Ex-convict approaches cop who arrested him years ago, prays with him for safety of all officers

TEXAS CITY, TX — In a news cycle filled with constant hatred and violence toward police officers these days, it is refreshing to come across people who go out of their way to thank them and pray for their safety.

That is exactly what happened at a barbecue cook-off in Texas, where an ex-convict approached a police officer with an attitude of gratitude instead of bitterness.

A reformed convict, Doc Amey, saw Texas City Senior Patrolman Salvador “Sal” Chapa in uniform at a cooking event in 2015. Chapa had arrested Amey eight years prior for a gun-related offense, which resulted in a conviction and time spent in prison.

Amey told TapHaps:

“I have not always been a friend to the police. I grew up selling drugs. I’ve been to prison three times.”

After Amey was released from prison, he would occasionally see Chapa around town, but never approached him.

However, when Amey saw Chapa at the cook-off, he felt compelled to go up to him and say, “Thank you” and asked if he could pray with him, according to ABC13.

Amey then took Chapa’s hands and began to pray for his safety while in the line of duty. Then together, the two men recited the officer’s prayer for safety.

Amey told the officer, “I love you,” at the end of his prayer.

“I love you, too, brother,” Chapa said. “Thank you very much for praying for us.”

Chapa told ABC13 that he had seen Amey around town several times, but it was the recent violent attacks against police officers that prompted Amey to reconnect with him.

The moment of prayer was captured in a photo by cookout attendee Kevin Woods.

The Texas City Police Department posted the photo on its Facebook page along with Woods’ text:

“I got to watch something so amazing I’m speechless. We are at a cook off and I see Sal Chapa get pulled away. I look over and they are in prayer. Sal arrested this guy about 8 years ago on a gun charge.

“The young man got a 5 year sentence. While he was in prison he said ‘God if you are real turn my life around.’ He got out after serving a year and half. Has graduated bible college with perfect attendance and his strong in his church.

“This man wanted to pray for the officers safety. We should be seeing more of this in America. There shouldn’t be race involved and this is living proof that color doesn’t matter. This is a prime example.

“All lives matter ONE NATION UNDER GOD! prayers to your brother and I pray for you. Continue of your path brother thank you for saying a prayer for my brother.”

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In the photo, Amey is seen wearing white and yellow bracelets. The yellow one contains the phrase, “Fully Rely on God.”

Amey told KHOU that he hoped the power of prayer can help change the negative image that people have of young black men and cops:

“They’re used to seeing cops getting killed by young black men or young black men getting killed by cops. They’re not used to seeing an ex-con and a cop praying with each other.”

Chapa was taken aback by the unexpected encounter:

“Touched my heart. It touched my heart. The reason it did, it sounds like I’ve touched his heart and made a difference in his life.”

Amey told TapHaps why he approached Chapa:

“God just been giving me the urgency to pray for police officers, the same police officers that arrested me. I just got an urgency to pray for them now.”

Amey also said that while serving a five-year prison sentence on the gun charge, he realized he needed to change his life. So, he prayed to God:

“One day, a cold December morning, I just looked up: I said, ‘God if you real, like everybody say you real, you’ll get me out of this.’”

During his time behind bars, Amey turned to God and the Bible to help change the path of his life, according to ABC13’s report

God must have heard Amey’s prayer because after serving just a year and a half, he was paroled.

When he was released from prison, Amey went to college and continued to study the Bible.

The former convict also said he transformed himself and does not want to have anything to do with drugs or guns again, saying:

“You gotta be the change you want to see.” 

Chapa told ABC13:

“After seeing the picture getting posted and all, I was overwhelmed but at the same time I was happy it happened. I hope whoever views it looks at police in a different aspect. We’re here to help everybody.”

Most police officers join the profession because they truly want to help others. Unfortunately, like in every type of career, a few bad apples are discovered.

No matter what profession people may be in, everyone can probably categorize their fellow employees into three basic categories: good, mediocre or bad.

Everyone knows the deal too with those “bad” workers, but sometimes nothing can happen until something very unfortunate happens.

In certain careers, bad employees make everyone’s jobs much harder because an entire profession can be smeared by the ineptitude or selfishness of a few.

It is no different in the police profession.

What is difficult is when good police officers are smeared in general by the actions of bad ones. It takes a toll on the officer and his or her family.

Spouses in particular feel the stress and pain of their loved one’s difficult job, especially during the past few years. Whenever there is another controversial officer-involved incident, spouses go through another cycle of worry and concern about the safety of their husband or wife.

Spouses know their officer makes good decisions and would never do anything to tarnish their badge. However, it is hard to carry on cheerfully when certain segments of society are screaming and saying horrible things about all police officers in general.

As a police family, it can be hard to accept being maligned by strangers for the misguided actions of others. It is also hard to find oneself being perceived as a foe instead of a friend because some people decide to label all police and their family members in negative ways.

In “Being a Police Spouse Amid Rioting,” the unnamed writer noted:

“Remember that its okay to be angry at this cop. It is also okay to be vocal about your support for cops. We can do both.

“For those of you still reading, possibly thinking that I am in any way defending the officer’s actions or the actions of those that truly have tarnished the badge.

“I think I speak for most of us when I say that we, as police spouses, are just as disheartened as everyone else about this officer’s actions. We feel let down by this officer and probably all have a lot of rage for what this has done to the good police officers.

“Personally, I hate that this officer’s actions have had an impact on my husband’s reputation. My husband is a good cop.

“I trust that he makes good decisions and never would do anything like this. He is dedicated to his job. He protects and he serves, and his jacket is clean.

“In times like this, none of that matters. Right now, he is just another cop, and right now, cops are the enemy.

“Not one single one of us benefit from this. We are all just as upset as everyone else that this happened.

“Cops and their families are the most passionate haters of true ‘bad cops.’ We all want justice.”

Now is probably a great time to do what Amey did: pray for the safety of police officers everywhere who are trying to fulfill their duties and make it back home after each shift.

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