About Chaplain Steve
In 1970, while working as a civilian for the Los Angeles Police Department, Chaplain Steve received a letter from the Department of Defense, informing him that Uncle Sam would like to have him for a couple of years. Chaplain Steve served in the U.S. Army, working as a Surgeon’s Assistant in the operating room from 1970-1973. In 1973, he was hired by the Riverside City Fire Department and served with them until 1993, leaving at the rank of suppression captain.
In 1993, he entered into full time ministry as an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA. Soon after, he founded the Shield of Faith Ministry, which was an outreach for police officers, firefighters and their families, in order to encourage them in their profession and spiritual walk.
Chaplain Steve knows the type of society that the men and women of law enforcement and the fire service have to deal with on a daily basis. He understands how discouraged they can become on the job. He knows how jaded they can become towards those they care for and love the most—their family. He is very familiar with the effects their job can have upon them and their family members. He is acquainted with the anger that can arise as they see the tragic aftermath of a drunk driver, or the results of a domestic violence call. He has experienced the stress of having to deal with personal problems on the job, and he can identify with the difficulty in performing their jobs.
Chaplain Steve is aware of the amount of infidelity and high divorce rate among firefighter’s and police officers. He is not blind to the fact that alcoholism in these professions is twice the national average; that domestic violence among police officers is among the highest of all professions; and that the suicide rate in these professions is anywhere between two and four times the national average. His desire is to help these men and women perform better, both in the workplace and at home. After 14 years, the Shield of Faith ministry ended in order that he could focus more on his chaplaincy work.
Chaplain Steve began as a chaplain with the Riverside Sheriff Department (Jurupa Valley) for three years prior to taking the lead chaplain role for the Riverside Police and Fire Department. He is also lead chaplain for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the Southern California Chapter of Concerns for Police Survivors (COPS).
In 2008, Chaplain Steve stepped away from the church and began Living Shield Ministries. His mission is simple. He is a “First responder to the first responders and to the community they serve.” Chaplain Steve helps to train other men and women in Chaplaincy work, and then assists in placing them within the community.
He is a member of the Cal-Fire Chaplain Corps, Southern California Chaplain Association (SCCA), OES Chaplaincy, International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC), International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), National Center of Chaplain Development (NCCD), The Counseling Team International (TCTI), and the BGEA Rapid Response Team.
Chaplain Steve has received training in and is certified in Critical Incident Stress Management, including four certificates of Specialized Training. He has received training in Individual Crisis Intervention and Peer Support, Group Crisis Intervention, Advanced Crisis Intervention, Suicide Prevention – Intervention and Postvention, How to deal with line-of-duty deaths, Basic and Advanced Pastoral Crisis Intervention, Law Enforcement Perspectives to CISM Enhancement, Stress Management for Trauma Providers, Domestic Violence, Domestic Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Responding to School Crisis, Critical Incident Stress Management Application with Children, Death Notifications, Post Trauma Syndrome, Grief Following Trauma, Emotional and Spiritual Care, Compassion Fatigue, Strategic Response to Crisis, and ICS 100, 200, 300, 400, 700, and 800.
Chaplain Steve is an Approved Instructor with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), able to train others in Grief Following Trauma, Assisting Individuals in Crisis, Group Crisis Intervention, Pastoral Crisis Intervention I and II, Law Enforcement Perspectives for CISM Enhancement, and Strategic Response to Crisis. He is also a trainer for the National Center for Chaplain Development (NCCD) and BGEA Rapid Response Team.
Chaplain Steve is able to respond to the aftermath of any critical incident, when requested, in order to provide emotional and spiritual care and support. He has also had the opportunity to train many men and women in chaplaincy work and crisis intervention, including police and fire chaplains from different agencies.
Chaplain Steve is a volunteer member of The Counseling Team International (TCTI), which responds to critical incidents to assist in debriefings after a line-of-duty-death or other major crisis. He has been directly involved with 12 line-of-duty-deaths of police officers and firefighters from many agencies (Riverside Police Department, Riverside Fire Department, California Department of Forestry, California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriff Department, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, Rialto Police Department).
Chaplain Steve spent 16 days in New York City after the September 11, 2001 attack against America, providing emotional and spiritual care to many members of NYPD and FDNY at ground Zero. He took two teams of chaplains to New Orleans, LA after Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustov to minister to the New Orleans Police Department and Fire Department. He has been to Washington D.C. for National Police Week on four occasions, where he has assisted in debriefing and counseling police officers and family members of those who had been killed in the line-of-duty.
In 2008, Chaplain Steve, along with three other chaplains from across the United States, spent eight days in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis devastated the region and killed over 100,000 people. While there, he was able to assist in training 44 pastors in trauma and grief counseling, in order for them to provide crisis intervention to their church body and community. Most recently, Chaplain Steve responded to Prescott, AZ in the aftermath of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew, who were overrun and killed by a wild land fire.
Chaplain Steve has a monthly Newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter on our web page.
Chaplain Steve is available to officiate at funerals and weddings.
Chaplain Steve is available to speak at men’s retreats, police officers and/or firefighter conferences, or couples conference.
Chaplain Steve and his wife, Sonja, have been married for 33 years and reside in Riverside, California. They have four sons, eleven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.