INDIANAPOLIS - The spiritual leader of Indianapolis law enforcement retired Tuesday after 27 years with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Pastor Phil Bacon ended his career as the longest-serving chaplain in local law enforcement history.
Bacon was responsible for overseeing significant life events for most IMPD officers. He has married them, presided over their funerals, visited them in the hospital and been there for the cops and the community.
"They have been given their authority by God himself. And I think we need to reclaim the fact that our law enforcement professionals are there doing God's work. And we need to respect them," Bacon said.
In nearly three decades in the chaplain's office, Bacon believes that he has personally delivered word of a loved one's death to more than 2,700 families. While every home is different, his message was always straightforward and compassionate.
"There's no easy way to tell someone the absolute worst news about their family. But we're there to help them cope, to begin to put things back together for the rest of their lives," Bacon said.
Bacon chose his ministry in law enforcement to become a mentor, a counselor and a healer to those who toil in an increasingly violent and indifferent world. Throughout his career, he was the calm amidst the chaos.
"You just know that you have a kind man there that's going to pray for you, that's going to support you and someone to just talk to. And for that he will be greatly missed," Deputy Chief Bill Lorah said.
Throughout his career, Bacon has presided over the deaths of six police officers killed in the line of duty. It has been said more than once that chaplains are basically ministers -- but not every minister is a chaplain.
"The police officers who are not in the police department have invited me to be in their world, to confide in me, and to offer whatever I can in the way of offering moral support to them and their families. That brings me great joy. That brings me great satisfaction," Bacon said.
It’s been written that a police chaplain mends the scars and the gaps in the Thin Blue Line while providing guidance and support for citizens who stand on either side of it.