Chaplain Volunteer Program
- To provide support services for the Decatur Police Department’s personnel and their families.
- To provide crisis intervention support for the community in police related incidents.
- To be available for relational, emotional or spiritual support to anyone upon request.
Like members of the Armed Forces of the United States, police officers can benefit from an in-house chaplain program. They often need a “safe insider” with whom they can express their frustrations, problems, accomplishments and victories…either personal, family, or on-the-job. The nature of an emergency event often requires a quick response by a professional to offer emotional, relational, and spiritual support. Decatur’s Police Chaplains are available to help victims, families, friends, witnesses, and all emergency service personnel. This assistance is provided upon request and can range from at-the-scene care to follow-up services such as notifications, defusing, debriefing, listening, funerals and memorials.
The goal of the volunteer Chaplain program enhances the goals and vision of the City of Decatur Police Department.
This volunteer program includes, but is not restricted to, the following services:
- Support police personnel during and after critical incidents as needed.
- Attend shift changes, do ride-a-longs, or just hang out with police personnel.
- Perform crisis intervention and/or care for victims, families and witnesses of critical incidents.
- Assist with notifying families of serious injuries or death.
- Available for chaplain-support, personal referral and informal mediation to all City personnel. This function complements the existing Employee Assistance Program (EAP) of the City of Decatur.
- Visit individuals at the hospital and/or home.
- Perform weddings, funerals, memorials, etc.
- Offer department and community education programs on grief and loss, victim response and recovery, stress management, relationships, marriage and family, parenting, morals and ethics, and other interpersonal topics.
- Serve as liaison between Police Departments and the faith community.
- Represent the City at ceremonial and formal events upon request.
- Coordinate and communicate between the faith community and the City on special committees and projects, volunteer programs, and emergency/disaster preparedness.
As Chaplains, we are here to serve and support by invitation. We serve in three specific arenas:
emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. We are not firefighters or police officers; we are CARE-givers! Our CARE-giving has four components:
- Compassion is feeling another’s pain and providing the needed immediate support. We are then available for on-going care upon request.
- Acceptance of people “just as they are” is vital. We may not necessarily agree with them or their actions, but we are committed to caring for them.
- Reflection is helping others keep things in perspective…their past, present and future.
- Encouragement is offering hope in difficult situations. We recognize that hope aids recovery and helps build a future.
We want to be proactive, not just reactive. Honest relationships and accurate information are two of our highest CARE-Giving values.
Are chaplains available to anyone? Yes. Anyone may call and request the Chaplain to get in touch with them. This includes City residents and visitors, businesses, schools, organizations, neighborhoods, and the faith community.
What are the chaplain qualifications?
They must be licensed or ordained ministers in an established and recognized faith community and have a minimum of five years experience as a minister, clergy or pastoral counselor. They also must complete a basic chaplain-training course and participate in on-going training. In addition, prospective chaplains must undergo a background check, be approved by the Senior Chaplain, and be appointed by the Police Chief.
What about all of the religions and faith-choices of people?
Chaplains are available for CARE-giving to everyone without regard to race, creed, or position. They serve non-denominationally and are accepting of all faiths.
What is the difference between clergy and a chaplain?
Clergy offer spiritual oversight of a particular faith, religion, church and/or denomination, where a chaplain works with people regardless of their faith-choice.
Are chaplain discussions private and confidential?
Yes! The only exception is if there has been child or elder abuse, or if the person is in danger of harming him/herself or another person. Such matters are reported to the Chaplain supervisor(s) and/or appropriate authorities.