The war in Iraq has impacted the lives of many families throughout the United States. The war also has impacted organizations, and law enforcement is no exception.
Many law enforcement professionals are members of U. S. military reserve programs and are subject to long-term deployments, as has happened during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It happened to our organization just a couple of years ago when one of our officers was deployed for over a year. As an organization, we simply had to work with the shortage and wait for him to return.
Our officer was not the only person in our organization who has experienced a long-term military deployment. We currently have a police chaplain stationed in El Centro as part of Operation Jump Start, a National Guard contingent activated to support the United States Border Patrol in securing our border with Mexico. Chris Guadiz is a chaplain with the California National Guard and he reported for this current duty in September of last year. This deployment could last until the latter part of 2008.
Ironically, in February of last year, my wife and I, along with all the other police chaplains, went out to dinner to welcome Chris home after an 18-month deployment to Kosovo. During this excursion, Chris was separated from his wife and two small children, returning home only once to visit. This was a very difficult time for all of them, but they persevered. It was very surprising when I received a call from Chris only six months later that there was a possibility of this second deployment. He received his orders and was gone a month later.
Due to this second deployment, Chris had to relinquish his current position as an associate pastor with one of our local churches, rent out his home and relocate to Southern California. This time, though, his family was able to go with him. Although the last few years have been quite a journey for Chris and his family, he has always remained enthusiastic about serving others. I appreciate the sacrifices Chris and his family have made for our country, the Lodi Police Department and our community. He definitely has the gift of service.
Chris has been a Lodi Police chaplain since 2002 and he exemplifies the type of person we are looking for in filling these positions. Our chaplains walk into situations when people are suffering the most, with the intent of providing comfort and counsel. Most of the times they are warmly received, but on occasion, they are coldly rejected. It takes special people with a special calling to walk in their shoes. Chris is just such a person, as are all of our chaplains. I look forward to seeing Chris and hope he can return to serve the police department and our community again.
In the Book of Matthew, Jesus said, "But the greatest among you will be your servant." Service to others is what the Lodi Police Chaplaincy is all about. If you have any questions about the Lodi Police Chaplaincy or are interested in serving in this capacity, please do not hesitate to contact me by mailing to 215 W. Elm St., Lodi, CA 95240; calling (209) 333-5501; or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions, comments, or observations for Behind the Badge can be mailed to the Lodi Police Department, 215 W. Elm St., Lodi, CA 95240; or phoned in to 333-6800, Box 2409.