Calling All Law Enforcement Christians

I have been facing an ongoing career discernment/crisis lately that involves of all things, the two possible paths of becoming either a theologian (and or Youth Minister/Religious Ed Coordinator) or entering into the field of Law Enforcement with an eye on one day becoming a Forest Ranger. I know, quite opposite ends of the career spectrum LOL. I have been weighing the pros and cons of both career paths for awhile, but I can’t seem to make up my mind and set my heart to one path or another. I love the church and have been working towards getting a degree in Theology for some time (about 2 ½ years). I love learning about Theology and teaching others about aspects of God, His Son and His Church, that they might not yet know about or understand completely, and in that way helping them to better understand their faith while at the same time codifying my own.

But there is no $$ in this field and I have to also consider my primary vocations as a husband and a father to three small children, and my desire to provide for them financially as well as spiritually. I plan to apply for the diaconate when I come of age anyway, but I find it hard to envision doing any line of work as a paying career that doesn’t deal directly in some way with something Christological each and every day, let alone dealing with some of the most seedy and undesirable elements of society. I realize that there are a lot of good people I would encounter as a cop or other Law Enforcement agent as well of course.

I have always wanted to protect people in some way and I guess that these two professions can be seen as linked in that they both do seek the well-being of others (one more in the physical realm, one more in the spiritual realm). But I have so many doubts about my abilities to be a good cop or later a Ranger, to keep up with the physical demands, to remain committed to Christ in the midst of my duties and possibly working alongside a largely unbelieving or practicing force. I don’t want to lose sight of Christ because of an all encompassing focus on Law Enforcement, but at the same time I want to do something that will make my kids proud of me and that has room for growth and increasing wages. I have been so torn of late to the point where sometimes I almost feel as though the crisis of career choices manifests itself in tangible ways (I get angry easily or can’t sleep etc.)

I guess I just want to know if there is anybody in Law Enforcement out there that can recommend any particular prayer and or methodology that helped you in your own discernment. Also, how has being a cop affected your faith? Do you find it hard to remain Christ-like and loving towards your enemies in the face of your day to day tasks? If you have a family, how has your familial relationship with your spouse and kid(s) been affected by your profession? Should someone like me even consider this profession if I have these kinds of doubts, or is it really the type of field that I need to be 100% on board and decisive in, in order to be successful? How demanding is this field physically but even more so how demanding do you find it spiritually and emotionally? Sorry for the long post and all of the questions, but I am hoping that there is someone online who can maybe help shed some light on this type of work and what I can expect, what I should be asking myself and asking the Lord in prayer, etc. Thanks for your time and God bless you, you all are in my prayers.


That’s a great question and having been retired for a year after a twenty-six year stint in law enforcement let me give you my humble opinion.
First off I don’t want to sound jaded or disgruntled, but here goes.
The first question who have to ask yourself is this, “if I have to, can I take the life of another person ?” For twenty-six years I wore that ability on my right hip and I knew how to use it.
Secondly your not going to be dealing with the “rich and famous” you’ll be working with the poor and disenfranchised. If your smart you’ll learn that your best weapon sits right under your nose and the really good cops know how to use that weapon best. Remember the people who call for you are at critical mass, so to speak and want you there yesterday. And you’ll know good your communication skills are after you have to go the parents of a kid you found hanging in the park or with his brains blown out after his girlfriend left him for the football captain who is more exciting than a kid who plays the violin.
I worked with alot of good cops and some not so good. Some who would say that instead of going to Mass they belong to St Mattress. Others who tell young waitresses I’m not married, my wife is. These are people who need our prayers. Treat everyone with respect. Remeber we are all God’s creatures.
Stay healthy, exercise, if you can bring your meal with you from home. And stay true to your family - keep those lines of communication open ALL THE TIME. Pray to St. Michael ask him to speak to the BOSS for you and don’t forget the BVM she’s on your side too, don’t be afraid to ask for her help.
I’ve been blessed by having a strong faith and coming from a family of cops. I got into Confirmation preparation classes in CCD and now I’m the DRE for my pairsh, I also instruct at another parish. AND GET A SUBSCRIPTION TO THIS ROCK MAGAZINE[that Keating kid is pretty smart] you might have to explain your faith to a fellow christian cop or person.
I hope I was able to answer your question.
Good luck don’t let them get you down and I’ll keep you on my ever growing prayer list.:thumbsup:

Is there any way you can join the cop reserves first to see if it’s what you’re thinking it is?

My 13 year-old son wants to be a cop, and we’re trying to point him in the direction of forensics because it makes more money. He’ll do the Explorers once he gets to the right age.

I’m sure your parish knows of retired cops, too. Be sure to look around.

The different departments have different pay scales, too, so be sure to look at not only local police, but local sheriff, and your state’s highway patrol.

Sorry if this sounds disjoined. I’m a bit under the weather at present.


Good morning Tunemeister

Thank you very much for taking the time to write such an in-depth and comprehensive post in response to my question/ongoing discernment, I really appreciate it. Your words of wisdom are profound and your spiritual advice is sound. Maybe we could be the first members of a private theological police force! :slight_smile:

You have given me a lot to think about. Thanks again and most especially thank you for your prayers, I will be sure to offer up my own on your behalf.

Your brother in Christ,
Grey Pilgrim

Good morning Cloisters

Thanks for your insights concerning what specific field of law enforcement I might be more interested in, etc., I really appreciate the suggestions and will certainly factor them into my ultimate decision one way or the other. Many thanks and God love you.

Your brother in Christ,
Grey Pilgrim

Friar John Paul Cafiero (sp?) was a NYC police officer before becoming a priest.

I would be highly interested to see what happened to the OP as I am going through a discernment process similar to this one.

Any other police officers or other LE that are Catholic and have advice for this 21 year old ‘almost college grad with decent grades, was going to go to med school, switched to law school, was going to be a corporate lawyer or lobbyist in DC, but now wants to help others instead by being a police officer’?

Thank you for any advice, prayers, knowledge, wisdom, or help you can bestow upon me!!!

Please do not resurrect old threads. The OP may no longer post on CAF. If the topic is of interest, please start a new thread.


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