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Powerful photo shows children of police officer praying he comes home safely

A powerful photo released by an Indiana police department shows a pair of children praying for their father's safe return home from work.
/ Source: TODAY

A powerful image showing two small children of a police officer praying for his safe return has captured some of the emotion surrounding violence against police across the country.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department posted the photo on its Facebook page Sunday along with the caption, "Praying their father and all police officers return home safely."

The photo was taken by the wife of an Indianapolis police officer, who wished to remain anonymous. It's been shared and liked several thousand times.

The officer said his children loved the police and did not understand the climate of hostility surrounding cops, according to Patrolman Jim Gillespie, an IMPD spokesperson.

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"As a police officer in Indianapolis, it does send a message of hope and a reminder of the attitude that the majority of citizens have for us, which is a supportive one,'' Gillespie told TODAY.

Protests over police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, as well as attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, have been deeply unsettling for law enforcement across the country.

"I've never seen in 30 years the level of violence towards officers and the amount of people that have condoned violence towards officers," IMPD Police Chief Troy Riggs said in a Facebook video with reporters in reaction to the national events.

"That cannot be tolerated."

RELATED: Daughters of slain Dallas police officers share touching moment at memorial

But anti-police sentiments have also been contrasted by several heartwarming gestures.

The Indianapolis photo was similar to one shared in March by North Carolina police officer Jordan Perkins showing him praying with his children before his shift.

Other positive moments included a touching meeting between two daughters of officers killed in the Dallas sniper attack and a 9-year-old girl who spent her birthday money buying lunch for local cops in Detroit.

Gillespie called the IMPD photo "a humbling image that will not soon be forgotten."

"It shows again, that we cannot let the actions of a few dictate how the community as whole feels about the police,'' he said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.