Dallas Police Chaplain Comforts Officers While Dealing With His Own Grief

Through the pain of last week's shooting, many people turned to their faith, including police. NBC 5 sat down with a Dallas police chaplain who's been comforting officers, while dealing with his own grief.

Dallas Police Department Chaplain Mike Middlebrooks spoke at Officer Michael Krol's funeral Friday and that’s just one sign of how he's been there, from the start.

"It's been a horrific week for the Dallas Police Department," said Middlebrooks. "There's a lot of grief. There's a lot of pain."

Thursday, July 7, is now one of those nights.

You’ll always remember where you were.

Middlebrooks was at the heart of it.

"Immediately, I was just praying for protection," said Middlebrooks.

He started first with the officers of the Southeast Division.

"We still had officers on scene and we didn't know exactly what was happening," he said.

He then answered the call to Parkland Hospital, where Officers Michael Krol and Patrick Zamarripa were pronounced dead.

Middlebrooks broke the news to some of Zamarripa's family.

"You pray and you ask God to help you because you're about to deliver news to somebody that's going to change their life forever," said Middlebrooks. "And then simply be there with them to support them in their grief."

It's a heavy responsibility, followed by a second one, when the Chaplain led grieving officers into the hospital rooms of their two fallen friends.

"They wanted to see that and pay their respects to them," Middlebrooks said.

Krol's family was 1,000 miles away in Michigan. But on that night, Krol was never alone.

"His Dallas Police Department family was there and stood by him the entire night."

And when it was time to go, a united department stood silent over five heroes going to rest.

"We're humans and we hurt with them and in some ways you feel helpless, even as a chaplain," said Middlebrooks.

In the days since, he’s been to funerals and front doors, answering endless calls for comfort.

"We're grateful for that. We're thankful for that because that means that we are making a difference," said Middlebrooks.

On Friday, he spoke at Krol's funeral.

"I would consider Michael a friend. I think he would consider me a friend," said Middlebrooks. "He was a wonderful officer. His smile, well I would say, his grin, is a better way to say it and his chuckle, he had a little chuckle with his laugh."

When that laugh was silenced, everyone started searching for answers, asking why.

"Sometimes the appropriate response is no words," said Middlebrooks.

Knowing answers may not come until we learn to speak with one voice.

"I don't think the city is broken. I think the city is strong. You keep hearing Dallas strong, Dallas strong, Dallas strong,” said Middlebrooks. “I'll tell you this, the Dallas Police Department is not broken. We're strong. Now we may be hurting. But our police department is strong."

And it's growing stronger.

Middlebrooks said his biggest message to officers now is not to keep their feelings bottled up. Dallas police chaplains are ready 24/7 for any officer who needs to talk.

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