This week, Billy Graham’s Rapid Response Team is running a chaplain law enforcement training program in Cullman, Alabama — one of many week-long trainings hosted across the United States.
Every day, police officers report to work, their lives are in danger. But that’s not all. Their mental health is also at stake.
In recent years, more police officers have died from suicide than in the line of duty.
November 29 – Dec. 3: Grand Prairie, Texas
7-11. February: Sweetwater, Florida
7-11. March: Evansville, Indiana
25–29 April: Edneyville, North Carolina
With such a great need for emotional and spiritual support, police forces across the country are calling on Billy Graham’s Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) to train their officers for chaplains – knowing that these trainings are based on God’s Word.
“Unlike any other priesthood course I have ever seen, we are Bible-based and Christ-centered,” explained David Rutledge, co-manager of the Rapid Reaction Team of the Rapid Reaction Team. “Jesus is the heart of it. We are obvious about that. ”
Rutledge and other law enforcement chaplains Billy Graham conduct training across the country – from the top of Florida to the California coast.
These one-week trainings are open not only to active and retired officers, but also to pastors and community members with a heart for law enforcement. Through lessons and discussions, chaplains Billy Graham immerse themselves deeply in the challenges officers face and offer advice on how attendees can support them. They also instruct chaplain trainees who are themselves officers how not to burn out by helping others.
“We get a healthy mix of different people that contributes a lot to the discussions,” said Eric Hubbard, Rutledge’s fellow manager and another former employee. His wife took a 40-hour course.
The material does not change depending on the location. But the Holy Spirit always appears to meet those present in a personal way.
“This training was real and pure, and God was present.” said one participant.
“I didn’t want the week to end” added another.
“God is using you. Continue as He allows. ” said another.
So far, BG-RRT has hosted more than ten trainings, and invitations are still coming. And Rutledge, who has worked in the police force for more than 30 years, sees it as a sign of a revival.
“When I first started in 1980, no one was talking about faith,” he said. “Now there is a spiritual hunger. Christian ministers are much more open about their faith. “Being a part of it is just amazing.”
Hubbard, who has had a 20-year career in law enforcement, noted that recent tensions have affected the change.
““People now realize that their hope is not in what they thought it was,” he said. “There is all this unreasonable anger towards them. They realize that there must be more than this.
“We must explain that there is greater hope, and his name is Jesus.”