Will County Police Chaplain Retiring After 40 Years

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Will County Sheriff’s Police chaplain is retiring Wednesday, after more than 40 years working with law enforcement.

“Law enforcement was different 40 years ago than it is today,” said Father Vytas Memenas. “The cops today are ambushed.”

Memenas, 87, said in all the different police departments he worked with through the years, family problems were common.

“I told a few of them, ‘Do you want to stay with your wife or you go to your mistress?” he said.

Sometimes, “In the end, it was the mistress.”

“The cops used to tell me how many unfaithful guys in the department, and during my years, I had 50 divorces,” he said. “I just saved one marriage out of all the people that came to me, because they went too far; could not be saved.”

Memenas said he will miss his job.

“Riding in a squad car when everything is fine, honky-dory, you’re happy,” he said. “But when you go to wakes and the funerals of law enforcement officers, you think about your own mortality, and you think that life passes too fast.”

The chaplain has had more than his share of conversations about death.

“I tell them as I tell the people in the parish, ‘I have no explanation why God took away your husband who was only 40 years old, died of cancer,'” he said. “My philosophy is be prepared. Some people live to 90. I buried a lot of them that did not make 60. Strictly speaking, our lives are in the hand of God.”

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