The Knoxville Police Department is now in possession of a statue of the patron protector of police officers — courtesy of Bishop Richard F. Stika and the Diocese of Knoxville.
Bishop Stika on Feb. 27 presented the 3-foot-tall metal likeness of St. Michael the Archangel to Police Chief David Rausch, Deputy Chief Gary Holliday, who is Support Services Division commander, Lt. Doug Stiles, who heads the Violent Crime Unit, and Capt. Eve Thomas, who is the East District commander, for display in the Safety Building.
Bishop Stika made the presentation in gratitude for the Knoxville Police Department leadership’s assistance during the Eucharistic Congress in September. Joining the bishop from the diocese were Deacon Sean Smith, chancellor, and Paul Simoneau, director of the Office of Justice and Peace.
The Police Department leaders receiving the statue are Catholics who are members of Immaculate Conception, Holy Ghost, Holy Family and All Saints churches.
Lt. Stiles and his brother, Capt. Jeff Stiles, are second-generation police officers. Their father, 31-year KPD veteran Tommy Stiles, passed away in 2012. Jeff Stiles, who also took part in the Eucharistic Congress security detail, was in training and unable to attend the statue presentation.
As part of the presentation, Bishop Stika gave this prayer to accompany the statue:
St. Michael the Archangel
Patron Protector of Police Officers
To the Men and Women of the Knoxville Police Department
From Bishop Richard F. Stika and the Faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville
Praying for your blessing and protection as you endeavor to protect and serve all who are entrusted to your care
St. Michael the Archangel has long been celebrated as the patron protector of police officers. In the Old Testament he appears as the defender of Israel, and in the New Testament as the angelic leader of God’s victory over the forces of evil. Saint Michael’s name means, “Who is like God?” and expresses the faithfulness we are all encouraged to have towards our Creator and in turn towards our fellow man. May this statue be an inspiration to all at the Knoxville Police Department as you strive in faithfulness to be protectors and to serve the common good.