Summarized by Kent Larsen
Mormon takes his place among police chaplains
Chicago IL Sun-Times 5Jul00 D2
By Ernest Tucker: Religion Reporter
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- On January 16th, LDS Church member Carlos Cortez
became the first Mormon chaplain of the Chicago Police Department.
Cortez is an active officer on the force, just like three of the
other four chaplains. And like the others, he will hear the concerns
of those of any religion, "I don't turn anyone away. I've had people
who are Muslims, Jewish, Catholic, nondenominational Christian," he
The appointment reflects well on the LDS Church, which has about
24,000 members in metropolitan Chicago. It is not known how many LDS
Church members are on the Chicago police force, but there are some,
according to the article. Cortez's stake president, James Van De
Graaf of the Wilmette Stake, agrees that this is important for the
Church in Chicago, "I think its a very important step, not just for
Brother Cortez, but for the visibility of the church generally. To
realize we are a mainstream church . . . and have a great deal to
offer in terms of our values and morals, is important."
Cortez, who was raised a Catholic, joined the LDS Church a decade
ago, after an older brother joined the Church. But Cortez didn't join
immediately, instead struggling with his spirituality for a time, and
then reaching an epiphany when he encountered a pair of LDS
missionaries on the streets of Chicago's North Side. That encounter
made all the difference, "I felt their spirituality," he said.
Cortez first joined the police force in 1986, working first as a
patrolman. Since then, he has worked as an instructor at the police
academy, before getting the appointment to Chaplain in January.