I have now served for nearly four years as a chaplain with the Lancaster and Palmdale stations. I hope it does not sound too cliché to reflect on the time I have been with LASD as a chaplain. But I have to say that it has been a challenging and rewarding experience. Talking about stepping out of your comfort zone! I have had to stretch myself to learn the law enforcement culture and then tried to fit in as much as I could with a tight-knit community of law enforcement officers. I can honestly say that I have witnessed professionalism at every level. Sure, there were times that I personally would have done things differently, but nothing I have seen made me cringe, feel ashamed or worried that the deputy I was with would get into trouble. I have seen respect and even restraint in situations where, frankly, I was tempted to borrow the deputy’s night stick and start smacking people. (That is probably why chaplains do not carry night sticks!) I have seen deputies keep their cool when we were rolling Code 3 and there was a driver who froze and literally blocked the traffic in front of us. But most of all, I have seen men and women who just wanted to get the job right by stopping the bad guys while protecting the good ones. I have learned a lot from all of them. I have tried to stay out of their way so they could do their job, and I tried to help where I could.
Some deputies were more open to my riding with them than others. I understand that. After all, I am a visitor in their “office” and another responsibility to take care of. At the beginning of a ride-along, some were not sure why I was there. So I learned to give a short explanation early in the ride to put them at ease. Every deputy tried to accommodate me, even though I had to let them know that I was on their schedule for the ride-along. (Don’t change anything you do because of me.) My job was to support them and not to cause them extra work. Along the way, I have made some new friends in the Department and have been proud to be a small part of their lives.
Now that my time as a chaplain for LASD is coming to an end, I want to give thanks to all whom I have had the pleasure to work with. I have been asked to become the new dean of a ministry school in Singapore. Unless the good Lord changes those plans, I am scheduled to leave in May and my family will join me in June. I do not know yet if the police department in Singapore has a chaplain program, but if they do, I am going to apply. And if they do not, I would like to help them start one. I am thankful to the Sheriff’s Department for its support and training. I am also thankful for all who serve at the Psychological Services Bureau, which consists of a fine and caring group of psychologists and professionals. Finally, I am thankful to all the deputies who serve, especially those at the Palmdale and Lancaster stations. I am also grateful to my fellow chaplains who volunteer and serve because they care and want to help. I have had the opportunity to be a part of the law enforcement community, which most people will never have the chance to do. Thank you all. And continue to strive for excellence!
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.