SBTS student transitions to ministry after 29 years as policeman

Communications Staff — December 21, 2006

Daryl Poe saw firsthand the depths of human sinfulness during his 29 years of service in law enforcement.

At the Miami Township Police Department in Ohio, where he served for most of his career, Poe remembers one case where a 15-year-old boy murdered a 17-year-old classmate with no motive other than wanting to kill another human.

“It was without a specific motive other than he wanted to know what it was like to murder someone,” Poe said. “In the investigation I was able to reveal he had been involved in the occult. He had been messing around with satanic books.”

On another occasion Poe investigated the death of a woman and her two children who died in a mobile home fire. Though he could never prove it, Poe suspected that it was murder and that he knew the killer’s identity.

But after attacking the problem of sinfulness from a law enforcement perspective for nearly three decades, Poe has been called to confront the problem from a different angle: as a minister of the Gospel.

Poe retired from the Miami Township Police Department in July and is now pursuing a master of divinity degree at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as interim pastor at Belmar Baptist Church in Louisville.

Growing up as the son of a Southern Baptist minister, Poe felt called to ministry at an early age but initially thought he had misperceived his calling. So when he graduated from high school, he entered law enforcement.

After serving with the Hocking County Sheriff’s Department in Logan, Ohio, he moved to the Cincinnati area in 1979 and began work with the Miami Township Police as a road patrol officer. He later served as a detective sergeant and as a road patrol first line supervisor. In 1991 Poe was promoted to lieutenant as the department’s first patrol division commander.

“I felt the call to ministry at an early age, but by the time I graduated from high school, I figured that was just a misperception on my behalf, and I started my police career,” he said.

Yet the desire to minister never left Poe through his years of police work.

In 1989 he was asked to preach on Baptist Men’s Day at the church in Milford, Ohio, where he served as a deacon.

“I had the opportunity to bring the message that Sunday, and when I finished I knew that the call was still there and was real,” he said.

During the next few years Poe began to do supply preaching, and in 1994 he took an interim pastorate in Georgetown, Ohio. In 1995 he took another interim at the First Baptist Church of Felicity, Ohio. The Felicity position led to Poe being ordained as the church’s pastor in 1996, where he served until October of 2005.

In Felicity Poe saw God begin to use his life to bring others to Christ. On multiple occasions he helped people move from a life of crime to a Christian life.

One woman was saved out of a life of drug abuse and alcoholism. Disease from her years of sin destroyed her liver, but Poe helped her live a vibrant Christian life for nearly three years.

“She ended up dying, but in the two and a half years she lived after she was saved I never met a girl that was more in love with the Lord and more busy in His Kingdom work,” he said. “What a blessing.”

Despite a successful police career, Poe decided eventually that he should retire and pursue theological education in preparation for further ministry.

“I felt the call to pursue the formal education here at Southern Seminary,” he said. “After ten years in Felicity and 29 years in law enforcement, both of those positions were coming to an end. So we decided it was time to pack up and come to Louisville.”

Poe does not know what the future holds specifically, but he knows he is called to pastor. As a pastor he wants to draw upon his experience as a police officer to minister to fellow law enforcement officials—perhaps as a chaplain.

Whether as a police officer or as a pastor, Poe said the underlying theme of his entire Christian life has been service.

“It’s all about service,” he said. “Police work and ministry are both service oriented. That’s what I’m all about.”

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