BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County church honored law enforcement Sunday with a special morning service.
The annual Blue Line service at Emmanuel Baptist Church focused on thanking those who wear the badge.
“We’re definitely excited to be able to reach into our local law enforcement communities and let them know that we care for them, and that we pray for them and honor them and try to teach the people to respect them as well," said Matthew Stahl, pastor of the church.
Stahl said each year, they invite officers to attend the special service to show their appreciation for Coast law enforcement. Last week, they delivered gifts of appreciation to officers, books of devotions written specifically for police.
“When they took that oath for their office, they were taken upon themselves being ministers to God for the good, and to protect people from evil," he said.
The morning’s guest speaker, retired officer Tim Tilley. has firsthand experience of how officers put their lives on the line every day.
“Things are more violent toward law enforcement today and their job is even more dangerous," Tilley said.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports 144 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year, an increase over 2017. Tilley added the stress of the job also takes a mental toll on officers.
“I think its more ever now it the way that society is and the violence and the violence toward the officers that we need to come together as Christians and just pray for them and their families,” he said.
Stahl said Sunday’s service was the least they can do for those who do so much.
“Our goal is to continue this outreach and to provide different ways to honor them and one of these Blue Line Sundays I think is one of the best ways to do that,” he said.
This is the second year for Blue Line Sunday at Emmanuel Baptist Church.