Our purpose is to provide officers with a retreat, offering respite, relief and an opportunity to seek some balance from the often emotionally and physically challenging career of law enforcement.
"Work and pray," the motto of the Benedictines, is one that Father Mike McCullough likes to use when talking about the Desert Refuge for Peace Officers, a center located in the desert community of Joshua Tree, California. This special place is the vision of Father Mike, a Catholic Priest, LAPD Reserve Officer, and law enforcement chaplain.
Through 37 years of ministering to the law enforcement community, Father Mike was led to establish and offer a place of rest and healing to police officers and those who support law enforcement.
Father Mike's vision began in 1986 when he realized that those dealing with the stress of police work needed a place to go for healing. Fr. Mike told LAPD publication The Blue Line, “The purpose of the Desert Refuge is to teach...solutions to burnout, hopefully in a pro-active way. We hope to deter suicide and cynicism before they become a fact.” At the Refuge, with no TV and other electronic distractions, people take the time to focus on their spiritual needs.
Fr. Mike, who planted over 70 trees at the refuge, says “There is unbelievable beauty in desert simplicity."