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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended July 09, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 06Jul00

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 said.

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.


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