BEDFORD, Va. – There’s no doubt working in law enforcement is a stressful and dangerous job, more so now than ever.
Bedford County is making sure those who wear the badge have someone to talk through the trauma that can come from the job.
“When people have troubles and difficulties, they call law enforcement,” Police Chaplain Mike Smith says. “Law enforcement comes out, but who does the law enforcement call?”
That’s where Police Chaplain Mike Smith comes in. He grew up in Roanoke and spent his entire life in ministry. It was about 17 years ago when the Lord called him to serve those who serve us.
“You have the ability to not only minister them in their head but help them in their heart,” Smith says. “They see a lot of things that other people don’t.”
Smith volunteers his time with Bedford deputies and police on top of his 9-5 job and spending time with his four sons. He’s one of three chaplains that ride around with officers.
“They fill a void in the life of law enforcement,” Bedford County Sheriff Mike Miller says.
After 36 years of working his way up the ranks to the sheriff, Miller says he knows first-hand how important it is to have someone like Smith around.
“These men and women that are out here in uniform, they do need someone to speak with and to talk with,” Miller says. “There are some that don’t have a church, but they have Chaplain Smith.”
The spiritual element is a powerful healing tool, helping officers cope with the stress, anxiety and trauma that comes with the job.
“Law enforcement isn’t an easy job. It’s not a job that everyone gives you a pat on the back,” Smith says. “When officers go to do the things they need to do, they need to know somebody’s got their six.”
Sheriff Miller says they’re always looking for more Chaplains. As for Smith, he’s looking forward to the day he can serve full time.