Monday, November 14, 2011


I am a volunteer Chaplain with the LA County Sheriff's Department. Chaplain duties include counseling, patrolling in black & whites with the deputies, and simple presence. Today I will work one of my collateral duties. I am a Range Master for one of our mobile shooting ranges. I sought this out, went through training and love doing it. Okay, I do get some looks. A Chaplain in the shooting range?! Yeah. My Granddad was a deputy. I learned to shoot when I was a kid. and it is one sport where my normal terminal awkwardness is absent.

Amazing though it sounds, the range is a great fit for me as a Chaplain. I'm supposed to minister to the deputies, their families and department personnel. Traditionally, that's accomplished by ride-a-longs and station presence. I've done a lot of ride-a-longs. You spend eight hours in a car with a deputy, responding to calls and simply patrolling the streets. I enjoy it. It's an intense eight hour session. One deputy at a time. At first the deputies look at me like: why is this person in my car, is he reporting on me for the brass? I always start a first ride with a deputy saying, Good news and bad news. Good news; I'm not Internal Affairs. Bad news; I'm a preacher.

Thing is, I meet more deputies in a more comfortable setting when I work the range. The conversation is less formal. The deputies see me out of my high, priestly environment; Why, the Chaplain might actually be a human, like me.

I'm off. Looking forward to my day.

1 comment:

Carol Anne Wright Swett said...

Hope you make some amazing connections with amazing chances to minister to officers who are always over stressed and underpaid!