Category Archives: Building the Ministry

Public Safety Ministries 2014 Strategic Plan now available

Public Safety Ministries 2014 Strategic Plan

The Public Safety Ministries (PSM) 2014 Strategic Plan is now complete and viewable/downloadable as a PDF.

This plan was actually created in 2013 with the never ending support and direction of Dan Watts, a long time PSM advocate and supporter.  I didn’t published it sooner because I wanted to use it for awhile and see if there was anything we were missing.  Aside from a few format changes, the plan is the same as when it was completed in early 2014.  I think it does a great job of describing what we do and what we intend to do for many years to come.  Our plan has become a great tool for carrying out every aspect of our ministry work.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

And I can’t thank Dan Watts enough for all of his hard work, wisdom, dedication and especially his endurance!

Take Care,

Pr. Dan

A New About…..Dan Carlson

Well, it’s been a year now since this website went live and getting close to a year since I posted my first “About Dan”:

Dan Carlson is currently serving as Police Chief for the City of Eden Prairie Minnesota. He has announced his retirement from police service, effective January 2007, to pursue a second career in the ministry. His 25 year career in law enforcement and his passion for the concept of spiritual fitness training have led him to found Public Safety Ministries Inc. PSMInc is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is “Promoting Spiritual Fitness in the Public Safety Professions”.

It’s probably time to update the information a bit, so here we go:

Dan Carlson retired as Police Chief of the City of Eden Prairie Minnesota in January of 2007. After serving 25 years in the law enforcement profession as a police officer, he has transitioned to a new role serving the profession as a police chaplain. He currently serves as the Chaplain for the Hennepin County and Minnesota Chiefs of Police Associations. Chaplain Carlson is also the founder and president of Public Safety Ministries Inc. a nonprofit ministry with the mission: “Serving Those Who Protect – Promoting Spiritual Fitness in the Public Safety Professions.”

Dan is also pursuing ordination as a Lutheran Pastor through The Minneapolis Synod of the ELCA and Luther Seminary in St. Paul Minnesota. He is “entered” as a candidate for ordination and participating Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) program. TEEM is a program run cooperatively between Luther Seminary and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkley California.

So there you have it. I am starting to do quite a bit more speaking and training so it’s probably good to have an updated bio for my presentations. And besides, an old FBI National Academy friend from Maine just contacted me and I felt inspired to update the info.

“We need a word…”

A couple of days ago I received the following message through the Public Safety Ministries Inc. contact form….

“We need a word…”

Dan, you’re probably way ahead of me, but I look forward to hearing what words you have to say about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

Yes, I was ahead of the reader, the next morning I wrote of my thoughts and feelings on the bridge tragedy, but it was written for another venue, an article for the MN Chiefs of Police Magazine. Out of respect for that publication I won’t share that specific message here until the magazine is published this fall.

However, in response to the readers request here is a word, actually three, to reflect on :


The first two are a bit redundant to the message I have shared before. As Pastor Jac said, “There are two opposing forces in this world, order and chaos. I thank God that you people (Public Safety Professionals) are there when the two collide.” Once again, that is the message we all need to continue to hear, we need to continue to acknowledge, that the presence of our police, fire and emergency medical service personnel is a blessing we all share and the primary reason we all are blessed with a feeling of being safe.

Now faith, there is a word that hasn’t got a lot of play from me. At least not in print. But after a fair amount of reflection this past week, the 6 month anniversary of my retirement from the EPPD, faith is the word that says the most in this ministry. I’ve looked hard at words lately. I have always loved words, what they mean, how they inspire, how they influence and teach. Just yesterday I met with a friend of mine who works in advertising. He offered to help me with marketing the identify of this ministry. Along with spiritual fitness, public safety, order and chaos, service, protect, and many other great words, I kept coming back to faith. It is a strong word, but also a gentle word. It is the word that is at the foundation of this ministry.

I know that there are other definititons, but here is the one I give you today, the one that I revert to when I need to ask why? It is the one that, I think, will be seen here a lot more in the future.

Faith is a belief in something bigger than self.

So there is my word (plus a few) on the subject. Faith is what happened on the bridge, in the water, on the shore, in the living rooms, at the hospitals. It is why these heroic people, the professionals and the volunteering bystanders had last week. A belief in something bigger than self.

A Public Safety Ministries Inc, Update

Well, tomorrow marks my six month retirement anniversary.  When I see folks that I haven’t seen for awhile, often their first question is “How’s the ministry thing going?”  My usual response is “Great, but I’m a lot busier than I thought I’d be”.   I pretty much leave it at that, but some of you have asked for more detail so I thought I’d share some details in my next few posts.

I love organization and organizational charts.  However I’m not organized well enough yet to know how to post a chart here so you’ll get the outline version.  Today’s post is going to give an overview of the organization and the different projects I’m spending my time on.

There are three basic components to the ministry:

1 – Business Administration (Not a lot different from what I did as Chief, but the resources and support comes in a whole different package)

2 – Staff Development (Just me for now, but pursuing ordination isn’t a small task)

3 – Ministry Outreach  (The big one, the reason I put up with #1 and #2)

I incorporated Public Safety Ministries as a Minnesota non-profit corporation in May of 2005.  That was the day the ministry was officially born.  Between then and my retirement I spent most of my time being proactively reactive.  I planted a lot of seeds and just dealt with the results as they popped up.  I intended to get more organized once I retired and had more time, but the initial opportunities and the demands that go along with them came fast and furious and I’ve never been one to pass on an opportunity of challenge.  So I’ve continued to stay in that proactive reactive mode.

My goal now is to phase in to a more controlled and defined growth and development plan.  I’ve made several strides in that direction.  I’ll share those details in the next few posts, starting with Business Administration next.  Stand by……..

My Faith Identity

Over the past three months I’ve had the opportunity to share my transition story, my ministry story, essentially my “faith story” on several occasions and to a variety of audiences and people. In doing so I have tried to navigate the best way to describe my identity, as well as the identity of the ministry, “Public Safety Ministries Inc.” Although I am the only staff person with PSMI, and my personality and faith and beliefs are the primary contributing factors to defining the ministry, the PSMI identity is something much bigger than that. It is much like when I was a police chief. My individual characteristics and personality played a significant role in defining the Eden Prairie Police Chief. But the Office of Police Chief stood for something much bigger than any individual that held the position.

The identity that I have decided to pursue for my role in the ministry is best categorized as “Chaplain”. And like when I held the Office of Police Chief, as I hold the Office of Chaplain, in several organizational capacities, I realize that I am a critical component of an “Office” that is much bigger than the person that occupies it, me.

One of my goals for the next three months is to bring better clarity and definition to the ministry and its mission: “Serving Those Who Protect: by Promoting Spiritual Fitness in the Public Safety Professions”. As I define the ministry and my role as chaplain I must often define myself. Here I take a quote from Jack Fortin’s “The Centered Life” page 16

“In this book I speak out of who I am, from my center as a Christian. At the same time I respect those of other faiths or no faith….. I believe I can help others most by being true to my own center”

So in this ministry I speak out of who I am, a Christian, a Lutheran, a retired cop and chief, and a often stubborn and independent individual. But not only do I respect those in the public safety professions of different faiths, beliefs and thoughts, I want to embrace them, learn from them and most of all serve them by encouraging and supporting them in their personal spiritual fitness development.