With a blizzard barreling up the East Coast and light snow already falling, mourners filled the streets and pews of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral today to remember 22-year-old Jason Rivera – one of two police officers killed in the line of duty last Friday in Harlem. Wilbert Mora, Officer Rivera’s partner, also died after the pair were ambushed as they responded to a domestic dispute.
In a tear-filled eulogy, Rivera’s widow Dominque (they were just married in October) said:
“Today I’m still in this nightmare that I wish I never had, full of rage and anger, hurt, sad, and torn. Although I gained thousands of blue brothers and sisters, I’m the loneliest without you.”
She then went on to criticize the dysfunctional policing policies in New York City:
“The system continues to fail us. We are not safe anymore, not even members of service. I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new DA … I’m sure all of our blue family is tired too. But I promise your death won’t be in vain. We’ll take the watch from here.”
The ”Blue Watch” has always been a dangerous line of work, of course, but according to the FBI, 2021 was the deadliest in 20 years, excluding the 9/11 attacks. A recently released report indicates 73 police officers were killed last year alone, and 2022 is off to a tragic start with numerous police deaths across the country.
It takes a special type of person to voluntarily wade into danger each and every hour of each and every day of duty. Yet, there are nearly 700,000 law enforcement officers in the United States and all of them knowingly assume the deadly risk that goes along with the job.
They need and deserve our prayers.
It’s probably safe to say most of us, at least at times, take police officers for granted. And let’s be honest – some have even gotten on our nerves. Truth be told, most of the time we should blame ourselves for our frustrations – a cop enforcing a speed limit saves lives, maybe even our own. They’re just doing their jobs. Are there some who go rogue and break the law themselves? Yes. But tell me what line of work doesn’t have its small share of bad actors.
We’ve seen what happens without them, and what we’ve seen is culture at its worst. It’s looting and lawlessness – madness and mayhem. Police help keep the peace. They work so we can sleep and live and play without fear.
The rise of police deaths is attributable, I think, to a constellation of avoidable factors:
It’s the result of open borders, decimated departments, spineless governments not allowing officers to do their jobs or backing them up when they do – along with a refusal to prosecute aggressively and deter repeat offenders.
At the root of the problem, though, is a spiritual emptiness and a rising sense of hopelessness for these offenders, many of whom hail from broken homes and who have broken hearts with little or no sense of direction.
As we pray for our men and women in uniform, let’s also pray for those who are on the edge and desperately in need of Jesus and His saving grace and assurance of a better way.
We lament but we do not lose hope – because we can bring our concerns to the Lord. Floating around on the internet is a prayer for police officers. Its author is unknown. Save it on your phone or put it on your fridge. Please consider using it as a reminder to pray regularly for our law enforcement officers and their families:
A Police Officer’s Prayer
Almighty God, Whose great power and eternal wisdom embraces the universe:
Watch over all policemen and law enforcement officers. Protect them from harm in the performance of their duty to stop crime, robberies, riots, and violence.
We pray – help them keep our streets and homes safe day and night. We commend them to Your loving care because their duty is dangerous. Grant them your unending strength and courage in their daily assignments.
Dear God, protect these brave men and women, grant them your almighty protection, unite them safely with their families after duty has ended.
Photo from Twitter.