Father Keith Fallis, Vicar of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, plays an active role in comforting friends and family of fallen officers. Father Fallis happens to be a retired Tulsa Police officer with 35 years of service in law enforcement.
Fr. Fallis, who has served as a chaplain since 2010 said he stepped into the role because “several people in the group told the president of the Lodge (FOP) that I should do it, and that is how I got the position.”
Father Fallis is a member of the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, and serves both at local and state level. He is a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains, the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, and is also the chaplain for the Tulsa Police Retired Officers Association.
Fr. Fallis explained his role in these organizations.
“The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation deals with critical incidents, and I am on a peer team when there is a critical incident, and officers need to be debriefed, I could be called to help with that.
“In the Tulsa Police Retired Officers Association, I am just their chaplain. It is retired officers from the Tulsa area, It is not just necessarily Tulsa Police officers, but officers from the Tulsa regional Metro area. Any officer can join, and that is just a fellowship of retired officers that gather.
“The Fraternal Order of Police is a fraternal organization, and it is also a labor organization for police officers.”
Besides all his duties in the various origination, Father Fallis is a trustee in the Oklahoma Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors.
“It started in 1984, and they started working with spouses who lost a loved one in the line of duty. The organization has grown because we discovered there are more than spouses and children, there are siblings, there are parents, there are coworkers, there are significant others who were engaged but never married. They have all been affected by line of duty deaths. We have summer camps for the kids and different events for the coworkers and the family members to help with traumatic loss that they have experienced.”
When asked how many hours he devotes to these worthy organizations, Fr. Fallis said, “Quite a bit, It all kind of depends on what is going on. When McAlester had their deaths, it was pretty consistent involvement for several days in a row, after that it kind of slows down. I could easily say I spend twenty hours a week on stuff.”
He both officiates at officers’ funerals and serves in an advisory role.
Fr. Fallis said he is motivated by the loving gratitude expressed by the survivors.
He recalled what the widow of an 84-year-old retired officer said after the service:
“She was thankful that there was another officer as well as a chaplain who had performed the service for her husband and was comforted by the fact of knowing that I had been a police officer and understood the roles and challenges that officers face.
“After the service, several people went up to her as well as me and said they appreciated how I did the service, how it was structured, what I said, and how I talked about the officer and his life and associated that with scripture.
That is one of the things that you may say that motivates me. It is helping the family transition in such a difficult time.”
Father Fallis will be representing the State FOP at the National Law Enforcement Officer’s 35th Annual Candlelight Vigil held on the National Mall between 4th and 7th streets in Washington, DC, at 8:00 pm on May 13, 2023.