It was May 1 when Yucaipa Police Department Deputy Wedge prepared for his shift. He took a knee in front of his vehicle and bowed his head, lips moving silently in prayer.
Somebody from the department observed the scene, snapped a photo, and shared it online. “This morning we caught #YucaipaPD Deputy Wedge in the parking lot of the station,” read the photo’s caption on Twitter.
“He was kneeling in front of his PD vehicle,” the caption continued. “Trying not to interrupt we snapped a photo.”
What was on the deputy’s heart that day? The well-being of his community.
“He politely shared that he was praying for his partners safety and the community,” Yucaipa police said.
The majority of viewers loved the image. They responded with support and praise for Deputy Wedge, thanking him for the prayer.
“We need more kneeling like this,” one Twitter user wrote. “It’s about others.”
A handful of commenters, however, felt the post was inappropriate. “I support his right to pray if he wishes, but I also feel this post is inappropriate for a government agency to be making,” wrote one Facebook user.
“You should not be publicly promoting a religion, any religion,” the commenter continued. “This is not about being negative or hateful, it is just a fact.”
Some people agreed, arguing that social media posts by government agencies should reflect the separation of church and state.
But really, folks, most social media users clapped back with support for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
The image is exactly the kind of thing people need to see.
“There are not enough prayers to be said for the thankless and dangerous job our men and woman do,” said one Facebook user. “They respond when called, without regard of the political and religious beliefs of those calling.
“And for that, I am so very thankful and appreciative.”
The vast majority of viewers took the image for what it was: one moment in one officer’s life. An officer taking a personal moment to prepare spiritually and emotionally for an unpredictable shift.
The officer’s example ought to be reciprocated, commented one woman on Twitter. “May we all take a knee and pray for our peacemakers who CHOOSE to protect and serve,” she said.
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