The basics: Rodney Lowery, 46, is senior chaplain for the Fresno Police Department. He has been married for 25 years and has two sons and a daughter.
What he does: He directs the work of the police chaplains -- he describes them as members of a "spiritual MASH unit" who come to the aid of victims of crimes, domestic violence, traffic collisions and other traumatic events. Chaplains may be called out at any hour of any day to help community members deal with crises.
Why he does it: Lowery was a Fresno police officer who worked with the violent crime unit and was also a K-9 officer. In 2000, he was hit by a drunken driver while on duty and was forced to retire because of the injuries he sustained. He returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree and then a master's degree in divinity. He then joined the chaplain's unit. "This is the perfect opportunity to impact people because everybody has lost something in the last few years and people realize that material things can be lost in a moment," he said. "There are some things that are a little more important."
Details, details: There are 22 volunteer police chaplains and 13 school resource police chaplains. Patrol chaplains can be sent to any critical incident. They help counsel victims and assist them in getting long-term support. For example: In the aftermath of the November shooting at Valley Protein in central Fresno, eight chaplains were quickly on the scene, providing breakfast and spiritual support to plant workers. School resource chaplains are trained to spot victims of child abuse and help them get help. "Many times kids don't report crimes until they are in their late teens," Lowery said. Chaplains try to get them help sooner.
What others say: "Our chaplains are a very valuable resource to the department and the community. I can't imagine leading a department without them," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
How you can help: Anyone wishing to become involved with the chaplain program should visit the website: fresnopdchaplaincy.org.
-- Jim Guy