Shield-A-Badge program enters 17th year
By Nathan Hardin
SALISBURY — Seventeen years after starting Rowan County’s Shield-A-Badge with Prayer program, the Rev. Michael Taylor isn’t finished.
Taylor said the program, which asks volunteers to pledge to pray for an officer every day for a year, can use more “prayer partners.”
Taylor started the program in Rowan County in 1995. Last fall, he was appointed to executive director of the North Carolina Sheriff’s Chaplains Association.
“As far as I know, we’re the oldest active Shield-A-Badge program in the state of North Carolina among other chaplain peers,” Taylor said.
Along with praying, the program also asks volunteers to send a card to their assigned officer on Christmas and the officer’s birthday.
Taylor said he has about 450 prayer partners registered for next year, but said the job is more dangerous than in previous years.
“There is a greater need because there is more danger,” Taylor said. “The statistics for law enforcement officers is a whole lot higher than it was years ago.”
Over the last few years, Taylor has helped expand the program statewide. Shield-A-Badge now includes everyone from 911 communicators to magistrate officials in several counties.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners has also proclaimed May the Shield-A-Badge Awareness Month.
“We just want to let them know they’re appreciated,” he said.
Rowan County Sheriff’s Office Capt. John Sifford said deputies remember the program when they’re going into dangerous situations.
“It’s always a comfort to have the Shield-A-Badge program, and to know that there are people out there that are praying for the officer’s safety and welfare,” Sifford said.
If you would like to start praying for an officer, or to donate to the program, contact the Rev. Michael Taylor at 704-782-7201, or write to him at 2675 Phaniels Church Road, Rockwell, N.C. 28138.