To Be Saved
Authored By: Bradley Chapline
Prison Chaplain Father Dave
Corrections Officer Bradley Chapline
I have to admit, when I was called into the lieutenant's office with one senior, and six other officers and were instructed to raid Father Dave's, (the Southern Desert Correction Center Chaplain) storage lockers, I was a bit uneasy about this.
But, upon entering the back of the chapel, there was already prison contraband lying adrift in this room. So, I took a pair of bolt cutters and cut the lock off of Father Dave's personal locker.
I couldn't believe what I found inside. There was inmate stolen property. Two portable televisions, three boom-boxes, and array of cassette tapes and CD's, and five pairs of Nike tennis shoes.
Father Dave approached me. He said, "This is all my personal gear, you can't confiscate my stuff." I replied, "Oh really? So, this is your stuff, right, Father Dave?" He confirmed that it was.
I then asked Father Dave, "So, who authorized you to bring all this property into the institution?" And, how did you get all this property into the institution? Father Dave did not respond. Of course, I knew he was lying.
I then showed Father Dave, where, on the electronics, the original inscriptions made by the SDCC property sergeant that identified the inmate who originally owned this particular piece of property, had been sanded off. Father Dave just continued staring at me, with a blank look on his face.
I then said, "So, Father Dave, you are harboring stolen inmate property? How about that, Father Dave! This is real Christian of you, isn't it, Father Dave?"
I could see the anger in his face, and him struggling to crack a smile.
But then, I really sent Father Dave over the edge when I said, "Well, well, this should be good enough to get you banned permanently from the institutional and all your inmate friends."
Father Dave then shot back, "I know a lot of people, I'll have your job for this!" I just laughed in his face.
I hauled all the stolen property out of the chapel, booking everything in as evidence. As I was walking out of the property room, I saw two officers escorting Father Dave from the institution. I waved, repeatedly, at Father Dave, yelling out, "Bye-bye, bye, so long!" I just got these long, cold stares from Father Dave.
But, apparently, Father Dave was right, he had a lot of institutional friends in powerful places. For, three weeks later, I was assigned to the institutional gatehouse. This is the custody post that processes and searches all incoming prison staff and visitors.
I couldn't believe it. Walking towards my post, dressed up in his cassock, was Father Dave. He came and stood at my the entry door to the gatehouse. However, I did not unlock the door for him to enter.
I secured my post, and walked out the side door. I said to Father Dave, "Just what do you want? You are no longer authorized to enter this institution." Father Dave replied, "You are wrong Officer Chapline, I've been reinstated."
Now, my rage was building. I stormed back into my post and opened the log book of those people banned from the institution. Father Dave was right. He had been reinstated by the warden. I was livid, to say the least. Now, it was Father Dave who had that "shit-eating" grin on his face.
I have to tell you, priest or not, I wanted to whip Father Dave's ass. For, I truly despise more than most anything else, those that are corrupted clergymen who have been incorporated into the churches holy order.
I told Father Dave to put the bags he was carrying on the counter so that I may inspect the contents. I then told Father Dave to empty his pockets, pull his pocket liners out, and clear the metal detector.
While Father Dave was complying with my orders, he did his best to keep a very close eye on me while I was going through his bags.
I asked Father Dave what was in his thermos. He hesitated to answer. I said, "Well! What is in the thermos?" Finally, Father Dave said, "Sacramental juice."
I now knew I was getting Father Dave "to bite" on this situation. He had that nervous look in his eyes.
I told Father Dave to take the cap off of his thermos. I smelled the juice. I said to Father Dave, with a grin on my face, "Hey, you know what, this smells like Boone's Farm wine. You know, in my younger years I had a taste for that stuff. What do you have to say about that, Father?
Now, in a very solemn, soft tone of voice, Father Dave said, "I have to use real wine when giving communion."
I shot back, "Hmm, I didn't realize when I was getting drunk on Boone's Farm back in those days that I was so close to God. Interesting, Father Dave."
I then told Father Dave in an angry voice, "I'm confiscating this store bought wine as evidence of you introducing contraband into this institution, once again. I'm calling my shift commander right now to have you, once again, suspended from entering this institution."
Father Dave then pleaded, "Please, don't do this. I'm a man of God."
Again, I shot back, "Really? Is that so, Father Dave?" I then showed Father Dave the institutional procedure on religious matters. It clearly stated that "grape juice" will be substituted for wine, without exception."
Father Dave knew I was right.
Next, I called my shift commander. I couldn't believe what he told me. "Confiscate the wine, write a report, but allow Father Dave to come in the institution and go to his work station in the chapel.
That slight grin came back to Father Dave's face.
But, this battle wasn't over just yet. Although a Sunday, and the SDCC's associate warden of operations was not on duty, I decided to telephone him at home. I apprised him of the situation. The shift commander was overrode by the associate warden. The associate warden said, "Close the chapel down, and inform Father Dave he is suspended from entering the Southern Desert Correctional Center."
I watched that grin disappear from Father Dave's face. I then laughed at Father Dave as I ordered him to immediately leave our institutional grounds.
As Father Dave was preparing to leave, he turned around and said to me, "I'm a priest, I always carry sacramental wine with me." I replied, "Not anymore, Father."
I never did know the final disposition of this case, however, Father Dave and I never crossed paths again.