On the morning of November 2nd, 2016, I learned of the tragic murder of two Iowa police officers, who were ambushed in the early morning hours of that day. After consulting with Rev. Lee, I made arrangements to deploy the following day.
On November 3rd, My wife and I drove to a hotel in the Des Moines area, along with comfort K-9, Shiloh. After checking in, we proceeded directly to the Urbandale Police Department, where one of the officers (Ofc. Justin Martin) worked. We met with Ofc. Melissa Waalk, who graciously led us through the department to provide comfort. We prayed with some officers, and also learned information about their shift rotation, a candlelight vigil that was planned for the following evening, and the location of their dispatch center. Ofc. Waalk was given a Peace Officer Ministries Bible. We also spent some time comforting citizens in the police department lobby.
Next, we proceeded to the Westcom Dispatch Center, and provided comfort to dispatchers there, who dispatch for Urbandale PD as well as other departments. The dispatchers enjoyed their time with Shiloh so much that they took a group photo with her, and posted it on the wall. A Peace Officer Ministries Bible was left with them for their break room, and their supervisor, Scott, was very grateful for the visit.
On November 4th, we visited Des Moines PD, where one of the officers (Sgt. Anthony Beminio) worked. Sgt. Ronald Kouska invited us to set up in the lobby, and we had the opportunity to offer comfort and prayer to many department members who passed by. They would see Shiloh, and come over to pet her. Mary, a clerical support worker in the patrol division, gave me a hug after we prayed with her, and another woman told us that her time with Shiloh “Really made my day.” We also met with a boy and his mother who had come to drop off some dog treats for the ATF K-9 that was instrumental in the investigation. The boy enjoyed petting Shiloh, and we thanked them for their support of law enforcement. A Peace Officer Ministries Bible was given to Sgt. Kouska for the Des Moines PD break room.
After leaving the department, I received a call from Lynn, a dispatcher at Westcom Dispatch, who requested that we visit the Polk County Sheriff’s Dept. dispatch center. She felt that they would benefit from a visit with Shiloh, since they assisted Des Moines PD after the tragic events, when things got very busy. I assured Lynn that we would pay them a visit.
That evening, we attended a candlelight vigil honoring both officers, which was held at a park near the Urbandale Police Department. We attended to show our support, and offered comfort to citizens, officers, and their family members.
After the vigil, we proceeded to the Urbandale PD to visit with the night shift officers. This was their first tour of duty since their fellow officer (Ofc. Martin) was killed. Sgt. Taylor welcomed us, and we spent time with the shift after their roll call. We let them know that we were sorry for their loss, that we were there to support them, and that they were in our prayers. Before they hit the street, we all prayed together. They also had the chance to pet Shiloh. A Peace Officer Ministries Bible was given to Sgt. Taylor.
Our last visit that day was to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, where we visited with the night shift dispatchers. One of the dispatchers, Tom, was working on the night of the murders, and he was given a Peace Officer Ministries Bible. Several of them really liked Shiloh’s vest, and took pictures of the patches on it – the “Blue Line” U.S. flag with a patch below it reading “Blessed are the Peacemakers.”
We returned home on November 5th – grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord by serving others in Iowa.
To God be the glory!
Peace Officer Ministries/QRT