.

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Left to right, D.P.S Trooper Richmond, Cleveland Police Chief Broussard, Liberty County Sheriff Rader, Pastor Ken Smith, Constable Hunter and Associate Pastor Smith.

Photo by LCSO Vita O’Reilly

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