About this episode:

police work meaningful work“What I do, on a day in and day out basis, is that I am there for them [and just build] relationships and become a trusted companion.”

-Mike Shochet, Lead Chaplain of the Fairfax County, Virginia Police

We are well into June 2020, a month informed by the grotesquely shocking death of George Floyd—under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. That shockwave has led many to call for defunding police departments across the United States.

Some now ask: is police work meaningful work?

police work meaningful workTwo years ago, we sat down for a conversation with Mike Shochet. Tightrope Podcast listeners discovered how Mike’s meaningful work career spanned three acts, as TV news reporter, Baltimore City cop, and now as police chaplain.

Ordained as a cantor in Reform Judaism, Mike merged his experience as a beat cop with deep spirituality to become the lead chaplain of the Fairfax County, Virginia Police.

By tending to the pastoral needs of law enforcement personnel, Mike Shochet does the meaningful work of his dreams.

The vexing issues discussed in this episode, recorded in early June of 2018, remain untended. Going forward, we hope (and pray) that police work lives up to the motto: to serve and protect.

In this episode, Mike discusses:

  • The role of police chaplain. Starts at 2:26
  • Why police officers often don’t like uneventful days. Starts at 8:12
  • His view on office candidate screening. Starts at 12:55
  • How first-hand experience with pain and neglect informs his chaplaincy. Starts at 15:18
  • The role of empathy in police work. Starts at 20:11

About our guest:

Mike Shochet received a Bachelor of Science from Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College. He and his family live in Fairfax County, Virginia.

EPISODE DATE: June 19, 2020

Social media:

Fairfax County Police Chaplaincy

Biography, Temple Rodef Shalom

Earlier episodes with Mike Shochet:

Third Act By 28: One Man’s Unusual Journey to do Meaningful Work (Part 1)

Third Act By 28: One Man’s Unusual Journey to do Meaningful Work (Part 2)

Serving Those Who Serve: Finding Meaningful Work as a Police Chaplain

Image credits: First responder with mask, kojophoto for iStock Photo; Ride Along, Michael Ventura; Cantor Mike Shochet Portrait, Temple Rodef Shalom.

Please check out our most recent podcast episodes and blog posts on The Dan Smolen Experience website.