OTSEGO COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE CHAPLAINCY PROGRAM
Rev. Steve Fournier
The Law Enforcement Chaplain provides the following support services:
To offer comfort when a Officer/ Staff member is injured, ill or killed. The chaplain can visit a sick or injured officer in the hospital or at home. The chaplain can also be utilized in notifying family and loved ones of an injury on duty. In a worst case scenario the chaplain may be involved in giving notice to loved ones that a officer has been killed. This demonstrates to the officers and family that the Sheriff’s Office cares about them and that they are important.
Officers with problems or problems with officers. A chaplain should be one that can be approached with personal or departmental problems. A chaplain must have the trust of the officers. The chaplain must maintain the strictest confidentiality. Sheriff’s personal must know that what is discussed with the chaplain will go no further unless a life is directly in jeopardy.
Family of department members The chaplain must also be available to be approached by family members of the department personal. Again there must be trust that confidentiality will be maintained.
Death notifications One of the most difficult duties for an officer can be making a death notification. The chaplaincan accompany the officer or make the notification himself. The chaplain can remain with the family until appropriate arrangements are made. This will allow the officer to return to normal patrol duties. This lends to good public relations for the Sheriff’s Office as well .
Crisis situations The chaplain can be an secondary support member of the a crisis response team. While not directly involved, the chaplain can be involved in providing emotional support for family members at a scene. He can also provide assistance to the team in handling medial tasks that may take a primary member away from the scene.
Victim Assistance While the chaplain does not necessarily provide this counseling personally, he will be aware of the resources that are available to help the victims.
Religious Questions At times religious questions can arise such as, protocol in dealing with church officials, religious quotes at crimes scenes, and so forth. The chaplain should be prepared to answer those questions of a religious nature.
Liaison between religious community and the community as a whole The chaplain can bring good public relations between clergy and other religious leaders in the community. He also most provide good public relations with other community groups.
Offering Prayers at various ceremonies Whatever event it may be the chaplain may be looked to as the official “prayer” for the Sheriff’s Office. He may also be used to coordinate the enlistment of other religious leader of the community to take part in Sheriff’s Office events if need be.
Helping in dealing with grief Chaplain should be prepared to helping officers and their families work through grief associated with death.