This blog is written by Larry Rothman who is one of the original founders of Adopt-A-Cop:
I have to admit that it seems like moons ago since I was really involved in Adopt-a-Cop and looking back I am not sure who benefited from it more, me or the police officers that were being prayed for. When I got involved the Adopt-a-Cop ministry was a part of Ken Rochelle's ministry C.L.E.F. (Christian Law Enforcement Fellowship). Ken was not doing much with the Adopt-a-Cop portion of the ministry and to be honest I didn’t even realize Adopt-a-Cop was a part if his ministry. Anyhow I decided to take Adopt-a-Cop to Jackson County, Michigan where I was assigned to work as a Michigan State Police Trooper.
For me it started when I was working midnights. I saw all of the things that every police officer sees on a daily bases and then I started looking at my fellow co-workers and how they reacted to the things they saw. I started looking at myself and how I interacted with those I was sworn to protect and serve. As I was driving around in Jackson County on patrol I started to notice just how many churches there were in the county. I thought to myself why do we have all this crime, pain, and hurt if we have so many churches in this county. I fully believe in prayer and believe God would heal the land if we seek him out but I know that he needed to heal our hearts first.
So in 2007 I started a bible study for first responders (http://peacekeeperleaders.blogspot.com/2009/02/jackson-mi-peacekeepers.html). I remember my first bible study was at Bob Evans in Jackson. No one showed up except me. So I prayed and told God that I would show up even if no one else would. Soon a few people would show and then we had about 8 to 10 people began showing up on a weekly basis. That’s when I though what if every State Trooper at the Jackson Post was being prayed for? What if those prayers melted their hearts and gave them a love for the people they chose to serve and protect. So I started praying for them and then seeking out others who would be willing to help me connect with the different churches. During this time I met some of the greatest people I have ever met. People like Wendy Wight the Executive Director of the Together We Can Make a Difference ministry. She is truly one of the sweetest people I know. Or Bill and Kathy Latocki who were instrumental in helping launch Adopt-a-Cop in Jackson County or Bill and Bonny Livernois with Lazy B's Ranch. To be successful at spreading the word I partnered up the some great non-profit organizations and just a bunch of people who loved God and loved people (http://www.newjackson.org/historyofourevents.html). In order for Adopt-a-Cop to work you have to step out of your comfort zones. I started going to all sorts of churches to speak about Adopt-a-Cop and asked people to pray for their police officers. I never, never, never asked for money just their prayers. I remember going to all black churches, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic and non-denominational churches, I would speak at old folks homes about needing their prayers, I went to the jail and the youth home to try to bridge the gap of un-trust in the community. I saw God do some amazing things, I met amazing people, and I saw people give their lives to Christ both people on the street and the police officers I wolred with.
I remember I went to a Church of God in the south side of the City of Jackson to speak to the pastor. The first time I was told he was not there and then the second time he actually tried to avoid me. After making contact with him I explained to him about Adopt-a-Cop and about his church praying for the police. I remember a little old black lady came up to me and said' " I will never pray for the police after what they do to my people down here (meaning the city)". I continued to speak about the ministry and then left with little hope of being able to get it started in that church. A few weeks later I saw a car broke down on my way home from work. I stopped and it was a young black lady with several kids in the van. I asked if I could help and she said she would appreciate it if I could push her van to the church parking lot. The same church I had visited a few weeks prior. I had a friend with me and I had an Adopt-a-Cop shirt on. She ask if I was the Adopt-a-Cop Police guy and I said I was. A week or so later I was contacted by the church to see if I would share the Adopt-a-Cop ministry with their youth group. I did and that little old lady that said she would never pray for the police came up to me and asked if she could adopt a police officer to pray for. God is good!
I created a list of every law enforcement officer in Jackson County. There was over 300 at the time. I put their name in a spreadsheet and then when someone wanted to adopt a police officer I would ask them if they had a preference of a State, County, or Local Officer. I would then send them a prayer card with 10 prayer points with the officers name and department they worked for. I would not give them any additional information and no information about their personal life. I would then send a similar card to the police officer and say that you have been adopted by the Smith family and here are the things that they are praying for.
I remember one local police officer who was known for being a real hard charger, bodybuilder and just a beast of a man. He called me and said hey I got this card in my mail drawer from a family who said they are praying for me. What is this all about? I explained to him the ministry and he said what did I do to deserve this. I said nothing it's just because they care about you and appreciate what you do every day. I heard that big tough police officer shed a tear. God is good!
I have many stories like those. I have to be honest for me Adopt-a-Cop was all about the heart. I could care less who wanted to pray as long as they wanted to pray. I had the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist all want to pray. I let them but I would make sure the officer was covered by what I felt to be legitimate Christian churches or individuals. I never turned anyone away because I was so sure that God was in charge of the ministry. I looked at everything and everyone as an opportunity for God to work. Black people were praying for white officers and vise a versa. We had some police officers meeting with their prayer partners. I never asked the police officers if they wanted prayer and I never had one turn it down. Soon I was getting calls from other counties in Michigan wanting to start their own Adopt-a-Cop chapters and then other states. I never took ownership of this ministry because I always looked at it as God's and more of a prayer movement. After all this concept is not knew it has been going on for years long before me or Ken.
I look at it this way, in many cases our police officers serve broken communities and deal with broken people. In most cases the police officers themselves are just as broken. If God's people will pray for God to change the hearts of our police officers then they can be ambassadors for God when they make contact with those who are hurting the most. There is no better profession on this earth to impact this world for God than that of a police officer. We get the privilege of dealing with broken, hurting, and lonely people every day we go to work. The fields are ripe and God is good!
I have a special place in my heart for this ministry because of the friends and special people I have met along the way. I grew has a Christian and grew as a person because of what God did threw Adopt-a-Cop in Jackson County.