Police officers everywhere have to deal with extremely trying and volatile situations as part of their jobs. Sometimes, even after the dust has settled, the memory of the experience can be haunting. Officers as well as victims of these situations need someone to talk to who can understand what they are going through and help them process what they are feeling. In East Chicago, this is done by the volunteer Police Chaplains at the ECPD.
Contrary to popular belief, these Police Chaplains are not preachers. They do not hold religious service or offer religious counsel for members of the department. These Chaplains offer support in more of a mental capacity as opposed to a spiritual one.
When officers or citizens go through a particularly traumatic event and need someone with whom to talk about it, these Police Chaplains are available around the clock. What sets them apart from therapists is that Police Chaplains, while not officers with the department, have an intimate understanding of the situations that officers and victims are likely to experience. This makes them better able to console and help suffering individuals in the department.
ECPD Chaplains are volunteers who do not get paid for the work that they do. However, they are expected to be available at all hours as dangerous crimes and situations can happen at any time. The Chaplains put themselves in potentially dangerous situations along side ECPD officers and have recently been fitted with ballistic protection just like the officers wear, also funded by FEC.
The ECPD offers its Chaplains membership into the International Association of Police Chaplains. This opportunity, also funded by FEC, allows the Chaplains to receive training at the association’s annual conference.
The Police Chaplains with the ECPD help everyone in the department to be at the top of their game and they do it without receiving a paycheck. This self-sacrifice not only benefits everyone at the ECPD but also helps to keep the entire community safe.