Texas leads the nation in law enforcement deaths. Morale is sinking as officers mourn the fallen and ponder their own fate In this week's Crime Watch, FOX 7's Noelle Newton visits with a group in Bell County that is on a daily mission to lift the spirits of officers through prayer.
Like other officers across the country, Bell County Deputy Jarred O'Brien has worn a black band across his badge for weeks, in memory of his brothers and sisters killed in the line of duty.
"It breaks your heart a little bit when you read the stories. When it hits close to home it may hit you a little bit harder. You may go home and have a few minutes to yourself before you talk to the family or friends,” said O’Brien.
Just when he needed it most a letter showed up in his mailbox at work.
"It was a card from a lady who said she adopted me to be my prayer partner,” said O’Brien. "She thanked me for my service and let me know that she's praying for me."
The card has been on his nightstand ever since.
"It lifts your spirits. It lets you know that people are looking out for you and appreciate the service that we do,” O’Brien.
The gesture began with Bell County Sheriff Assistant Tambra Wills.
"They had lost some officers in Killeen and I went to their funerals and it really hit home how real it is, what kind of danger they're in every day. So being a person of faith I actually prayed about it and asked the lord what he wanted me to do if there was anything,” said Wills. "One day the thought just crossed my head Adopt-A-Cop. That's kind of cute."
She searched online and found the national organization called Adopt-A-Cop. Volunteers pledge to pray for law enforcement officers every day.
Wills created a Bell County Adopt-A-Cop chapter in 2015. There are now church members assigned to nearly 300 officers.
"It just seemed obvious to me that prayer was the answer,” said prayer partner Ottis Jenkins.
Ottis Jenkins leads the membership at his church in Killeen. They are praying for 61 men and women they've never met.
"I only know his first name's Fred and he's in Killeen,” said Jenkins. "I do pray for him every day and think about him."
In a difficult time when officers are dying almost weekly, such a simple act can mean all the difference in the world.
"It gives you a purpose,” said O’Brien.
"It makes me feel good. It really does. That our efforts maybe can help a little,” said Wills.
You can get more information about the group here.