Newly promoted SCSO sergeant still works as a pastor for North Memphis church

WATCH: Newly promoted SCSO sergeant still works as a pastor for North Memphis church

SHELBY CO., Tenn. — Forty-nine members of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office were promoted Tuesday night.

Officials said this is the most promotions at one time over the past decade.

Sgt. James Gilkey said religion is an important part of his personal life and since he joined the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office almost four years ago, it’s became a part of his routine on the beat.

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“You see people who need prayer, and some who ever ask can you pray for me,” said Gilkey.

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It’s a divine calling that comes naturally to him because before Gilkey was a sergeant, he was and still is the pastor at Greater Galatian Church in North Memphis.

“Being in law enforcement gave me an opportunity to kind of see firsthand and be able to help people not only your church but community,” said Gilkey.

He said one of the skills he’s taken from the pulpit to patrol is communication.

“A lot of times people, when we go into homes or you know you’re interacting with a person on the scene, they’re not necessarily mad at you but they’re angry at their situation,” said Gilkey.

But he said it’s difficult walking this fine line between being a religious figure and a law enforcement officer.

“You have to take into consideration that you cannot always approach a situation with, I would say thinking that a person that because you’re a pastor you have compassion and some people can take advantage of that,” Gilkey said.

As a newly promoted sergeant, Gilkey said this isn’t just a blessing. It’s a new opportunity to support his fellow deputies.

“It gives me an opportunity to mentor and talk about some of the challenges and issues that they have and have the common confidence in you,” said Gilkey.