Hillsboro Fire Department awards ceremony

At the recent awards ceremony at the Hillsboro Fire department, executive chaplain Steve Brodehl came away with several new awards. He received a medal of Valor for his life saving efforts in Hawaii (while on vacation!!!) when a dive instructor suffered a cardiac arrest under water 75 yards off shore. He also received a Distinguished Service award for his work in assisting 4 other Police and Fire agencies across the state this past year when personnel were murdered.

Steve has set a great example this past year of what it means to be a Chaplain; self-less, tireless and dedicated to the public agencies he serves and the community at large. Public Safety Chaplaincy; an organization of 11 hard working Chaplains are proud to call Steve one of their own.

Chaplain Steve Brodehl receiving two awards


Part One

  1. You get to stand on the front lines of making a great society. I bet you never thought you were making a great society but I am here to tell you that you are. You make it every time you finish your day and go home. You do it every time you make a stop on a street and advise someone who is driving badly that it is safer for them and everyone else if they obey the law. You are the reason why many drunk drivers actually get home. You do it every time you make a report, or go to a home to help, or talk to kids on the street. You do it every day on every shift across America. America is one of the safest countries in the world because you are there, every day, seven days a week twenty four hours a day you are there and our world is healthier for it.
  2. You get to work with a group honest people. Now before you start making a list of the offenders you know. Let me ask you. Of all the people that you know who obeys the law, who is more law abiding that the people you work with? Do you realize that the number of law breaking officers in this country is inconceivably small compared to other countries where police graft is rampant? In many countries around the world seeing a police officer is the equivalent of seeing a robber coming. How fortunate you are that the people you work with don’t snitch your lunch or break into your locker or steal your car and if they do it usually makes national news.
  3. You get to understand and appreciate what it means to have real support. One of the great things about law enforcement is that you get to work alongside people who will stand by you. They will be there when some nut begins to shoot or threaten you or seeks to harm you. Police officers form a bond that holds them together through thick and thin. They are some of the very few people who actually train how to cover and protect each other in dangerous situations. Support is a real thing in law enforcement and you get to work right in the midst of it. You have heard it before but when everyone else is running out it’s your fellow officer who is running in and usually as fast as they can go.
  4. You get to do something to improve society. Ask any “new” officer why he became an officer and you will get something like this. “I wanted to help my community.” They say that with real conviction because it is the major motivating cause for men and women going into law enforcement. You may not realize that you are doing this but every night someone doesn’t rob a home is a day credited to you. Multiply that by the thousands of homes in your community and you begin to see how much you mean to our community and its wellbeing.
  5. You get to change people’s lives from going down to going up. I know there are many who are creating chaos in our society but just think of how many you have had the opportunity to at some ideal moment help them make a decision to walk down a different path. I have noticed that even on the free way folks drive better when they see a police car. They make room for others, they watch their speed, they are careful about not crowding others, in a dozen ways they are better because they see your car.

Disclaimer: I know there are bad cops but they aren’t many and for most of you they aren’t in your class. Thanks for being the kind of officers that I know. 

Written by Police Chaplain Chuck Bowman, who is honored to work with police officers

Beaverton’s finest

With around 100,000 person population and only 130+ officers, captain Dan Gill has his hands full keeping the peace in Beaverton, Oregon. He is a veteran officer with 21 years in the Beaverton PD and currently manages the training and new officer hiring. He has seen it all but is increasingly worried about the effects the job has on his officers and the toll it takes on their personal lives and family.

One of his best resources of support for his team is his Chaplain; Paul Olds. Paul has been around the block as well but God is using him mightly within the walls of the Beaverton PD. Private conversations and moments with line officers seeking some advice and prayer is the easy stuff for Paul. Jumping out of a squad car on a routine ride-a-along to help an officer being attacked by a “perp” was not what he was expecting that day but he did it anyway. As he says; “these are my guys and I know they would have my back in the same situation so what else was i going to do!”

Paul’s hands are full most days, getting his guys to move on and not get emotionally involved in the job that exposes them to the worst of humanity at times. Dan mentioned that he used to have less then 10 officers working sex crimes but now has over 50% of his staff dealing with it at some point in their job. More then ever he is looking for ways to support them and their spouses so that their personal life away from the job is as normal as possible.

The guys utilize any and all resources available including the B&H Officers bible, Courageous movie and books from various Christian authors like Randy Alcorn and Lee Strobel. It’s having a positive effect as he has a group of officers that have taken the same challenge from the movie and started an accountability group and are looking to publicaly declare their allegiance to their families, spouses and their Lord.

Our time ended with both men sharing stories and talking about the Carrie Underwood song; Jesus take the wheel. As you can imagine the lyrics mean alot to both men and left both of them wiping away a tear.

Ya, I would say that Beaverton’s in good hands these days, can’t wait for my next visit with captain Dan Gill and Paul.

Police Chaplain Training

Recently several of our police chaplains attended the International Conference for Police chaplains Northwest yearly training seminar.

Take a look at their site, what a great organization and resource for many of our police chaplains at Public safety Chaplains:


New Year, New US

The year 2011 will certainly go down as the year of the disaster. Record Tornado’s touched down all over the country but especially devastated the towns of Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Ala. Earthquakes rocked Japan, Turkey and New Zealand leaving over 16,000 dead in their wake.

Disasters do not just come in the form of horrible weather either, as we experienced incredible tragedy when representative Gabby Gifford and 18 other people were shot on January 8, 2011 during a public meeting held in a supermarket parking lot near Tucson, Az.

The scary thing for most of us is that this is possible and/or has already happened in your town or to your friends or family. Needless to say we hope that you had a great support group or church family surrounding those involved.

The police or Fireman that responded, often placing themselves in harms way, became the cushion of support or safety for those most affected by these events. Little noticed at the time, ducking their head under the yellow tape and headed straight toward the victims or surviving family is a chaplain.

He has been called out of his home at short notice and responds within moments and sometimes gets to the scene before the police or fire department staff.

He has seen tragedy before and by God’s grace is prepared to dispense kind words and practical insight and care. Most have Critical incident training and know how and what to do within a crime scene, accident or fire.

Many public agencies know and appreciate the care and concern they bring to their organization, as this same counseling and prayerful concern is extended to those police and fire staff everyday.

I have talked to police on drive along’s in gang invested neighborhoods, seeing the worst of what our society has to offer and they freely admit they could not do their job without the support of their chaplain. Carefully placed words in midnight phone calls or O’dark 30 coffee talks are the medicine that soothes their fragile ego’s or greatest fears.

Public agency staff experience the highest divorce rates and incidents of substance abuse with alcohol or pain pills. Long hours behind the wheel, mixed with low public respect and a hightened sense of self-survival are not the ingredients of healthy relationships. At times the ONLY person they can talk to and feel safe is their chaplain.

At this time of year as we renew old pledges and commitments and check our heart for things needing cleansed, we ask that you keep our chaplains in your prayers.

Additionally, if you have enjoyed God’s blessing this past year we would even (dare) ask that you contribute to a chaplain in your area. Public Safety Chaplains has staff on site in almost 15 public agencies within the tri-county area surrounding Portland. They serve by God’s grace, most without a paycheck and constantly pulling money out of their pocket to help a fellow officer out.

They need your prayers and support.

Helping out in the least likely of places!

Executive Chaplain Steve Brodehl just sent me note from a small town in Eastern Oregon;

I’m still here in NE Oregon assisting the two fire departments with services and support surrounding their tragic losses of fire fighters. (One suicide and one murder).  Each little town population is under 1,000 people and they are about 8 miles apart (essentially one department)

You would love my living arrangments…in the Chiefs old house.  15 degrees outside, 33 degrees inside .  Dinner last night was “Tator Tot cassarole” and ritz crackers…  Really, it is such a blessing to be here helping these folks.  I taught the volunteers at drill last night.  We discussed dealing with stress and loss etc.  I left after a couple of hours of drill and chit chat.  About 30 minutes later, they call and ask me to return to the station.  I find a young man in the corner of a small room, sobbing.  He is simply overcome with sadness and life in general.  I toss everyone else out of the building and plop down on the floor beside him.  We share and cry together for 30 minutes.  At the end of that time, he allows me to put my arm around him and simply begin to pray for him. (he is NOT a Christian at any level).  It was awesome to see the Lord move right in that space and touch him. Words will never fill the space.

Oregon International Air Show

The Oregon International Air Show presented by Standard TV & Appliance has approved a grant for Public safety Chaplaincy of  $2,000  from the 2011 Air Show funds.   The 2011 donation total will exceed $70,000 and bring the overall air show donation total to over $1,220,000.

2011 was another excellent year for the Air Show.  We celebrated our 24th year with over 65,000 people attending!  Each year the Oregon International Air Show serves over 50 charities with net profit dollars from this event.  We are a volunteer-based organization and count on your time and effort to help this event succeed.  It is a rewarding use of volunteer time and makes it possible for us to help worthy organizations like yours with the net proceeds.

Whom We Serve


It is our policy at Public Safety Chaplaincy, Inc. to respond at the request of the Police, Fire, EMS and Dispatch organizations, which we serve, and the greater community without regard to faith. Ours is a ministry of presence in many cases, and is not predicated on having a faith or being of a particular faith. In the capacity as chaplains they do not “evangelize” anyone unless requested by the individual.

Welcome to the World of a Police Chaplain

You are about to embark upon a journey of discovery that will open your eyes to a whole new world. A world that includes dedicated service, honor, heartache, shattered lives and broken homes. A world of hard work, long hours, and sleepless nights where life and death decisions are around every corner and where strangers judge your every move. You are about to discover the world of law enforcement from a chaplain’s perspective. I love this world and I hope you will too. I’ll introduce you to what the men and women of law enforcement live with day after day and along the way I hope that your respect and understanding of those who serve us grows. Hopefully you’ll gain an understanding of what officers do on a daily basis, the stress they endure, and the price they pay for keeping us safe. So join me as I tell you stories of “The Sheepdogs of Gresham”. We’ll pause here and there and tell stories of travels, adventures, and the stuff of life so, let’s begin.

“The seaman tells stories of winds, the ploughman of bulls; the soldier details his wounds, the shepherd his sheep (dogs).”

Sextus Propertius

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