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HEAR O ISRAEL: LISTEN UP!


I served in a volunteer capacity as an unofficial chaplain to the Redondo Beach (California) police force. About seven or eight of us who were ministers would rotate so that we rode entire shifts with some of the officers.


Police work is a contrast between tedium and emergency, boredom and adrenaline-rush. It is mostly tedium and boredom. We rode with the officers so that they could use some of those dead hours on patrol where nothing was happening to talk about what was bothering them or gain some spiritual insight. We went to occasional county-wide meetings in order to gain more insights into the law enforcement psyche and, of course, we attended the pre-patrol briefings along with the officers with whom we were to ride on a given day or night. I well remember some of the raucous joking and harassment that went on prior to the lieutenant coming in and saying, "Listen up." At that point, the talking ceased except for the occasional irreverent comment and nervous laughter after the supervisor read an incident report or watch bulletin.


We don’t say, "Hear, O Israel!" anymore. But as I just noted, we do use the idea of "listening up." Both phrases mean to pay attention.

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