OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – One member of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office can often be found at the scene of violent crimes or accidents but he’s not there in a law enforcement capacity. His is a higher calling.
Jimi Pitts doesn’t make any arrests or gather any evidence…he’s there for the emotional and spiritual needs of the victims and the officers.
He looks more’s like an 80’s rock star than a man of the cloth.
“I don’t come across or look like your average pastor you know, and I know that with my hair and earrings and all that,” Pitts told Behind The Badge. “I get Sammy Hagar like once a week. I kid you not and if I go down to Mexico it’s like 4 or 5 times a day. It’s incredible but it’s just who I am.”
This revved-up reverend is a Community Outreach Pastor at Washington Heights Church in Ogden and one of the volunteer chaplains for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.
“The chaplains have been truly a Godsend,” Sgt. Tyler Greenhalgh said. “We utilize our chaplains on a lot of callouts for unexpected deaths for death notifications…We’ve had ’em out on drownings. We’ve had ’em out on car accidents. We can rely on them to really take care of the family and those that are suffering this tragedy while we kind of have to go through our procedures.”
Pastor Pitts also supports and counsels the officers, men, and women who see tragedy up close on a regular basis.
“You realize how much of the toll it takes and how difficult it can be,” Sgt. Greenhalgh said. “When it comes to faith and chaplains, I think they’re very skilled at breaking down walls, not forcefully but just the way they talk with people. You’re willing to open up to them.”
Pitts has helped raise money to buy officers bulletproof vests and organized food trucks to feed first responders for free. He’s also the driving force of God’s Garage, an organization that fixes up donated cars and gives them to single mothers, widows, and military wives. He recently surprised a single mother of three who works as a clerk in the Sheriff’s Department with a refurbished Infiniti.
“We just want to offer and give you a car,” he told her at the presentation. “So we hope it’s going to be good for you.”
“I love God and I love people. That’s the bottom line and so everything I do I just want to radiate that,” Pitts said. “I think me on my own I’d probably be nothing but because of who God is in me, I think it’s changed my life incredibly to where I just have an overwhelming love for people…With the little time I have. With the little resources I have, I just want to make the most difference for God. That’s it. Believing there’s significance and value in life. Not only here but even after.”
Jimi’s impact isn’t limited to just here in Utah…he’s helped Washington Heights Church deliver meals to starving kids in 33 different countries and he wants to take the God’s Garage program to Haiti and Lebanon, smiling and serving, all over the world.