The Chaplain's Notebook


I am deeply honored to write a word of encouragement to you, the sworn and the professional staff. We are all called on to serve in our own capacity. Not all are called to do the same work in the same way. No two deputies or support staff function in the same way. We do not have the same belief systems and may not be driven by the same motivation.

What I have discovered drives some people to serve the community are some of the following: money, prestige, fame, recognition, approval, hard work and the family’s expectation. The problems that arise from these motivations are that they are usually short-lived, can lead to frustrations and can cause self-destruction if not managed correctly. For instance, money is something that is great to have because we all need it, but that should not be the main reason why one became a deputy. The main reason why one became a deputy should be because one wants to serve and protect. The truth is, money does not make us happy, and it does not always solve our problems and provide us with a sense of inner peace. To some people, the more money they have, the more they seem to want it. But they never seem to be satisfied with what they already have. People who are truly happy are content with or without it.

In addition, there are some who feel superficially proud and exhibit the superman complex when they put on the uniform, simply because they are a deputy or a law enforcement officer. They may make mistakes and create problems for the supervisors. We need to realize the uniform does not make us; rather, our life makes us who we are. We should always stay focused on who we are and what our role is. There are some who say, “Here I am; do as I say,” even if they are wrong. There are others who have just started and want to be supervisors immediately. I am a firm believer that we should take the time to learn our job well before we try for a promotion. We should work on our people and communication skills before we try to seek a promotion, not the other way around. If you work to the best of your ability by following directions well, studying and preparing yourself, you will render better service with humility. We do not have to seek out approval. It will come with our hard work, because it’s all about service and respect. Anything short of that is a waste of time and energy.

Serving as a chaplain, I have discovered it is not just having a title. Rather, it is about service with a great attitude. It is about doing the little things, like when a deputy or staff calls a chaplain at two in the morning because of the loss of a loved one. I wake up and take the call, and provide comfort, support and aftercare. Because we work in a service-oriented business, we have to be mindful that we represent the Department. People will judge the Department by our action. As we enter 2017, let us all pause, reflect and recommit our lives to the service we have been given to render. No matter what role we serve in, let us strive for excellence in all that we do, making our great Department even greater than in 2016.

May God richly bless and keep you.

How can I contact a chaplain? Chaplains are available at their unit of assignment, or by calling the Psychological Services Bureau at (213) 738-3500.