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Congregations Becoming Safe Stops in the Neighborhood

It was about 1 o’clock in the morning, and we had just finished up a call for service. I was doing a ride-a-long with a police officer. The call load had died down, and it was now time to get caught up on the paperwork from the busy shift. I joked with my officer that he didn’t need me as a chaplain in his car, what he needed was a secretary. The calls we were on that night required quite a bit of documentation. We pulled into a dimly lit church parking lot, and the officer began writing at his desk – a clipboard and steering wheel. As I sat next to him thinking about what it looks like for me as a chaplain to support this officer, I wandered why we were sitting in the parking lot of this church instead of going in. The Safe Stop program began to take shape.

Scott, along with his pastor and congregational president,
receives an award for their service to the community. 
Safe Stops are essentially a substation for officers located in a church. The Safe Stop is a non-contact office that is away from the public’s eye. The Safe Stop is a place that officers can grab a cup of coffee, cold drink, snack, and write a report if needed. Officers have to continually be vigilant of their surroundings, and the Safe Stop is often the only place of peace and rest in an officer’s busy day. This idea was born from recognizing a need, and meeting that need. Our vision as chaplains is to “serve those who serve us”. I think this applies to us as the church as well. The Safe Stop program is currently in two Rocky Mountain Synod churches and growing. I believe the program has been successful because we as the church came along side our law enforcement community and accompanied them in their journey. Augustine challenged us with “it is solved by walking”. Accompaniment gives life when we justly walk the journey with others.

Scott Moore serves as the Lead Chaplain at the Wheat Ridge Police Department and serves as the Director of Mission, Youth and Family Ministries at a RMS congregation. He has served his congregation for 19 years and the police department for 2 years.

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