IMPD chaplain retiring after 23 years of service

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He's seen just about everything in his 23 years as chaplain for the Indianapolis Police Department and IMPD.

He's also counseled officers and spoke at funerals. Now, chaplain Philip Bacon is retiring from the department.

"One life lost in the line of duty does not mean the war against crime is over or ever will be. The resolve to stand firm against chaos only grows stronger," Bacon told thousands this month at the funeral of fallen IMPD Officer Perry Renn.

Bacon's words uplifted a police department in mourning for one of its own, something he's done time and again over the years.

"You have to come up with the right words," said Bacon, speaking about what's its like to try and bring comfort to an entire police force. "You have to take the right approach, because any one of the officers that's gathered there take the same oath and they could have to stand in that place if necessary."

Finding the right words is something Bacon has had to do plenty of times, knocking on countless doors in this city to deliver life-changing news to a family.

"I'm going to tell them the absolute worst news that they could ever expect, someone in their family died," said Bacon.

After for more than 20 years, in a job he considers a calling, there are still some cases, Bacon will never forget.

"I have one, particularly, that happened early in my career, but I will always remember it. It was a multi-casualty incident. A freight into a car," recalled Bacon.

There have been hundreds since then, but it's never gotten any easier.

"I know that sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes it happens to good people," said Bacon. "I just ask the Lord for strength to help me get through this and to give strength to the family that I'm going to meet."

This week, Bacon is walking away from a career he considers a ministry and police force that's like a second family to him.

"Chaplain Bacon, everyone knows, is absolutely revered on our police department," said IMPD Assistant Chief Ron Hicks at a reception to honor Bacon's service to the department. "If he had a rank, it would be general."

"It is also an honor to pay homage to a man who has blessed, prayed over, stood by, held hands, cried with, not only the police department, but the city," said Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Rick Hite.

It's a police department and a city in which Bacon has touched countless lives, where now, his absence will be felt.

"I'm ready to step away," said Bacon, even though IMPD officers will always hold a special place in his heart and his prayers.

His last day is Thursday.

In the near future, he and his wife Sandy are planning some trips out west to see their new granddaughter.