God’s ‘sweet, tender mercy’ strengthens Dallas police chief after shootings

Dallas police chief David Brown. (PHOTO: The Gospel Herald)

Originally published in The Gospel Herald

After five police officers were gunned down during a ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest on Thursday, Dallas police chief David Brown shared how his Christian faith and God’s “sweet, tender mercy” has given him strength despite being faced with a “beyond challenging” situation.

“I’m running on fumes…It’s going to be the most challenging thing in my life.”

Brown told reporters on Monday in wake of the carnage: “I don’t know how I’m going to do the rest of the week.”

But “I’m a person of faith,” Brown said: “I believe that I’m able to stand here is a testament to God’s grace and his sweet tender mercies, just to be quite honest with you. This tragedy, will not discourage us from changing and performing policing in America.”

The Dallas Police Department was gripped by tragedy when Micah Johnson, 25, opened fire on officers who were accompanying marchers protesting policing practices following the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both black men.

Johnson, who had been in the Army Reserve, used a rifle to fire from a parking garage and while on foot on the streets below, killing five police officers and wounding seven others.

Authorities reportedly said Johnson was angry about recent shootings by police and “wanted to kill white people”. Later, police detonated a bomb-carrying robot in the parking garage where he had fled, killing him.

Heroism and bravery
During a Sunday interview with CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper,” Brown discussed the heroism and bravery he witnessed from his fellow officers during the attack, as dozens of officers placed themselves in danger to protect others.

“They’re brave. They’re courageous. They did things that day that are just hard to describe. We’re learning that officers exposed themselves to draw fire, so they could determine what floor this suspect was on, exposed themselves,” Brown said.

“And you saw footage of officers running toward gunfire, extraordinary acts of bravery, countless officers returning fire, knowing that they’re vulnerable to try to get to wounded and injured citizens and officers to get them rushed to the hospital to try to save their lives, and just the brave men and women who have worked every day,” he said.

Brown said he was incredibly proud of his department when, the day after the five police officers were killed, everyone came to work.

“The day after this incident occurred, I look at the daily rolls to see who comes to work. Everyone came to work the next day. Who does that, Jake? In the face of their lives being at stake the previous day, you would think you would have some call in and say, maybe that’s not for me. Everyone came to work that next day,” Brown said, adding that he is “proud to be associated with these people.”

The police officer said that he believes his department “saved lives” by deciding to kill the shooter. He added that he and his family have since received death threats since his officers were killed, but said his faith allows him to continue serving his community.

“I am a servant. And at my core, I enjoy serving people, and I am a person of faith. I am a Christian, and I believe that service is part of my direction, and loving people, despite themselves, is something I aspire to be. I am flawed, though, like many of us,” said Brown.

Explaining that he came into law enforcement in 1983 as a result of the crack cocaine epidemic his neighborhood, Brown said he has always “felt a sense of urgency about delivering police service”.

“But I never wanted this job to be about me, then or now,” he emphasised.

“I am a servant. At my core, I enjoy serving people, and I am a person of faith. I am a Christian, and I believe that service is part of my direction, and loving people, despite themselves, is something I aspire to be,” he added.

“I stay humble, and so I’m not going to talk much about me..I hope that I have done a good enough job to represent these brave men and women. That’s been the challenge for me. Am I representing them appropriately? So, I do not wanting to make any of this to be about me.”

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