The Christian Police Officer

The Christian Police Officer – By: Officer Johnathan Fontenot

I am a Christian, but I am also a Police Officer. The challenges of being a Christian or a Police Officer are in and of themselves diverse, but being both at the same time has proved to be more challenging than I could have ever imagined.golden badge

My journey with God began in the summer of 2009. My life was completely transformed, and God gave me an intense desire to know more about him. So, I endeavored to study everything I could get my hands on from Theology to biology, and even cosmology.

Even so, I had a desire to make a career in law enforcement. Therefore I started on a degree in Criminal Justice. I knew that it was not required, but I wanted the degree to further my understanding in my chosen field of interest. I eventually started to apply to Thibodaux PD and LPSO, but to no avail.

On my second application to Thibodaux PD, I was hired and here I am today as a police officer and a Christian.

Being a police officer is very challenging because the arena of responsibility is large and diverse, but I will do my best to explain why being a police officer and a Christian is even more challenging.

First, most of the people you deal with are not Christians. Whether in the office or on the street, you do not have the advantage of a community of believers. I went on a mission trip to the Philippines for two months, spreading the gospel in eight different locations. strength

It was tough and uncomfortable at times, but I always had my team. I was never alone, and I always had brothers and sisters in Christ who encouraged and rebuked me when I needed it. I do not have that advantage in this profession. I have to make decisions to the best of my knowledge.

I am exposed to gross immorality, childlike behavior among adults, drunkards, fights, drugs, and many other things. When I am exposed to these things, there is no pastor by my side to comfort me, I have to be strong and know that God will give me the strength I need to endure with patience all that I see.

I have to constantly remember that I live in a fallen world ravaged by sin, but I also must remember that one day sin will be no more. I must keep this mentality, but at the same time I must do my job, investigate what happened, and make a decision on what to do about it. It is no easy task, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Secondly, there is the issue of evangelism. As a Christian, I am commanded to make disciples, teaching others to observe all that Christ commanded and baptize in the name of the trinity, but that would not go over so well with my superiors.

I can’t run around teaching about Jesus, and condemning citizens for their sinful acts. I can’t teach the gospel to every person I meet on the street, or even in the office for that matter. So, what can I do? I like to think of it in terms of a quote I one heard that goes like this, “Evangelize at all times, and use words when necessary”.

That really is the solution. I can emulate Christ by my character and treatment of others. In this way, doors to evangelism open up. It doesn’t happen every day, but there have been occasions when I have had the opportunity to give Godly advice or counsel to someone who I arrested, or just ran into on a complainant.

I cherish these opportunities because they are few but powerful. Everyone I work with knows I’m a Christian, yet I have only told a select few. It is by my demeanor and my character that others have come to know of my faith in Christ.

If you have to tell everyone that you are a Christian, then perhaps you are just not showing it. Of course I have been subject to some opposition, but I know that is to be expected if I endeavor to follow Christ faithfully and boldly.

 faithful

In closing, being a Police Officer is challenging, the workload can be quite abundant, and not to mention, it is quite dangerous, but I believe with all my heart that God has chosen this path for me. I would not be here if I didn’t believe that I have been directed by the Spirit to do so.

Pursuing this job was an act of faith, in which I stepped out putting my trust wholly in God. I love my job. As my chief would be supportive of, I have found my why, it is simply because God said so.

EDITOR’S NOTE: First posted at The Thibodaux Police Department’s site at http://thibodauxpd.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/the-christian-police-officer-by-officer-johnathan-fontenot/

I am proud of Officer Fontenot, and my agency for taking a Christian stance against those in this world who would prefer we not.

12 replies »

  1. What a beautiful story, I appreciated reading this. Thank you so much.

  2. Officer Johnathan, what a grace filled article! Often, it is the modeling of Christ like behavior, rather than words that have softened a hardened heart that has rejected previous efforts. These days of partisanship and empty political promises makes talk very cheap. All but the most hardened of hearts respond to “walking the walk”.
    May God bless and keep you well armored in your walk with Christ! So glad you are out there!

  3. Thank you very much for this. I am a fellow Christian working in a department that sometimes seems to be struggling with a Christian walk. I try not to indulge in cussing and other things, usually I just walk out of the room (at the department), but I love my job. Reading an article like this gives me hope there are more of us out there. Thank you, God Bless, and be safe my brothers and sisters in Christ and in Blue.

  4. I greatly appreciate the author’s article, and the other law enforcement officers’ commentary. I am an officer who is newly In Christ, and I also find that “the office” environment is not supportive of a Christian path. The author’s quote, “Evangelize always, and use words when necessary,” is of great comfort. I am personally struggling with some of the actions I may have to take on any given day (as a patrol officer), from the seemingly simple (issuing an expensive parking or traffic citation), to the potentially necessary (using lethal force in defense of myself or another).
    This article was helpful, as I square my “trained response” to various situations, to God’s Word.

    • Aaron – it’s a confliction we believers have struggled with. We are the peacemakers and our oath sworn before God requires a dutiful service. If the environment is godless, then pray to be the change. Be bless

  5. Thank you for your story, fellow brother in Christ and law enforcement. Your story inspired me to continue the road, God has chosen for me. Peace and Stay strong brother in Him. “He will never leave your or Forsake you.”

  6. Thank you for your story. It is comforting to know I am not alone with the struggles I have experienced as a Christian probation officer. The ugliness of sin in the field and in the office challenges me to grow in faith believing my career path is His will. I constantly keep my eyes on my Lord and treasure those few moments when I can encourage and minister to a soul seeking the peace the Lord provides.

    • Amen for you, Bree. It’s a tough path, but n one said it would be easy. There are so many opportunities to minister. Most are among our co-workers. So many of us enter and leave broken. Thank God for you and stay safe.

  7. Thank you, for writing such an insightful and inspiring article. I can totally relate to your experience. Your story reminds me of my time working in the California prison system years ago (in the early to mid-2000s) as a Correctional Peace Officer.

    There were so many times that I felt as if I didn’t belong there due to my Christian worldview, but, I stayed because I was totally committed to my career and had aspirations of promoting to higher ranks within the Department.

    My time as a Correctional officer gave me a tremendous sense of confidence and life purpose. I felt valued, needed and believed I performed well. I prayed before, during, and at the end of my shift, privately.

    I have seen a lot inside those prison walls, and so, it was unfathomable to me to work in such an environment without God’s protection, spiritually speaking.

    Moreover, as a believer, I had loads of spiritual insight that certainly was a tremendous help to me alongside my college education and the Correctional Peace Officer training that I received from the Department.

    But, working as a CO was definitely mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding and even at times depleting. There are numerous personality types that I had to interact with, supervise and manage on an ongoing basis concerning inmates, other officers, and staff.

    Therefore, I had a tremendous amount of responsibility, and with it came a high level of accountability. I don’t recall that I verbally led anyone to Jesus Christ in prison as a Christian Officer, but, I can say that I consistently did my best to effectuate my duties while being in compliance with the department’s expectations, and God’s expectations.

    Officers, prison staff, and prisoners are very perceptive, and so, there were times when I was politely asked, are you a Christian? I would reply, yes. And that would be it.

    Importantly, any decision that an officer makes can potentially have some kind of an effect on their life and the lives of others. Prison is a negative environment that usually impacts in some way all people in the environment and no matter their rank and/or status.

    So, as a Christian, I had to balance the responsibilities and demands of the job, as well as, maintain an outstanding work ethic while being a trusted team member and team player.

    Consequently, doing my best to maintain Christian principles and behaviors that encourage and support conduct that won’t compromise one’s salvation is an added layer of conscientiousness that’s exceptionally arduous to achieve, but, not impossible with God’s help.

    Honestly, being a believer can be challenging on many levels when working in an environment surrounded by agnostics and/or nonbelievers, for the most part.

    And so, it is true that there’s little direct support holistically speaking from others because I speculate Christians can be misunderstood or perceived as ‘different’ to nonbelievers. And too, it’s not an empathetic and/or compassionate type of environment/culture in general.

    Therefore, it’s important to keep the faith, pray and trust the Lord concerning all situations and circumstances. God will render what’s needed. God will fortify one’s spirit, demeanor, knowledge, wisdom and also give the insight and discernment that’s required to handle any situation; that has been my experience.

    Believers make good and even outstanding officers, in my opinion.

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