By Jonita Barram

When the phone rings at 2:45 a.m., you know it’s something momentous. When you’re chaplain of your local police department, you know it’s bad news.

That was the case for Chaplain Dick Dayton on Nov. 2, 2016. Dick and his wife, Gloria, have been serving together for nearly 50 years, first as pastor and wife and now as volunteer chaplain and wife for the Urbandale (Iowa) Police Department. As a pastor, Dick sought systematic ways to interact with and serve his community. A friend who was a chaplain with the Iowa State Patrol challenged Dick to become a chaplain and take the friend’s place, as he was moving away. Dick accepted the challenge and was trained by the State Patrol. Later, when the Urbandale chaplain moved away, the police chief asked Dick to become the department’s chaplain.

That November morning, the voice on the other end of the line was Sgt. Dan Stein, a supervisor with the Urbandale PD’s Administrative Services Division. The news was serious: Officer Justin Martin, one of their own, had been ambushed and killed.