When Americans were preparing for the annual thanksgiving, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Texas Zone 9, decided to honour 40 men and women of the Houston Police at an event appropriately tagged: “Heroes of the City.” According to reports, it was a remarkable occasion where the RCCG Dominion Chapel – Stafford Texas in collaboration with Rehoboth Foundation, laid out the red carpets for policemen and women, who were identified as having demonstrated unparallel commitment to the transformation of the communities.
Under the PACT (Police And Clergy Team) programme, the police rely on the church to provide spiritual support as may be required, especially as with cases involving tragedy, etc in the community or family. This helps the police to provide better service to the community in safeguarding lives and property, better understanding of the needs of the community outside the responsibility of the police.
Reports of the event stated that the evening started with a simple but rather impressive dinner of tastefully prepared Nigerian dishes, which saw everyone, including all the recipients (non-Africans), savouring the dishes with contentment. Initial apprehensions as to whether they would be able to relish the dishes were quickly dispelled, as they tucked into the dishes with relish.
The members of the Texas Police force who have demonstrated high professional qualities in dealing with victims of disaster, unusual leadership in juvenile restitution, etc, together with their families, and members of the congregation of the RCCG Dominion Chapel Sanctuary, moved into the chapel for a short service, and exhortation by Pastor Bayo Fadugba, the sanctuary Pastor.
Atmosphere at the event was relaxed, as members of the Texas Police Force interacted freely with members of the church, which prompted one to wonder if these men of the force are regulars of the church, which was not. After the welcome remarks by Pastor Fadugba, the Assistant Police Chief G.T. Buenik spoke about the PACT programme on how it has helped the police and the church to come together to bring about positive changes in the community.
Pastor Fadugba expressed his gratitude on behalf of all the recipients to the church for acknowledging their efforts.
What was evident throughout the event was the level of trust between the Church and the Police. The ease with which the men and women of the force mingled with members of the Church was exceptional in a world where police personnel are often viewed with suspicion. Some of the recipients spoke with deep gratitude, about what the award means to them. Each recipient was presented with a beautifully crafted trophy and exquisitely tailored African shirts.
The questions that comes to mind, while one tried to take in the lessons from this event, are: Can the PACT be replicated in Nigeria, having the Church work with the Police to enhance their performance in times of tragedy within the community or family, where spiritual counselling will help to alleviate the pains, a role the police are not cut out for?
Can state governments, corporate bodies, etc institute award scheme that will recognise men and women of the police force who have shown exceptional commitment to their work, making positive impact in their communities, or deemed to have demonstrated an exceptionally high level of professionalism?
Can the Police Service Commission provide some form of recognition to this award such that it will be taken into consideration when it is time for promotion? It could attach certain long-term privileges to it, such that it becomes a strong motivation for good performance?