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Congrats Grads of ACC Police Studies/Public Safety Class #20

Updated: May 4

On Sept 6th, Class Coordinator Sgt. Alice Potter invited me to present a session on police chaplaincy and emotional/spiritual care. At the outset, one student shared with the class that he equated chaplaincy with one word - "hatred." There were several interesting and open conversations about faith that day while I shared highlights of my journey through 33 plus years of law enforcement, without and with faith. Exposure to daily trauma will erode resiliency if a first responder does nothing to strengthen their resolve. I ended the session with a prayer of encouragement.

From January through April, I've had the privilege of spending many hours instructing these students in Forensics and Crime Scene Management. Through time shared in conversations outside the classroom, the students have grown to appreciate the emphasis I stress on complete selfcare - body, soul, and spirit. I was able to paint a more detailed picture of chaplaincy across Canada which I've gleaned through my relationships with amazing CPCA chaplains. We are "Stronger Together" because our emphasis is on inclusivity and diversity achieved through embracing leaders from all faith backgrounds. Law enforcement officers and their families are diverse in their beliefs; therefore, in order to truly serve them with excellence it takes multi-faith leaders to provide effective emotional and spiritual care. This seemed to resonate with the students.

Today, I was able to speak into their lives one more time prior to their graduation ceremony. I shared that law enforcement inevitably changes all those who choose a career to serve and protect a community. We all have inherent prejudices and left unchecked, the daily trauma of law enforcement will prey on those prejudices, and those prejudices will become the building blocks of discrimination. Mindsets that embrace inclusion and diversity of all ethnic and faith backgrounds places us on a path of tolerance. However, my challenge to these students who will soon be sworn in as law enforcement officers is not to settle for a path marked by tolerance. My faith walk has revealed to me that when we can truly celebrate in our heart the differences in one another, we remove the power of prejudice and we flatten discrimination from ever raising its ugly head. I challenged the graduates today to begin to celebrate ethnic, faith and individual choice differences in preparation for their amazing careers in law enforcement.

Thank you graduates for the honor of speaking into your lives, allowing me to share a copy of Project Sword provided through the FCPO Canada, and praying one more time for protection over your body, soul, and spirit. All God's best to you in fulfilling the call on your lives to be peacemakers. Thank you to Assiniboine Community College for the privilege of instructing another year and for your continued partnership with the Brandon Police Service.

Are you wondering about the one student who initially equated chaplaincy with hatred? He became one of my highest scoring students on his final, and someone who sought me out for conversations after class more than any other student. This evening at the graduation party we had a heart to heart conversation during which I asked him to share the first word that came to his mind now when I say police chaplaincy. His voice, full of emotion responded, "love." As we say in the CPCA, it's all about presence. The rest we leave in God's hands. My final blessing from this class came in the form of confirmation that my prayer in the huddle had been accepted. I was gifted with a framed photo of the class prayer huddle with a white border filled with encouraging comments from each student. May we never be too fearful to pray for those who are called into law enforcement.

Chaplain/Constable Bruce Ewanyshyn

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