The Chaplain's Notebook


I have had the honor of serving as a Sheriff’s chaplain for the past 17 years. It has been good. There have been times when silence on my part was a good thing and other times when a little advice did not hurt. There were also times when advice was out of the question and only a listening ear was the answer. So, as a pastor I follow these words, which were written in a book very familiar and dear to me: “Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain paraphrased it this way: “Better be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

There were times when you encouraged me to be a part of your life, and as we celebrated the joy of life together, I joined you in laughter. Other times, I silently cried with you when you suffered a major loss in your life. I have seen your courage figuratively roar as you responded to a number of calls that could have very possibly brought chaos into your life. Many times, I’ve seen your compassion when you responded, only to think, “How can I be of help?” or “How can I save this person?” There were times when I listened as you offered advice to persons under the influence of drugs. I saw you cry, and I silently cried with you, as you were faced with a fallen brother peace officer. These are things that the common citizen does not see: your courage in the face of personal peril, your compassion for those you serve and your pain when peril occurs in the line of duty. So many things have happened over these years that have heightened my thankfulness for your service.

Thank you for allowing me to become a part of your lives. Sheriff’s deputies are indeed people who are committed to service. You bring to reality the slogan on your patrol cars: “A Tradition of Service.” May the Lord bless you and keep you as you continue serving.

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.