The Chaplain's Notebook, Uncategorized


How does your spirituality influence your duty?

Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than us. It typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience, something that touches us all. Spirituality is also individual, and deals with our need to maintain a sense of peace and purpose while linking us to the meaning of life and a connection with others.
In contrast, duty is ethical, legal or moral accountability. It often involves a task or action that a person is bound to perform out of respect for or in obedience to a superior or older person. Duty is the energy that binds one morally or legally to one’s obligations.

Spirituality adds another element. It can be found in all sorts of places if you are open to it! It performs two invaluable functions for us in law enforcement: First, it provides a firm foundation of moral belief, a base that not only keeps us on track morally, but provides relief from stress as well by giving deputies confidence and assurance that, whatever the outcome, their motivation was moral.
Being moral means making good choices between right and wrong or good and bad actions even when those choices are tough.

Morality is having a code of conduct. That code of conduct includes doing what is best, not just for ourselves, but for all involved. You know the feeling of stepping outside of morality simply by how you feel: guilt, shame, pain. Morality can vary. Some people, for instance, think that killing animals for sport is fine and some think it is not. We have our own moral code as well as society’s. The moral obligation of a deputy extends beyond mere legal compliance. Citizens expect deputies to operate not only legally, but morally.

Second, spirituality directs morality, which provides functionality. This trio of duty, morality and spirituality serves to enable deputies to continually see other individuals — even individuals who have committed the most heinous, despicable crimes imaginable — as human beings.

Any spiritual path that emphasizes morality and caring about others is helpful in the fulfillment of our duties. Remember, spirituality’s greatest power is to provide perspective in a world where being the person who keeps the peace is more difficult than ever.

I am happy to provide further spiritual counseling and support. Please feel free to contact me at
How can I contact a chaplain? Chaplains are available at their unit of assignment or by calling the Psychological Services Bureau (PSB) at (213) 738-3500.