Early in the morning I rise and examine if I slept well or not. I can usually tell by how serious my headache is. No headache translates to good sleep. I will lay my uniform out the night before so I can get ready for the mission faster. This MultiCam uniform, for the operator, gives them tactical advantage but for me this uniform represents team, cohesion and trust. I feel pride and honor when I wear it. I want to be on time so I map out the pre-staging point the night before. I DO NOT want to be the last person there. As a support unit to SWAT I need to be ready and attentive to the team as they get ready for the mission. I watch the team gear up and stand ready to help wire the vest with radios or snap their rifle slings in place. I make small talk and just wait to help. I pay attention to countenance and language. If I pick up anything out of the ordinary I simply pray quietly for that deputy. They don’t know I do but I do. As the team gathers for a mission briefing I pay attention to the mission objectives and admire the courage it takes these deputies to walk into a potential cluster of problems that lawlessness can bring. All the training the team goes through boils down to these moments. This thought process and routine I go through leads me to the same prayer every time they deploy.
“God please grant this team the wisdom to make good decisions, the strength to overcome obstacles and the speed to resolve conflict.”
I stand in the Tactical Operations Command vehicle with a radio in my ear and listen, listen, listen. Communication is important so much so it can be the difference between a successful mission or pure frustration that could lead to mistakes. I again pray, “Wisdom, Strength, and Speed.”
Whether it’s an arrest warrant or a search warrant the potential for a suspect to fight is real and I think about the spouses, children, family and friends of these deputies. I know the level of training these deputies go through to help keep them safe but those loved ones who must wait can only imagine the worst so they worry… I again pray, “Wisdom, Strength, and Speed.”
My adrenaline doesn’t pump like it did in my first year as a SWAT chaplain but I do feel a sense of relief when I hear code 4 (all ok) and the team is headed back to staging. The team gears down and I thank God for their safety and as the team disperses I again pray, “Wisdom, Strength, and Speed… On mission and in life God grant them these 3 things.”
I am honored to serve and be called a team member with men and women who place their lives in jeopardy to protect others and be guardians of our communities. I love my job and I love these deputies.