Connecting first responders in our communities with first responders in under-resourced communities around the world.
We are currently in the midst of planning more trips to Haiti and other partner locations.
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On January 12, 2010 Haiti was struck with 7.0 earthquake. Over 300,000 people were killed and another one million were displaced. During the crisis response to help, police officers from the Northwest were asked to help the Haitian National Police and Fire (PNH). Responder Life sent three teams of police officers and firefighters to help.
The reality is that Haitian police officers/firefighters receive little to no training beyond the academy. They are paid only $300.00 a month and work in very difficult circumstances with little support.
The Commissioner asked if them if we would return to conduct training seminars for his officers.
Since 2010 there have been 21 weeklong training seminars in Carrefour and Jacmel, attended by approximately 525 officers and command staff. 45 officers representing 23 different agencies have joined in this effort.
Responder Life adopted this effort in 2012. It has become one of our core services offered to first responders.
A common thread throughout the classes is the premise that justice is reflected in the character of God and has critical implications for how law enforcement engages and serves the community. This leads to discussion concerning ethics, fairness, care, and service.
In addition to the core training, students are given an opportunity to attend an optional bible study where spiritual issues are discussed. Most officers are told they cannot be a police officer and a Christian, so they must choose between feeding their families or faith in God. This option has given officers a way to think about how faith is integrated in their law enforcement profession and daily life.
We end each week with a banquet and graduation ceremony. Students have been able to show their certificate and get better assignments and promotions.
Routinely former students look us up when they hear we are Haiti. They report to us how much the training meant to them and the impact it has had on their lives.
The program is growing in Haiti, with a developing Leadership Course, Firefighting Training Course, (Firefighters are a specialty unit within the PNH) and Train the Trainer. We are also working with pastors to create a viable Police Chaplaincy program.
Police officers are not the only ones participating. Many are accompanied by spouses, their children and friends. This group forms the Service Team. They assist with some of the training, but primarily they will go out into the communities and serve widows, orphans, and community projects.
We are currently researching expansion into other countries who have heard about our ministry and have asked us to train with them.
First Responders are first and foremost servants. This is an opportunity to serve and grow. It will change your life.
Interested in learning more about Responders without Borders? Contact Tom McGranahan, our Mission Coordinator.
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