Dave Budz, OpOverwatch
As part of our COVID/Civil Unrest response, OpOverwatch began considering ideas to encourage local patrol officers in Western New York. In May and June of 2020, OpOverwatch delivered more than 600 care packages to all Buffalo and Lockport Police Department patrol officers. The packages consisted of a free department-specific T-shirt for every officer, multiple gift cards, and a Bible or devotional. Most importantly, it included a message from OpOverwatch regarding the hope found in an identity in Christ that far surpasses any identity the badge can provide. We desire to be an avenue of burden relief for departments’ focus on Officer Wellness. OpOverwatch seeks to impact the Law Enforcement community through gospel-centered edification, benevolence, outreach, and training. We believe that a proper understanding of an identity in Christ is one of the most impactful ways to make a difference in Officer Wellness, as well as the community.
This season did not change the way we do ministry, but it opened up a doorway for God to work that exceeded any early expectations we had for the impact of the mission in the community!
The mission of OpOverwatch Inc. is to provide repeated opportunities for all Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) to hear about the identity that can be found through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Law Enforcement is an incredibly difficult profession that, by its nature, places male and female officers face to face with some of the darkest elements of society, along with some of the most tragic events. Over the last four years, the number of reported LEOs who have taken their own lives has exceeded the number of on-duty deaths. The number of suicides reported to Blue Help (bluehelp.org) in 2016 was 143, in 2017 this increased to168, in 2018 the number grew to 172, and in 2019 a total of 228 LEO deaths were reported as suicides.