PCLEC Training Manual
The purpose of THE LAW ENFORCEMENT CHAPLAINCY OF PLACER COUNTY ASSOCIATE CHAPLAINS TRAINING MANUAL is to help the Volunteer Associate Chaplain. When riding in the right hand seat of a police car or answering an emergency call, what is the Chaplain to "Do" or "Say"?
This training manual will help the Chaplain to know what to say and do in most situations that he/she might find themselves in. It gives practical "How To's" and What If's".
The Associate Chaplains volunteer to minister, to serve, and to help. This training manual gives them the knowledge and practical experience to those who have already been there.This book is a compilation of articles and ideas that have been adopted for use by the Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy. We share these ideas with other Chaplains, not to say that this is the only way to serve, but to say, this is how we serve. Take these suggestions, adapt them and use them to better the Chaplaincy.
Compiled and prepared by the Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy for law enforcement chaplains as a resource for their individual ministries. Our thanks and acknowledgment go to all who contributed their effort and materials to make this training manual possible.
The Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Placer County California is a 501 (C) (3) Non Profit Incorporated Ministry established in 1986.
It is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 9 members including Corporate Officers acting as President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
The Chaplaincy Staff consists of the following:
1 Full time, paid Senior Chaplain
The Chaplaincy and its staff work as
reactive responders on call, or as pro-actively involved with or to the agencies
or citizens of Placer County.
The purpose of the Chaplaincy Program shall be:
CHAPLAINCY: A ministry to the people of the community in the area of field service to and through Law Enforcement agencies.
SERVICE: The Chaplaincy will provide the services of a Chaplain on a twenty four hour, seven day a week basis. At the request of a Law Enforcement agency, or employees, the Chaplain will seek to bring comfort and consolation to persons involved in accidents, natural catastrophes or confronted with death.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT CHAPLAIN
A candidate for Law Enforcement Chaplain must meet the minimum qualifications:
Respond to all major disasters in the county: bombings, building collapses, explosions, airplane crashes, multiple-alarms of fire, unusual industrial accidents and other disasters.
Provide liaison with other religious leaders in the community.
Notify as soon as possible the involved person's clergyman in cases of death or serious injury.
Make proper referrals in unique cases which need specialized attention.
Assist in raising funds for the Chaplaincy ministry/keep supports appraised of the work of the ministry.
The Chaplain should have a basic knowledge of the duties of Law Enforcement officers and seek to keep abreast of new procedures, and be willing to attend training sessions and programs at the agencies.
DEVELOPING THE CHAPLAIN'S ROLE
1. Availability - part of the Law Enforcement Team
A Chaplain's duties are similar to those of a military chaplain - person who is always there when the officers and their families need them. Just as a pastor cannot serve his people unless he is one of them, neither can the Law Enforcement Chaplain serve the Department unless he/she is a part of the Law Enforcement Team. They cannot wait for the man or woman to come to them. The Chaplain must go to them! They must meet those who need his services wherever they may be at the station house or in a patrol car at the scene of a disturbance or disaster in the hallway or office or at social functions, as well as their homes.
2. Counseling of Law Enforcement Officers
Counseling is an important phase of the Chaplain's work, and more and more Law Enforcement Officers and their families seek out the Chaplain. He provides counseling and consultation for Law Enforcement Personnel and families in personal, marital, family, job-related and other problems.
3. Confidentiality - Privileged Communication
The Law Enforcement Officer who comes to the Chaplain for counseling should clearly understand that this is an "off the record" and "privileged" communication which will not be reported to their Superior or have any bearing on his or her job status. This element of confidentiality is very important to the over-all effectiveness of the Chaplain and his/her rapport with the men and women of the agencies they serve.
4. Referral to Other Professional Resources
Because of the demands made on the Chaplain's time, the Chaplain will most likely be able to offer only a brief, short- term, crisis-oriented type of counseling. If in his opinion, a long-term counseling program is desirable for a particular officer or family member, he may refer the individual to an appropriate community agency or to a marriage counselor. However, the Law Enforcement Chaplain must keep in mind that serious crisis-oriented problems can arise in a law enforcement officer's life and he should be available to offer immediate help with the understanding that other professional help may be recommended when the crisis passes.
5. Co-operation With Other Law Enforcement Chaplains
The Law Enforcement Chaplain needs to stay in touch with other chaplains, not only in their own area, but throughout the country. He should maintain this contact by attending meetings, conferences, and workshops in order to find out what other departments or chaplains are doing. Networking of chaplains throughout the country is vital to the success of the local Chaplaincy efforts.
It is the responsibility of the Senior and Supervisory Chaplains to organize, train and supervise a Corps of Chaplain volunteers. This Corps shall be composed of duly ordained clergy who desire to serve the Law Enforcement community. (see job descriptions)
The purpose of this Corps is to assist the Chaplain in ministry to the Agencies involved.
The Senior Chaplain shall be responsible for the Administrative duties of the Chaplaincy Program.
The Senior Chaplain shall supervise the Chaplaincy Program Ministry and oversee the Pro-active and Reactive outreaches of the Supervisory and Associate Volunteer Chaplains.
People interested in serving on the Chaplaincy Staff shall complete an application form setting forth personal information, their experience, education and willingness to actively participate.
The Senior Chaplain and Supervisory Chaplains shall review and give careful and prayerful consideration to each application submitted, considering the effect on the overall Chaplaincy Program.
Chaplains will be approved for an indefinite term; however, each Chaplain will review his/her commitment each year as to his/her availability.
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND DESCRIPTION OF THE CHAPLAINCY BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Specific duties, terms and limitations are referred to in the Chaplaincy Articles of Incorporation and By-laws.
In general, the Chaplaincy Board is to:
set and review Chaplaincy policy
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND DESCRIPTION OF
THE OFFICE OF
The Senior chaplain shall supervise the Chaplaincy Program Ministry and oversee the Pro-active and Reactive outreaches of the supervisory and Associate Volunteer Chaplains
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND DESCRIPTION OF THE POSITIONS OF SUPERVISORY CHAPLAINS
Additional Supervisory Chaplains responsibilities include:
ORIENTATION AND TRAINING OF THE VOLUNTEER CHAPLAIN
Each Associate Volunteer Chaplain will, on completion of the application process and acceptance, be required to begin a training procedure which consists of:
The Associate Chaplaincy candidate will be issued a Chaplaincy ID card during the initial training period.
A Chaplaincy badge, wallet and ID number will be issued upon completion of the initial training period.
Each Associate Chaplain will be required to wear the appropriate Chaplaincy uniform while on ride-alongs, visits to law enforcement agencies, or on calls for service. The basic Chaplaincy uniform consists of:
MINIMUM MONTHLY COMMITMENTS
Each Chaplain must be able to accomplish the following on a monthly basis:
The Chaplain is not a law enforcement officer, but a representative of God, duly ordained - an approved and experienced representative of their denomination. Their responsibility is to assist all Officers, upon request, on matters within the Chaplain's realm. He/She shall not, in any way, interfere with an Officer in the performance of his/her duties, but be subject to the authority of the officer on duty.
The Chaplain is authorized to visit the Offices of the Agency and have access to all buildings and scenes where the presence of Law Enforcement Officers indicates the requirement of need for their services. The Chaplain shall carry on their person the Identification Card issued by the Chaplaincy and wear the appropriate Chaplaincy attire or uniform. The Chaplain, when on duty, shall properly identify themselves, be courteous, and conduct themselves in a manner becoming their role and ministry. For this Purpose, the Chaplain may converse with any member of the department whenever the need for such services arises.
THE CHAPLAIN'S ASPIRATION
Believing that God is the answer to man's dilemma, the Chaplain stands ready to bear witness to the forgiving love and redeeming power of God, through Jesus Christ, to all people, especially to those in crisis. they pray that God will guide their thoughts, words, and actions. They seek to be a channel of God's love. They desire to serve as a source of support and counsel to the Law Enforcement Community.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
As part of their official duties with the Chaplaincy, Chaplains are expected to respond and react to such duties that maybe requested of them by the Law Enforcement Agencies. These tasks may include follow-up to those affected persons.
Some of these duties are, but not limited to:
What's Necessary? A Model (check chapters for further references)
1. A Desire To Minister
5. Weapons Training:
6. Critical Incident Stress
7. Crisis Reaction:
8. Death Notification:
12. Post Shooting Trauma
13. Referral References
14. Crisis Information
Police Officers Deal With:
ICPC CONFERENCE DES MOINES IOWA 1992
Volunteer and Part-Time Chaplains Class
I. WE ARE CHAPLAINS
Suicide: The answers to the why questions are not always important, but I am here and my faith will help carry these people to some degree.
Crisis Situation: Being able to step outside of our denomination as a Chaplain and help people where they are at.
Know Your Own Limitations: Get in touch with your own feelings about what we do.
Personality Traits of Officers:
_____________________________________ State: ______________
Soc. Sec. #:____________________________________
Hair Color: __________________________
Activities (civic, athletic,etc.):__________________________________________
References (three persons not related to
you, known at least one year):
In case of emergency, notify:
as a volunteer, Associate Chaplain for the Placer County Law Enforcement
Chaplaincy, realize that in some capacity while performing volunteer duties,
I also confirm that I will hold information I discover that is part of a minister/counselor relationship, confidential. Being subject to the California Statutes of Evidence Codes 1033-1034, 1030-1032, 917, 912 I will consider this information privileged communication.
I also understand that as an Associate Chaplain, I am under the direction of the P.C.L.E.C. Board of Directors, and the supervision of the Senior Chaplain, and agree to work voluntarily within the framework of the volunteer Associate Chaplain's Program to exemplify the Ministry of the Chaplaincy as outlined by the P.C.L.E.C.
TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR
LAW ENFORCEMENT CHAPLAINS
1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy being, realizing that the depth and quality of that love is constantly scrutinized.
2. Thou shalt love thy Law Enforcement Department and all its personnel, even as thou dost love thyself.
3. Thou shalt perform they Chaplain's duties at all times in a professional and godly manner.
4. Thou shalt be faithful to all thy appointments, schedules, commitments, and engagements, punctually fulfilling all of them.
5. Thou shalt show partiality to no one, whether he be the chief of police or the newest rookie, but shalt seek to love and serve all alike.
6. Thou shalt never use thy privileged place as a position from which to proselytize or to grind thine own private ax.
7. Thou shalt guard thy tongue at all times, so as never to divulge or violate a confidence.
8. When thou rides with a Law Enforcement Officer, thou shalt remember that thou art a guest; therefore, be courteous and warm.
9. Thou shalt never grumble or complain because of what is expected of thee, but shalt remember thy servants role.
10. Thou shalt maintain a humble spirit at all times, remembering that though thou art not a religious specialist; not all wisdom and knowledge concerning God shall die with thy demise.
PUBLIC PRAYER IN A PLURALISTIC SOCIETY
Guidelines for Civic Occasions
Spoken prayer is common on many civic occasions such as club meetings, legislative sessions, graduations, political rallies, testimonial dinners and community forums. Prayer in settings which are primarily secular should bind a group together in a common concern. However, it can become divisive, even if not intended, when forms or language exclude some persons.
Individuals who lead the general community in prayer have a responsibility to be clear about the purpose as well as the nature of the occasion. Prayer on behalf of the general community should be general prayer. General prayer is inclusive, non sectarian and carefully planned to avoid embarrassments and misunderstandings. Those who are reluctant to offer general prayer should be given the option of declining an invitation.
General public prayer on civic occasions is authentic prayer that also enables people to recognize the pluralism of American society.
Prayer of any kind may be inappropriate on some civic occasions. Decisions should show respect both for public diversity and for the serious nature of prayer.
GENERAL PUBLIC PRAYER
These guidelines for inclusiveness and sensitivity on prayer should also apply to the content of meditations or addresses on civic occasions, and to the selection and performance of music.
Public Prayer in Interfaith Settings
In the Mekong Delta, it was a Protestant chaplain - Les Westling - who helped me grow as a Jew, and who helped me decide to become a rabbi. With his help, I discovered the love within Judaism; because of his help, I discovered love within Christianity.
After the terrorist truck bomb attack in Beirut, when my skullcap, my Kippa, was lost in the rubble and misery, it was a Catholic chaplain - George "Pooch" Pucciarelli - who cut a circle of cloth from his own Marine camouflage cap to take its place. For others, the Kippa was a symbol of Judaism; for me, his action made this one a symbol of Christianity.
The Talmud tells the story of a Jew who bought a camel from an Arab, only to discover a precious gem hidden in the saddle, of which neither the seller nor the buyer had been aware. When the Jew returned it, the Arab's reaction was one of respect and appreciation for the Jewish faith, for it must be praiseworthy, he said, to teach a man such honest ways.
Colleagues like Les and Pooch helped me to understand the lesson of this Talmudic story; it does not take words to witness for one's faith. It takes love.
KNOWING WHAT HURTS
Another story from rabbinical tradition tells of two long-time friends. "Do you love me?" one friend asks the other. "Of course." "Do you know what hurts me?" "No, what hurts?" "How can you say you love me if you don't know what hurts me?"
When my father died two years ago, a fellow chaplain wrote to me with the prayer that I would accept the resurrection of Jesus. Without that acceptance, he wrote, it must seem truly hopeless to bear the death of a loved one. Many other notes from chaplains brought me comfort during that time of grief; this letter brought me pain.
At the 1980 Navy Chaplain Corps Worship, a chaplain began by stressing the need for us to work together as a team during the decade which was about to begin. Inviting us to join together for a moment of prayer, he ended the prayer in the name of the Trinity. I could not add my Amen. Hadn't I been invited to pray with the group? I felt out of place. I wanted to be a part of this prayer, as we faced the future together-and it hurt me that I could not.
Few chaplains would write to me to tell me that there can be no basis for comfort within Judaism, but there are many who let me know that there can be no basis for prayer. We may work together, but we cannot face God together, as servants or as children, not even for a moment. There are times, of course, when the slight is unintentional, and the chaplain simply does not realize that inviting me to join in prayer and then using words which I cannot say is the same as inviting me for dinner and serving food I cannot eat. But there are other chaplains who understand that there are words and expressions which exclude non-Christians, but they see the question of public prayer on an academic plane.
For me, it is not an intellectual question, nor even one of "interfaith relations," a phrase which brings to mind meeting of religious bodies, rather than actions between human beings. When I raise the issue, as I do in this article, it is an attempt to share feelings among friends. It is an effort to let others know what hurts.
A fundamental question for some chaplains has to do with whether it is appropriate for chaplains to participate in "civil ceremonies" at all. For some chaplains prayers made appropriate to civil occasions "water down" the true faith and open up the dangers of "civil religion."
My feeling is that such a danger is overshadowed by the far greater danger of the secular world, that it will be a place of no religion at all. A word of prayer at a civil or secular occasion can be a reminder that faith is not relegated to the synagogue or church. My concern is not simply that our people do not pray in the best way possible; it is that they do not pray at all - they have no relationship to prayer.
Our participation in public events can be a beginning. The danger of encroaching civil religion - and the fear of "watered-down" concern is not that most people do not pray in the best way possible; it is that they do not pray at all. If we fear the specter of "civil religion," we should fear the nearer danger of secularism even more; a world where religion is relegated to the confines of the church or synagogue, kept entirely away from the "real world." Our participation in public events can be a reminder of God's presence, a reminder of something holy - even a reminder of the idea of the holy - for those who have forgotten how to pray or how to dream.
Within our own faith groups we emphasize our particular beliefs and approaches to God. Before men and women of all faiths, we stress the ties that bind through a moment of awareness of the Presence of something larger than ourselves.
We need not begin with the founders of America to understand that there are times to speak of God in general terms. Millennia before the founding fathers celebrated this truth, it was a Biblical prophet Malachi who saw the cruelty of fighting in his time and cried out, "Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us all?" (Malachi 2:10). His fear was not that he might water down God's word or forget the different cultic responsibilities of Jews and non-Jews. His concern was to remind the world of God's existence and the way that God's care binds all humanity together. In today's world, still torn by strife, it is no "danger" to share this prophetic message and no "cop-out" to follow this example. Instead, it is a challenge worthy of all our faiths.
From any newspaper we can see religion abused so as to tear people apart. Through a moment of prayer we can remind a cynical world that faith can and must be used to bring them together. When entire faith groups are excluded from our prayers, then a chance to face God together is lost. An opportunity to touch men and women of all faiths has become an occasion to relate to our faith group alone. Without prayer which includes all, an opportunity to teach that despite differences we must work together for common good remains a reminder of how separate we stand.
Each of us wears the cross or tablets which identify us as Christian or Jew. In public prayer we have the opportunity to say that our religion, Christianity and Judaism, teaches us to care for others, regardless of their origin. Whatever a public prayer should be, it should not be cruel or uncaring.
One of the most "general" prayers in the Bible is Psalm 117, the Bible's shortest book:
Would such a prayer water down our faith?
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Does not each of us have the right to pray as he or she pleases? We can never be denied the right, or the ability, to pray. As has been written regarding the question of prayer in public schools, there will always be students praying so long as there are teachers handing out tests. In America, of course, we enjoy religious freedom as groups within our houses of worship, speaking to those who share our faiths.
It is the gray area of public prayer before interfaith groups, a modern phenomenon, that the question of the right of the speaker as over against the right of the listeners comes to the fore. For me it is helpful to remember a basic difference between the "law of the land", at least in the West, and the "law of the Bible." The former considers a situation from the point of view of rights, while the latter is more concerned with responsibilities.
When we accept the invitation or the assignment to participate in a public ceremony by offering a word of prayer, we understand that we are making a contract of sorts. Analogously we do not agree to participate in a wedding and then use the ceremony as the occasion to speak against the union. It seems to me, if there is a right involved, it is not the right to word the prayers as we please, but a right to be exercised much before the occasion: the right to decline to participate. It is the right of the chaplain who cannot offer a "general" prayer to decline, in the same way that we may choose not to participate in baptisms, weddings, or funerals.
If we accept the invitation, however, we have a responsibility to understand that we have been asked to add a reminder of the holy and challenged to touch and inspire those present through a moment of shared prayer. We have not been asked to preach nor to confess our faith. We have a responsibility to our conscience and our faith, but we also have a responsibility to those before whom we stand. Neither can be ignored.
At the most practical level, it is well for us to remember that participation in a civil ceremony may be only a small part of our ministry, but it often lays the groundwork for much of what follows.
There is a story of a young sailor who hesitated to speak to the chaplain when he saw that the chaplain's faith was different from his own. "Chaplain" he stammered, "I hope you won't try to change my faith." Don't worry, friend," the chaplain answered, "but together perhaps we can understand how our faith can change us."
Parents still send their children off to the military with the reminder that if problems arise they are to go "see the chaplain." What a wonderful basis for ministry. Because we are "religious," our people believe we must care about others. Often our civilian counterparts do not enjoy such good publicity. In Religion, we learn from the prophets, includes a demand for justice-and so it is appropriate that chaplains are sought out when the military system seems unfair. We are men and women of faith, and so we are approached when others feel loneliness or pain or seek reason for hope.
When we offer public prayer, we are often being "sized up" by men and women who may one day need us. When our prayers disappoint the listeners, they may give us another chance - or even come to us for advice! But when our prayers hurt those who hear us, we may simply never hear from them. In my line-officer days I know that I would never approach a chaplain whose prayer denied my existence. When I try to teach Jewish sailors that they should approach "their" ship's chaplain for help, I often know they will not. "He doesn't care about me," they tell me. "You should hear his evening prayer..."
On the other hand, we should not underestimate the impact of inclusive prayers. We ;might think it is a neutral act to offer a general prayer, but it is not. It is understood, at least by many, as a positive action: a careful and inclusive word of prayer is an act of love.
CHRISTIAN THEOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS
For many Christians, the New Testament gives a scriptural basis for "general" prayers. They point to Jesus' prayer as an example. When asked how to pray, Jesus began, "Our Father, who art in heaven... " (Matthew 6:9 and Luke 11:2). For another illustration of "general" prayers, they point to the words of Stephen recorded in Acts 7:60, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." Or "God, be merciful to me, a sinner," written in Luke 18:13
Many of the New Testament epistles end with prayers offered in the name of Jesus, but in the Epistle to the Hebrews there is a simple prayer we might emulate today when ending an invocation or benediction, "Grace be with you all, Amen." (Hebrews 22:25)
There are verses in the New Testament, however, which some Christians understand to teach that the Christian faith requires prayer to be offered in Jesus' name. "Whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you." (John 16:23-26). This verse is sometimes translated a different way: "Whatsoever you shall ask of the Father, in my name He will give it to you." This rendering seems to teach something quite different, but keeping the first reading, how does this verse apply to the subject at hand?
For some Christians, the idea of praying with a phrase as "In His Name," "In Your Name," or In the name of the Lord," allows them to remain true to the verse and yet open enough to allow others to accept the prayer as well. Others accept the Trinitarian understanding that where one person of the trinity is present, all are present. A prayer to the Father, or to God's Holy Spirit, invokes Jesus as well. And for still other
Christians, any prayer rooted in the love and faith of Christianity is in fact a prayer asked "in Jesus' name," regardless of what words are used. The word, name, in this context means more than a title, it means being or essence. Praying in His name means praying as His representative, praying as a person filled with His Love.
Finally for those who would interpret the verse most strictly, I offer a "Rabbinical" answer in terms of the struggle we share - the challenge to remain true to our faiths and yet offer something which can bring us together in faith, even for a moment. If the verse means that prayers asking for something must be offered in the name of Jesus, is it not acceptable to offer prayers which are not petitions in a different manner?
Can we not touch or inspire persons of all faiths through a word or prayer of praise? ("Whoever offers praise glorifies me." Psalms 50:23) Can we not offer a word of thanksgiving? ("This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. "Psalms 118:23) Christians can heed Paul's advice in Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 to offer psalms and hymns, or drawing from the Roman Catholic Bible, Christians can follow the example of Ben Sirach and bear witness to God's presence through the glory of His world: "Behold the rainbow, then bless its maker." (Ecclesiastics 43:11)
For some Christians sharing the proclamation that "Jesus is Lord" becomes the proof of faith. "No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit." (I Corinthians 12:3) Speaking these words becomes a way of invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit and therefore an important part of Christian prayer. But if we see the opportunity to offer prayer in a public setting, before men and women of all faiths, as a challenge or privilege and not a right, then the struggle must be to find other ways to proclaim our faith and other ways to make the moment holy.
My contention is that there are other ways for us all. We can search for other verses in the New Testament: "When we cry Abba! Father!" It is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God." (Romans 7:15f) But with or without specific verses we know we witness for our faith when it fills us with love enough to care about each other.
If it is a choice between an imperfect prayer or an action which will divide us at the very moment given to bring us together, then let us opt for the caring word and trust that God will understand. "The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs to deep for words." (Romans 8:26) From the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians, we learn that love is better than prayer...even better than prophecy.
JEWISH THEOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS
In some ways it may be easier for a Jewish chaplain who is invited to participate in public prayer to offer an inclusive or general prayer. There are many verses in the Hebrew Scriptures which seem to assure us that there is no special formula for prayer. From the shortest prayer in the Bible (Numbers 12:13-five Hebrew words) to the longest (Deuteronomy 9:25- one that lasted forty days and forty nights), we understand prayer as a cry from the heart. "The Lord is near to all who call upon Him," Psalms 145), and so the exact words are less important than the act of prayer itself. After all, God hears us even when we do not use words at all. He hears and heeds the pain of slaves (Genesis 3:7) and the sighs of prisoners (Psalms 79:11).
In a beautiful discussion in the Talmud, the rabbis offer the story of the woodcutter who, lost in the woods, knows he will not make it to the congregation in time for evening prayers. "Lord," he prays, "I am not an educated man. I do not know the prayers by heart. But, I know the alphabet, and I will recite it. Please rearrange the letters to form the prayers you know exist in my heart.
This is not to say that the wording of public prayer is not a problem or challenge for the Jewish chaplain. Many of the prayers I regularly offer within Jewish settings would simply be inappropriate for interfaith groups. A widespread myth has it that Jewish chaplains are not asked to change their prayers and so it is "unfair" to expect such action on the part of Christians. The fact is that Rabbis, like the Christian clergy with who we serve, must choose words carefully in interfaith groups. If the prayers offered by Jewish chaplains seem "acceptable" then perhaps we tread more softly, for we, like other minorities, know the pain of being ignored.
Although I pray in the synagogue that we not lose faith in the coming of the Messiah - in all the millennia of our yearning he has not yet arrived - I would not offer these words in a non-Jewish setting. If I pray for strength to reject false messiahs - false in Jewish terms - I would not do so before an interfaith group. Words which refer to the horrors of the holocaust, or the hopes of Zionism, or the State of Israel come as naturally to my lips during synagogue prayer as a reference to the Trinity might come to those of a Christian colleague, but references to the Holocaust, Zionism, or the State of Israel are seldom appropriate in non-Jewish settings, at least not without extra words to explain their relevance or to show sensitivity to the needs and cares of all those present.
Some rabbis believe we cannot compose our own prayers in public, but that we are restricted to those handed down to us from the past. When these rabbis are asked to offer public prayer, they often choose to read lessons instead of prayer.
Today it is also important for us to recognize that there are other questions of sensitivity which challenge us to be sensitive to the feelings of those gathered for prayer. An immediate example is language which does not recognize racial integrity or which excludes or hurts women.
LANGUAGE THAT HURTS
The intention of the prayer is basic and some maintain that the intention is all that is important, not the impact on the hearers. If the intention is not to hurt then it is not important that we do for the problem, if there is one is in the minds of the hearers.
Neither life nor prayer is that simple. Once we know that an action or a word hurts a neighbor, it is not a question of right and wrong alone. It is a question of causing pain or trying not to do so. Because male gender was once used in a neutral sense does not mean that it is still so used today. If it seems awkward to find words which do not exclude women, perhaps we are saying that we do not feel their feelings are worth our effort. When someone explains to me that an offense is the "Christian" thing to do, it is the same as a white man offending a black and then offering the weak apology that he had done the "white" thing.
Certainly we sometimes misuse language innocently. Following the initial advertising of the manufacturer, I always used the phrase "flesh colored Band-Aids," until a Black friend pointed out that the Band-Aids were not the color of his flesh. Language changes. Once we know what hurts, we must change as well.
FINDING A WAY
The faith and the conscience of some chaplains allow them to choose words for public prayers that easily touch us all. Other chaplains, who are unwilling or unable to change the exclusivity of their prayers, choose not to participate in an interfaith prayer setting. For those of us who struggle with this problem, feeling that there is a tension between the responsibilities of one's faith and the responsibility to those we serve, the following ideas are offered as suggestions.
The story may be an appropriate basis for our prayer, "in the Lord's name," which allow both Christians and Jews to say amen, even if the words take on different meanings within the different traditions. The Bible offers many shared images. So we may pray together to God as savior, redeemer, shepherd, creator, and king. Even the image of the Holy Spirit has a Jewish meaning. It comes from the Jewish idea of ruah ha-kodesh.
Is the Lord's Prayer appropriate for interfaith expression? Although it is based on Jewish prayers, this prayer has become the Christian prayer par excellence. In the past Jewish scholars have generally taught that Jews should not recite it. Perhaps today we Jews should re-examine the situation. If this prayer were offered by someone attempting to find common ground for prayer, should we Jews not respond by participation?
One final alternative, linked to this idea, comes from my experience with a Christian chaplain who struggled with the matter for months. He made two small but significant changes in his way of offering public prayer. When he began, he no longer said, "Let us pray." When he ended, he did not say, "In Christ's name we pray." Instead he said, "In Christ's name I pray." Perhaps few noticed the changes, and perhaps that is a weakness of this approach. But I know that I appreciated the sensitivity.
The word, amen, means "it is true," or "may it be so." According to Jewish tradition, adopted by Christianity, saying amen is the equivalent of reciting the entire prayer. (Talmud, Berakhot 53b) Because of this, the Talmud cautions Jews not to say amen to prayers of non-Jews, unless they have heard the entire prayer. (Berakhot 51b) Prayer is taken seriously, and we must be able to make it our own before saying amen.
At the same time, the idea of joining another human being in prayer was seen as an action filled with power and hope. Setting aside our differences and praying together "opens the gates of Paradise." (Talmud Shabbat 119b) Through a play on words, the Talmud sees hidden meaning in a Biblical verse, Isaiah 26:2. Although it is ordinarily read as, "open ye the gates (of paradise) that the righteous nation which keepeth truth may enter in," a slight change in the vowel marks of the Hebrew renders it, "Open ye the gates of righteousness, that the righteous nation which says amen may enter it!"
In 1984 a civilian minister served as one of the visiting scholars at the annual Navy Chaplain Corps Professional Development Conference. He led us in prayer as part of his presentation, but his prayer was worded in such a way as not to include me. One of my colleagues, a Christian chaplain, approached him after the session, and told the speaker that he was unable to pray because of the anguish he had felt for me. His thoughts were on me because he sensed that I was excluded.
During the next session of the conference, the speaker related the conversation to the group. he told us he had learned to think of prayer in a different light and that he was deeply touched that there could be such love among ministers of different faiths. Not just words of love, but love.
"The Christian Chaplain does love me," I thought to myself. "He knows what hurts, and he cares."
Chaplain Greg Kammann, Portland Or, PD spotted this article for us. Chaplain Resnicoff graciously agreed to our reprinting it. It originally appeared in MILITARY CHAPLAINS REVIEW. Chaplain Resnicoff added this postscript to the article: "I have received many beautiful responses to this article. But the most touching came from a minister who told me that he now uses the verse from Psalms which I quoted, "The words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart."
"Now, he says, when someone asks why he did not close a prayer "in Jesus' name", he answers them: "I did. I ended it in Jesus name because I love Him. I ended it silently because I love my neighbor, as well."
WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT FROM A CHAPLAIN
Some of these common traits are listed below and explained:
A police chaplain cares about all members of a department because they are people. Members don't have to fit any particular mold or measure up to any special standard to be important. They don't even have to go to a church or to a synagogue. They don't have to know the Bible. A chaplain accepts them as they are, just because they are one of God's children. A chaplain doesn't have to agree with or condone whatever an officer does or says, he accepts a person without judgment for they are an important being.
A chaplain should be willing to come whenever he or she is needed--this includes getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Chaplains are committed to responding when needed. Of course there will be times when a chaplain cannot respond immediately, but the complaint most often heard from chaplains is that the department doesn't call them enough.
If someone needs to talk personally with a chaplain, they should be able to get a prompt response. However, don't expect the chaplain to be a mind-reader. He may not realize that when you propose, "why don't you ride with me sometime, chaplain," that what you really want is to talk with him privately. Expect a quick response, however, when you say, "I've got something I would like to talk about with you."
An absolute must for chaplains is to deep what is told to them confidential. A person must be able to discuss almost anything with a chaplain and know that it will never go any further. The only exception is when there is a threat of danger; to either the person being counseled or someone else. A chaplain should make these ground rules known in advance.
Officers are a suspicious group but charges that a chaplain is a snitch for the chief are rarely true. An officer who makes a claim that he told something to the chaplain and now everyone knows about it, usually has overlooked the three of four other officers he also told.
A chaplain must have integrity. A department can expect correct ethical behavior from their chaplain. They can expect a chaplain to stand up for what is right and just, even when it pertains to prisoners. Members of a department should be able to count on the chaplain to do what he says he will do. A chaplain's actions should square with his words. He should not only talk a good game, but live one.
A chaplain must be a person of faith. This does not mean that a chaplain will always be preaching or quoting the Bible, but it does mean that his belief shines through in the kind of life that he lives and the things he says.
INTEREST IN YOU
A chaplain is genuinely interested in all the members of a department and their families. What they and their families do, and their successes or failures are important to the chaplain. He will be pleased to share both the joys and sorrows of their lives.
LAW ENFORCEMENT KNOWLEDGE
A chaplain should know what the world of a police officer is like. He should understand the pressures and keep abreast of the developments impacting on such a life. If the chaplain is new, it will take time for him to learn this.
A good chaplain strives to be conversant with everything pertaining to law enforcement--from use of deadly force policies, to union negotiations. He will recognize this is a different world.
A chaplain will not "play cop," for he does not function as a sworn peace officer. While many chaplains feel it is an obligation on their part to be able to defend themselves and not be a liability if they are riding with someone, their function is not to be another officer.
These are some of the basic ingredients of a chaplain. Most chaplains have them, but chaplains do have faults and some will make mistakes. After all, they are human too.
Chaplain David DeRevere is Executive Secretary of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. He was a volunteer chaplain for 19 years.
A CHAPLAIN'S CALL
Lucky thing for chaplains that Father Mulcahey of the TV series MASH had a good reputation among his medical unit - he didn't preach at them and he never supposed he was "one of the boys," yet he was always present to them and quietly served whenever and wherever they needed him.
"Chaplain, this is the dispatcher. We have a Code 44 (police officer down) and Unit 31 is in the emergency room.
This type of call sends an immediate chill up the spine. No one is quite sure what had happened or just how badly hurt the officer is. And this type of call usually comes in the middle of the night, rarely during the daylight hours. The chaplain dresses quickly and responds to the hospital to check on the officer, and on the officers family who also have been called, and to work with the officer's friends who have gathered there as well. The chaplain is the comforting presence, the stabilizing influence in a time of uncertainty and fear.
Thankfully, this type of call is NOT the norm. More often it is the chaplain who regularly visits the station and becomes well acquainted with the department personnel will be approached by an officer who says, "Chaplain, do you have a few minutes? I need to talk about something that has been bothering me."
In many cases it will be a personal problem involving a family matter. It may be that they have received a reprimand from a superior officer and feels it was unjust or unwarranted. Rarely does the officer stop the chaplain to talk "church talk."
INTRODUCTION TO THE CHAPLAIN
Today, more than ever in the history of law enforcement agencies, the need for religious guidance and assistance to law enforcement officers is great and demanding. Each day the police officer is faced with potentially dangerous situations as they come into contact with the baser elements of society. They must make split-second decisions that are just and right, knowing that someone with a lot of time will be analyzing what was done, and how it should have been handled differently- all with the expertise of an armchair quarterback. After careful deliberation of the facts that person will tell the officer whether or not the split-second decision was the right one. Many times after such a situation the officer has the feeling they are coming apart at the seams and need someone trustworthy to "dump on." That person has to be one who fully understands the circumstances surrounding the decisions that were made.
There is a great need to be able to "let it all hang out" with someone who will not be judgmental, but understanding. Someone needs to be there to hear what the officer is up against, yet is detached enough not to become personally involved in the situation.
Often an officer does not feel comfortable taking with the supervisor or even other officers about a problem they are experiencing. They do not want to take the problem home to the spouse or parents as they do not want to alarm them. Where can they go?
The police chaplain needs to be the one who can listen with empathy, advise calmly, and offer assistance when such assistance is appropriate. On call 24 hours a day the chaplain stands ready to respond. The key words are "service" and "presence." The chaplain knows they need to be with the officer whenever and wherever their service is needed.
The Chaplaincy is no place for a person who does not like to have his sleep interrupted. It is not a vocation or avocation for the person who is enamored of a uniform and wishes only to be used on "state occasions." The Chaplaincy must be filled by a person whose primary desire is to be of help to law enforcement personnel wherever and whenever the call may come.
THE CHAPLAIN'S QUALIFICATIONS
To be a chaplain, the person should:
When I started my work as a volunteer police chaplain I found that the personnel were friendly, but would not openly talk about the problems of police work which were the root of their concerns. When I asked the sheriff how I could get closer to them, to get them to respond to me as their chaplain, he said, "Become one of them." After completing the 300 hours of training I began riding with them on patrol, and they did begin to talk. Once they know you are willing to face the street scene with them you will be accepted.
One thing the chaplain must not do is to preach to them when riding with them, or when speaking with them in the office. The chaplain should just be there accepting the officer as he or she is, but not trying to be "one of the guys," using inappropriate language or sharing stories that are "colorful." The chaplain must remember that he is God's representative to a hurting people and act accordingly.
WAYS A CHAPLAIN CAN HELPThere are many areas in which the chaplain can help officers in doing their duty. They include, but are not limited, to:
Assistance in making notifications to families when there has been a death in the family due to homicide, suicide, accidental or natural causes.
If there is an officer or a department whose primary concerns are child or spouse abuse or sex crimes, the chaplain can often be the soft shoulder for the officer who is feeling overwhelmed by it all. The department should never overlook the chaplain when it comes to dealing with juvenile delinquents because he may be a guiding influence.
CONFIDENTIALITYThis becomes one of the touchiest areas in dealing with law enforcement personnel. There has to be an understanding with the chief or sheriff or other head officers of the department, that some things discussed will be highly confidential. Without this agreement there will be no possibility that an officer will completely unburden him/herself to the chaplain. The personnel have to know that this confidence will be maintained.
What happens if what the officers tells you has a direct bearing upon the individual's emotional stability and/or ability to do the job effectively? Now comes the question: does the officer trust you implicitly? If so, then the two of you can probably work out some sort of an arrangement where he will be willing to talk with another professional counselor if it is out of your area of expertise.
If there is hesitation, a showing of a lack of trust in you, it will be up to you whether or not withholding information from the officer's supervisor will cause harm to the officer, to another officer, or to the general public. It becomes a judgment call, but one which will affect your relationship not only with that officer, but
With the other officers in the department as well. Will your actions a cause them to distrust you in the future? Will your actions cause "the brass" to lose confidence in you?
There is no easy answer to disclosing something told you in confidence.
The chaplain stands ready to assist the officers and family in the times of distress, crises involving the possibility of separation and divorce and problems in which children are involved.
No one understands the stress, the pressures, the problems, the discouragements that are a part of the officer's daily life except the person who has walked with that officer in good days as well as bad days. There are situations which the officer may not be able to discuss with an outsider due to department regulations, but for which the chaplain has been cleared and is available to respond. The chaplain may even have faced that or a similar problem previously.
Generally the chaplain can be called upon at any time, day or night, seven days a week. However, we do want to state that the chaplain will not, and does not wish to take the place of the officer's own pastor. The chaplain is there to help until the family's pastor can arrive, or to be the pastor if the family has no church affiliation.
THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHAPLAIN
As stated before, the chaplain may or may not be a sworn officer, but he is a person of god with the responsibility to assist all officers on matters that fall within the realm of the chaplaincy.
The chaplain should report directly to the chief law enforcement officer. It is to be understood, however, that any information of a privileged nature shall not be included in any report made by the chaplain to such head officer.
To be effective in his role as a helper, the chaplain shall be authorized to ride with officers on all shifts, shall be given permission to visit all offices of the department, and be welcomed at the various scenes at which the officers are working. This requires that the chaplain be issued a department identification card and possibly, a uniform so as to readily identify. If possible, the chaplain should have access to radio communications of some sort, and/or a pager in order to be in constant contact with the dispatcher in case of emergencies.
The chaplain shall not release any information to the news media except as authorized by the chief or the sheriff.
LEARNING IN RETROSPECTOne department with which i became affiliated had an officer killed and one wounded in a shooting in the station parking lot ten months prior to my arrival in the city. I heard much about it and we held a memorial service one year after the death. That all seemed to go well and seemed to be comforting to the family.
A while later the second officer, the one who had been wounded, invited me to have a cup of coffee with him, i sensed that he wanted to talk about what had happened - post-shooting trauma had set in. I sat and listened, but i was too unsure of my relationship with him at the time to press him to reveal just how he felt. The right question probably would have opened the flood gate and healing might have taken place. But i sat there on my hands, doing nothing. And he did nothing and said nothing. A missed opportunity!
Was i wrong in not insisting on talking it out? In retrospect i would have to say, yes, i was wrong. This was a learning experience for me. Now, i would much rather err in pushing the officer to talk about the experience than in allowing him to suffer in silence. If you sense there is something bothering an officer let him know you know something is wrong, and that you want to help. We, as chaplains, must be willing to be vulnerable if we are going to be able to help others. And you officers, if you want to talk and the chaplain seems unsure of what to do - for heavens sake tell him or her.
The police chaplain needs to stay in touch with other chaplains, not only locally, but throughout the nation. There is an organization dedicated to keeping chaplains in touch with each other and also to provide continuing education in their specialized field. The international conference of police chaplains (icpc) exists for the purpose of fellowship, assistance on an international basis, and for providing seminars to help further the knowledge of police chaplains. Seminar leaders are provided by our own people as well as those from the fbi, local and state police agencies.
FOR MORE INFORMATION IN THE ICPC CONTACT: ICPC, ROUTE 5, BOX 310, LIVINGSTON, TEXAS 77351.
CHAPLAIN O'SULLIVAN'S TEAM TAKES CARE OF THE COUNTY'S CARETAKERS
At 3:00 p.m. a sheriff's officer is the first to arrive on the scene of an armed robbery in progress. He spots the robber leaving, identifies himself and tells him to halt, the robber returns the warning with shots at the officer who then returns the fire, killing the robber. At 6:00, after debriefing and filing out many, many forms the same officer arrives home to find his wife and son returning elated from a winning soccer game. How does he begin to share what his day has been like?
A highway patrol officer assists at a fatal injury accident involving two small children who were mangled beyond recognition. After his shift, he arrives home to find a birthday party in progress for own child. How does he deal with the sadness he has held in all afternoon?
Scenarios like these are common place to the county's police and fire employees. And Mark O'Sullivan, of Loomis, has heard all their stories for more than 10 years. O'Sulllivan is the Chaplain for Placer County Sheriff's Dept., and he also works with the Police Departments of Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Auburn, Colfax, the Highway Patrol offices at Auburn and Gold Run, the Auburn Parks and Recreation Dept., and informally with the Fire Departments throughout the county.
"Officers must be able to talk about their work to survive it." reports O'Sullivan. The reason most choose to be a police officer is they have a tremendously high level of social consciousness. Officers are affected by other people's pain. Criminals are not. They never think of the remnants they leave, where a police officer is very aware of that.
The job brings lots of stress because of this fact says O'Sullivan. Officers must be aware of the personality of the profession so that it does not chew up the character of the person involved. "A person must have a conscious and a gift of mercy to do this work.," says O'Sullivan "They should also be aware that much of the job is 95 per cent boredom and 5 per cent pure terror."
Survival and success are very much wrapped up in the officer's family, feels O'Sullivan. "Families are the most important aspect of a caretaker's life he feels. "The number one support in law enforcement has to be the family," he says. "They must enable the officer to be what he needs to be and also be the platform the he/she stands on. If what you come home to is not in order, you can't do your job and it is harder to come home." says O'Sullivan. "Communication is the glue that holds the families together and it must be worked at. Tears that back up, put holes in your stomach in 10 years. Officers need the catharsis, they need to be able to talk," he emphasizes. "We are vulnerable when we admit we're hurting but we are never alive more than when we are vulnerable." says O'Sullivan. He wishes more officers could understand this.
O'Sullivan points to statistics to prove his point. Police and fire protection people have the highest rate of medical admissions for respiratory and coronary care of any field he reports. Many more died by suicide and heart attack than have been killed inaction he states. "Beside the incredible amount of paper work and injustices in the justice system, these people must deal with all the "extremes of life." "How many people past the age of 25 ever get into a fist fight? However, officers need to deal with fist fights, crimes, and bodies and body parts. To handle these, they don't often get to look for the goodness in people."
Alcohol abuse is common and a sort of paranoia sets in where they only begin to trust other cops. "When was the last time a police officer got to use words like wonderful, splendid or beautiful?" asks O'Sullivan. "There is something paradoxical about living what you do and having to wear a bullet proof vest to do it."
The needs of the officers keep O'Sullivan's team busy. In the past 6 months, they have had 10 gunshot suicides, numerous death notifications, 3 sudden infant deaths and too many traffic accidents to count, 96 emergency call-outs where they are needed "right now," 100 counseling calls, 40 visitations to hospitals and homes, and numerous weddings and "too many" funerals according to O'Sullivan.
The team is responsible for death notification procedures to families. They are involved in critical incidents such as the I-80 shooting that recently happened near Loomis. They ride-along with officers once a month and have taken training to qualify with automatic handguns, shotguns and revolvers.
Currently serving on the team are the Rev. Gary Anderson; Gary Lewis; Donald Dunn; Daniel Gibson; Scott Hubbard; David Burckhardt; David Ross; David George; Douglas Bird; Jay McCarl; and Bob Kilpatrick. These men have been trained to help with the triune of the officer, the physical, mental and spiritual or character. "God is a good spare tire for police officers." says O'Sullivan. "Faith gives you a place to reside with some hope."
But, O'Sullivan knows that not all the officers can accept this way to stay healthy. "They must however have the opportunity to say "I'm hurting." Often this comes in the shape of a "choir meeting" where 5 or 6 other officers grab a few drinks together, or 1 on 1 meeting with a member of O'Sullivan's team. He has heard intimate problems in the office, beside a car, and many unusual places. The important part is not the manner or place, but giving the officer the opportunity to take the problem from subjective to reality or "closure." "They must have the opportunity to grieve and heal and come into reality." states O'Sullivan.
"People who deal with people's pain HURT, and I don't think the average citizen realizes it," said O'Sullivan. "I love these people." he concluded with admiration. The work of the team is appreciated. Sheriff Don Nunes says "O'Sullivan is an great asset to our office." Gregory Cowart of the Roseville Police Department calls O'Sullivan "one of a kind" and says the team "is an integral part of his department. "His staff is always there, when we need them, often in prevention." said Cowart.
The Chaplaincy is a faith work and has no special funds for its support. Individual, businesses, organizations and churches are the sole support.
WORKING IN CLERICAL COLLAR DURING CRISIS
Mark O'Sullivan knows it sometimes takes more than a badge and a gun to diffuse a dangerous situation. Sometimes a clerical collar is needed to dot the trick. The Placer County law enforcement chaplain got his chance to prove his point last Saturday in Roseville. Officers from the Roseville Police Department were surrounding an apartment when O'Sullivan got the call in the mid-afternoon. Inside was an elderly man with a terminal disease and a housekeeper. The man had a rifle and was threatening suicide.
As law enforcement chaplain, O'Sullivan provides crisis intervention for officers and their families, counseling and death notifications. He is also a trained negotiator who is often called out to help in situations like the one Saturday.
O'Sullivan told officers he was on his way and "suited up" in a bullet-proof vest and a clerical collar. Working in a clerical collar helps to diffuse the situation, O'Sullivan said.
Before going into the house, O'Sullivan talked to police who were on hand. "They told me he was an elderly man, very depressed, very sick. Just tired of living." O'Sullivan then went to a nearby store and called the housekeeper. She said the man was sitting in a chair with a rifle in his hand. He was too sick to get up from the chair and couldn't reach the phone. The housekeeper asked the man if it was OK for O'Sullivan to come over and talk to him. The man said OK - as long as there were no uniforms.
Officers stationed themselves out of sight around the apartment. O'Sullivan took a police radio, strapped on a bullet-proof vest and went to the apartment. "I always carry a bullet-proof vest," he said. "If someone goes berserk, they're not going to be selective about who they shoot.
"I knocked on the door, walked in the house and there's this elderly man with both hands on a rifle leaning against his chest," he said. "The first thing he said to me is, Don't come near me. You can talk to me, but don't come near me." O'Sullivan sat on a couch across the room from the man and tried to keep an eye on the man's hands, but his view was obstructed by a small table in front of the man's chair. he immediately noticed an ashtray and liquor bottles. "I realized at that point he's probably had two or three drinks. He's tense, but he's relaxed," O'Sullivan said.
O'Sullivan moved into a monotone negotiation, every once in a while radioing the officers outside that everything was OK. "I talk monotone, real soft so he's got to strain to hear me," he said, "so I know I have his attention. I'm surprised he's listening to me, but at one point he tensed up and I think, 'Oh my God, here we go.'" But the moment passed and O'Sullivan continued. "I said, 'What's your biggest problem today?' He said, 'It hurts so much.'" O'Sullivan went to the kitchen and asked the housekeeper to call the man's doctor. He told the man he would try and get him something to take away the pain. When the doctor called back a few minutes later, O'Sullivan told him that one of his patients was in terrible pain and was threatening suicide. He asked if there was something that could be done. The doctor told O'Sullivan the man was terminal and there was nothing that could be done. O'Sullivan kept talking, though, pretending that the doctor was going to be able to help. Even after the doctor hung up, O'Sullivan kept on the phone, pretending to be talking and slowly walking toward the living room where the man was sitting. When he reached the corner of the wall and peered around, O'Sullivan could see the man still resting on the rifle. "His finger is on the trigger," O'Sullivan notices.
After watching the man slowly close his eyes, O'Sullivan bolted around the corner and grabbed the rifle. One man's life was saved. But O'Sullivan said the Roseville incident was one of 113 emergency responses O'Sullivan and his 10 associate chaplains have made since Jan. 1. "The public really needs to know how important this program is," he said. The non-profit agency operates on a $48,000 annual budget. Last year 52 percent of the budget was made up of contributions from police officers, their families and labor associations. The rest of their money comes from fund-raisers and donations.
THE POLICEMAN'S CHAPLAIN
Tragedy to the average man is routine for a police officer. But like foot soldiers in a war, the violence, death and despair may eventually take their toll. Without an outlet to release the accumulated stress, the life of a police officer can become a pressure cooker with no release valve. "They have a sense of innate stresses that the average person doesn't have in his job," said Mark O'Sullivan, chaplain of the Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy, Inc.
Because of the job-related stress, studies have indicated that more law enforcement officers have died by their own hands than by homicides during the past 11 years. In addition, they have a higher incidence of divorce and coronary diseases than workers in other fields. "There's a real paradox," said O'Sullivan. "Even though he may enjoy his job, he might have to wear a bullet proof vest to protect himself." That vest may shield his body, but until recently there were no safeguards to protect his psyche. With the re-introduction of the Chaplaincy in Placer County last month all local law enforcement personnel now have an outlet to confidentially release pent-up emotions. "We'd like to remind people that until we find a place to get police officers - other than the human race - we're going to have to deal with them as human beings," said O'Sullivan. "We're not dealing with superpowers - we're dealing with fragile beings like anyone else," he added. "Just because they're law enforcers doesn't mean they're not immune to personal problems."
Among other things, O'Sullivan's "reactive" duties include providing job related as well as marriage and family counseling; serving as mediator at horrific crime scenes and scenes of trauma ( for both the public and officers); giving death notifications; and providing funeral and memorial services for the employee or family. "I've been getting a lot of positive feedback, since the officers know I care," said O'Sullivan. "Our motto is 'Nobody really cares what you know until they know that you really care.'
The Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy extends services to officers, dispatchers and administrators at police departments in Colfax, Rocklin, Roseville and Lincoln; sheriff's stations in Auburn and Lake Tahoe; and various California Highway Patrol offices.
O'Sullivan, who was employed as full-time chaplain for past 2 years with the Greater Sacramento Law enforcement Chaplaincy, served as a volunteer chaplain at the Auburn Police Department and Placer County Sheriff's Department from 1980 to 1985. "When he went to Sacramento, he left a void behind," said Placer County Sheriff Rod Merydith, who serves as president of the Chaplaincy. "We realized that his services were very worthwhile to all law enforcement personnel, including clerical workers."
His services are especially appreciated during the holidays, when depression and suicides reach their peak. "December has been the toughest," said O'Sullivan, who is on call 24-hours a day. "This is the busiest time of year for any social worker, crisis intervention specialist or pastors," he said. This month alone, O'Sullivan has been called to the scene of a suicide, 2 attempted suicides, 2 fatal fires and 3 deaths in families of law enforcement employees. "The officers really appreciate Mark's intervention at the scene," said Auburn Police Lt. Jim Larney. "They know that their family is being taken care of, so they are able to complete their functions."
Police officers often describe their work as 90% boredom, interrupted by 10% sheer terror. "It takes a couple hours to get down afterwards because of the adrenaline" said one policeman, describing a recent incident. "It's not anger or fear that was involved," he explained. "It 's an element of confusion and not knowing what's going to happen next."
Despite the pressures, the Chaplaincy believes that, "You are not responsible for what happens to you. But you are responsible for how you react." And, like many high-stress occupations, those reactions may include alcohol or drug abuse as well as marital problems. "My role is to help officers use health promoting ways to deal with problems," he added. "Alcohol may be a relaxant but doesn't necessarily promote health."
Positive ways to deal with stress include exercise, proper diet, and mentally preparing for a stressful situation. Unfortunately, frustrations and stress are not always confined to the office. "We do the best we can to leave our problems behind," said one Auburn Police detective. "But it doesn't always work - it's hard to do CPR on a kid who died at the hospital - or see a person dissected at an autopsy - and turn it off when you get home," he explained. As a result, otherwise ordinary problems at home can often be difficult to deal with after a hard day's work. "You reach a saturation point," the detective said. "After you've dealt with so many problems during the day, it's tough to cope with the little things at home. Something the silence at the dinner table can be deafening. "One of the biggest problems I see is lack of communication between the police officer and his family," O'Sullivan said. Although law enforcement personnel handle emergencies on a routine basis, it is difficult for the their families - who aren't conditioned to seeing accident or crime scenes - to comprehend the details of the job. "You can't exactly explain to your wife or 6 year old kid what you did that day - about the woman who was raped or tortured - how you almost got shot, and (that) it was a toss of a coin that you made it home" said the detective.
Consequently, the officers generally become more protective of their own families when dealing with cases that hit "close to home." "I had 2 kids die in my arms - and they were the same age as my own children," said the detective. "After that, I spent weeks checking on my own kids in the middle of the night to see if they sere still there."
Another big problem among police families is the rotating work shifts common in the profession. "Being away from the family for long periods of time is probably the worst part about the job," said Larney. "It's hard for them to get used to it, but most do the best they can to tolerate it."
In addition to family life, the social life of a law enforcer can be seriously hampered due to the nature of the job. "They represent a different segment of society which is different form the average American family," explained Merydith, "and this causes an isolation (from) the general public." As a result, officers generally socialize among themselves. "They rarely socialize outside of law enforcement," added O'Sullivan.
Because to some there is a stigma of being a "man in uniform" officers take in stride that they are accepted by some people, but rejected by others. It's part of the job. They can't please everyone when they're trying to comply with the law - it's like water off a duck's back - the bad guys are always going to hate you," explained Larney.
There is also the attitude among some that police are "not around when you need them, but all around when you don't want them." They also want to be known for providing a public service not just law enforcement," said O'Sullivan. Nevertheless, police must maintain a positive image in the public eye - and learn to deal with the stress. An that's where the Chaplaincy comes into play. "We've received overwhelming support for the program - not just from the law enforcement - but from the community as a whole," said Merydith. Donations to the program, which has an estimated budget of $40,000 each year, have included $10,000 from the Placer County Deputy Sheriff's Association; $2,500 from Auburn Police officers as well as monthly contributions; and monthly donations from churches, individuals and businesses. In addition, a pay roll deduction has been established through the Placer County Employees Credit Union for people who wish to donate.
It's a clear view where citizens in Placer County can have a positive influence on those that serve in law enforcement," said Merydith.
BREACHING THE BLUE WALL
I will never forget the sense of frustration that edged his voice as he spoke. "I go to the precinct and I stand and no one ever comes up to talk to me. He was a young police chaplain candidate. He had come to the end of his training period and had decided that he would not seek appointment as a police chaplain. A quiet individual who found it difficult to initiate relationships he had struggled through the most frustrating experience of his life. As a priest he was welcomed by his congregation and strangers smiled at him as he walked the streets. Not so when he went to the precinct as a police chaplain. He had met the BLUE WALL. And the BLUE WALL won.
The BLUE WALL. It is not a physical structure. It is the invisible social and psychological barrier that separates police officers from others. It is not the existence of such a barrier that is unique. Many groups erect such obstacles to relationships. Doctors, lawyers, ministers, politicians, housewives, cheerleaders, bag ladies and winos - every distinctive group tends to segregate itself from others at some point. There is something which draws us together with others who share a commonality with us. All of us tend to withdraw behind a wall that keeps out others who lack that commonality.
Although there are many walled groups in society, there is something about the BLUE WALL that sets it apart from all other walls. That something is the intention of the wall. Police officers build the wall and they maintain it. No one breaches it without the approval of the officers.
Why is the BLUE WALL particularly impenetrable? Why is it, of all walls, the most difficult to breach? The answers are found in the nature of law enforcement. Police deal with the negatives of our culture. Their task is to restore a positive balance to situations and circumstances that are biased toward and/or uninclined to accomplish. They restore domestic peace, recover stolen property, arrest those who commit crimes against citizens to deal with the unpleasantness of life. It is a difficult job carried out under the bright lights of public scrutiny. Police officers inhabit a world little understood by those outside its boundaries. Little wonder they withdraw into an enclave surrounded by the BLUE WALL.
Police officers place the clergy at the far right end of the bad-good spectrum. Like many persons, police officers view others from a stereotypical frame of reference. They see the minister as naive; incapable of accepting the fact that there are bad people in the world. The minister is seen as one who has never heard the "four-letter words" and would be uncomfortable at a murder scene. The police officer thinks that ministers should seed the safe and quiet places, insulated from the real world of the streets.
An impenetrable wall. A closed society. That is the arena in which the police officer lives and moves and has his being. It is also the place where the chaplain must go if he is to be the chaplain. An so the obvious questions. Can you get there from here? How do you get there? The answer to the first question is "YES". The second answer is a bit more complex.
You can get behind the wall. Unless you will you cannot be a police chaplain in name only. Yours will never be more than an appointed position. Certainly it will not be a ministry.
How do you get there from here? The route is not a short one nor is the journey brief. Rather it is long and winding.
When the chaplain enters the world of the police officer the initial reception may vary from acceptance to rejection. If the chaplain is known to the officers and a relationship has been built based upon previous contacts then entry may be eased somewhat. If the chaplain is unknown he may experience feelings ranging from indifference to ostracism. Hopefully there will be at least passive acceptance and a toleration for his presence.
The chaplain must know who he or she is. His or her sense of calling must be clear. If it is then they will be will to spend the time that it will take to establish their role as chaplain. Otherwise, he may soon become discouraged.
The chaplain must make a serious time commitment. They must visit the officers frequently enough to become a familiar face. They must go to the station often enough that the officers can identify them as a "regular".
The chaplain must assume responsibility for building relationships. They will need to initiate conversations, ask about how things are going, and speak a good word about something positive he has observed.
The chaplain must be a listener. What is happening in the lives of the officers? Who is buying a new home? Whose son is graduating from high school? Was the weekend hunting trip successful? How is the daughter who just had surgery? When is the new baby due...and how many kids will that make at home? The bits and pieces of news that are picked up while riding in the patrol car or waiting for roll call are the basis for conversations. Conversations are the basis on which relationships are built.
The chaplain should be an affirmer. Generally we live in a non-affirming society. Criticism is easy to come by and it is a frequent visitor in the lives of most people. Affirmation comes calling much more infrequently. Criticism is a constant companion of the police officer. The officer seldom arrives as quickly as needed. He uses to little tact and too much force in making an arrest. He forgets to put on his hat when making a traffic stop. The counseling register lists far more disciplinary actions than accolades.
Affirmation helps close the distance between officers and chaplain. When an officer maintains his composure in he face of an irate citizen venting his anger about some matter over which the officer had no control, the chaplain may say, "You handled that very well." A simple comment. Yet for the officer who seldom hears much approbation it is better than a raise in pay (almost).
The chaplain should acknowledge special events. Birthdays, weddings anniversaries, completion of a college semester, and other significant milestones should be acknowledged. The death of a family member is a time when a visit to the funeral home will communicate boldly that the chaplain cares about the officer and be long remembered. These special remembrances becomes the foundation on which the chaplain achieves acceptance.
If the chaplain demonstrates a sensitivity to the officers as individuals he will need not worry about acceptance. Gradually the word will be shared form officer to officer: "The chaplain is okay"...
No. Acceptance will not come overnight. But it will come. The route behind the BLUE WALL is not short nor is the journey brief. But it is well worth the taking.
He is a composite of what all men are, a mingling of saint and sinner, dust and deity.
Culled statistics wave the fan over the stinkers, underscore instances of dishonesty and brutality because they are news. What that really means is that they are exceptional, unusual, not commonplace.
Buried under the froth are the facts. Less than one-half of one percent of police officers misfit the uniform. That's a better average than you will find among clergy.
What is a police officer made of? They, of all people, are at once the most needed and the most unwanted.
They are a strangely nameless creature who is "Sir" or "Ma'am'" to their face and "fuzz" behind their back. They must be such a diplomat that they can settle differences between individuals so that each will think he won.
But...if they are neat, they're conceited; if they're careless, they're a bum.
If they are pleasant, they are a flirt; if not, they're a grouch. They must make, in an instant, decisions which would require months for an attorney.
But...if they hurry, they're careless; if they are deliberate, they're lazy.
They must be first to an accident and infallible with their diagnosis.
They must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and, above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp, or expect to be sued.
The police officer must know every gun, draw on the run and hit where it doesn't hurt. They must be able to whip two men twice their size and half their age without damaging their uniform and without being "brutal".
If you hit an officer, they're a coward; If they hit you, they're a bully. They must know everything and not tell; Know where the sin is and not partake.
They must, from a single human hair, be able to describe the crime, the weapon, and the criminal and tell you where the criminal is hiding.
But... if they catch the criminal, their lucky; if they don't, they're a dunce.
If they get promoted, they have pull; if not they're a dullard.
They must chase bum leads to a dead-end, stakeout ten nights to tag one witness who saw "it" happen, but refuses to remember.
They run files and write reports until they aches in order to build a case against a felon who will get "dealt out".
They must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy, and a gentleman/lady, and, of course, they will have to be a genius since they will have to feed a family on a policeman's salary.
This article originally appeared as a Paul Harvey commentary.
U.S. Department of Justice, May 2, 1991
(Quantico, Va.) More than 60 ministers, priests and rabbis attended the first FBI Chaplains seminar, Jan., 22-25, 1991 at the FBI Academy. The seminar was held to initiate a network of clergy who would serve as support for FBI employees across the country.
These clergy, in addition to their regular duties, have volunteered to assist the 56 FBI field offices in their respective regions. The training they received during the seminar will enable them to better understand the role of FBI employees, and how to support them and their family members.
The support would be needed primarily when a critical incident occurs - any event on or off the job, that is outside the realm of normal experience that might be expected to produce significant emotional responses. Such events include shooting incidents and coping with terminal illnesses.
In addition, the attendees can provide grief counseling and provide instruction in such areas as stress management, ethics and family life.
This Chaplains Program does not focus on individual beliefs, but focuses instead on providing an additional element of support to people in need of processing traumatic incidents.
"Law enforcement officials in general are exposed to a great deal of violence and unusually stressful situations in their daily work," said FBI Special Agent James Horn, seminar coordinator. "Especially with violent crime on the increase, law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, see the need to ensure the health and welfare of its employees."
Horn is a member of the Behavioral Science Services Unit at the Academy, the sponsor of the seminar. The Chaplains Program will be an addition to an already established program the unit supervises to provide support to FBI employees.
One court summarized the protection of the first amendment thusly: "The amendment protests freedom of (religious) speech and expression of view. It protects the free exercise of religion. And it insures freedom of religious worship by prohibiting the government from any establishment of religion."
The supreme court articulated a three prong test in 1971 to determine whether a statute or government policy will offend the establishment clause of the first amendment. In Lemon vs. Kurtzman, (403 U.S. 602, (1971), the court said that: "First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, it's principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and finally, the statute must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion."
The government act in question must not have a religious purpose. The supreme court has explained that there can be no "Animus of Religion" in the design or goal of the program. Religious tests for public employment are unconstitutional, per se. But, the court has also made clear that the presence of religious purposes would not doom a law or practice, as long as there was also a secular purpose. "The court has invalidated legislation or governmental action on the ground that a secular purpose was lacking, but only when it has concluded there was no question that the statute or activity was motivated wholly by religious considerations. Even where the benefits to religion were substantial we saw a secular purpose and no conflict with the establishment clause." Id. at p680. accord, Wallace V. Jaffree, Van Zandt V. Thompson, where the 7th Cir. Ct. of appeals held that the prayer room in the state capitol has the secular purpose of promoting meditation: "The resolution (Authorizing the Prayer Room) suggests that (The Legislators) may legislate better for having taken some time to thing quietly";
In Carter V. Broadlawns Medical Center, A case challenging a hospital Chaplaincy program, the 8th Cir. held that the district court plainly erred by focusing almost exclusively on the religious purpose in isolation from the larger context, which reveals a valid secular purpose (To Help The Patients Get Well). Thus, as long as there is a valid overall SECULAR PURPOSE, there may be religious benefits to the program without violating the first prong of the lemon test.
PRIMARY EFFECT TEST:
The second prong of the lemon test states that the principal or primary effect of a law or program must be one that either advances nor inhibits the practice of religion. Just because a program has a "primary" effect to promote some legitimate secular end, nevertheless the program may be further examined to ascertain whether it also has the direct and immediate effect of advancing religion. "Secular objectives no matter how desirable and irrespective of whether judges might possess sufficient sensitive calipers to ascertain whether the secular benefits outweigh the sectarian benefits, cannot serve... to justify... a direct and substantial advancement of religion."
However, the impact on religion must be direct and substantial. Where government action does not directly endorse religion or a particular religious practice, its primary secular effect is not rendered unconstitutional merely because it happens to harmonize with the tenants of religions. The mere fact that a religious organization receives an incidental benefit under a government policy does not violate the privacy effect prong. In Lynch vs. Donnelly, the supreme court stated that their precedents plainly contemplate that on occasion some advancement of religion will result from government action, but not every law that confers an "indirect", "remote", or incidental benefit upon religion is, for that reason alone, constitutionally invalid. However, the court said focus exclusively on the religious component of any activity would inevitably lead to its invalidation under the establishment clause.
In Carter vs. Broadlawns, the hospital Chaplaincy program was challenged on the grounds that it violated the effect test by providing financial aid to enable persons in its care to practice their religions. While the district court concluded that paying a chaplain to provide religious care is an advancement of religion, the 8th Cir. noted that some financial benefit to religion can be tolerated in applying the lemon test. It distinguished the neutrality of employing a counselor with the versatility and training to help persons all along the continuum of religious dispositions from cases where the effect was more direct and selective.
As the court stated in Voswinkel vs. City of Charlotte, supra, "The agreement here (between the city and Providence Baptist Church) necessarily has several obvious, direct, and constitutionally impermissible effects:
1. It provides for a publicly funded position that must, under the terms of the agreement, be filled by a "Minister". To the extent that one's status as a minister depends on some degree of adherence to the creed of, and is subject to control by, the denomination one serves, the agreement necessarily imposes a religious test for eligibility to a publicly funded office.
EXCESSIVE ENTANGLEMENT TEST:
The final question under the lemon test is whether the challenged practice gives rise to an excessive government entanglement with religion. Government oversight - determining what material is religious and what is not, inquiries into religious doctrine, detailed monitoring or close administrative contact - is likely to violate the undue entanglement prong of the test. For instance, in 1981 the supreme court said that a university would risk greater entanglement by attempting to enforce its exclusion of "Religious Worship" and "Religious Speech" than by opening its forum to religious as well as non religious speakers.
Oversight of the chaplains themselves risks undue entanglement. The district court in the Voswinkel case in North Carolina held there was undue entanglement because it was not clear to whom the chaplain must answer, in the last analysis, in the performance of his duties. Supra. thus giving chaplains as much independence as possible in performing their duties is desirable.
AVOIDING FIRST AMENDMENT PROBLEMS:
It is evident we must be careful to avoid running afoul of the first amendment's establishment clause. The court in the Voswinkel case, though only a U.S. District Court, has given some guidance that should withstand the scrutiny of the U.S. Supreme Court: "The creation of a counseling position to which any counselor could apply and be considered on religiously neutral grounds in not a government action that could reasonably be said to threaten "An establishment of religion". "The city may, of course, spend money to provide it's police officers with the purely secular services described in the agreement (between the city and the church). There is nothing ;unconstitutional in hiring a clergyman to perform those services, so long as the clergyman is selected as the result of a religiously neutral process rather than, as here, pursuant to a contract with a specific church that restricts eligibility to ministers. Indeed, to reject a job applicant because he is a minister would violate the first amendment prohibition against government interference with the "Free Exercise of Religion", as well as statutory prohibitions against religious discrimination in employment. Neutrality in religious matters, not hostility toward religion, is what the constitution requires. The court does on believe that a public employee, hired as a counselor through some neutral selection process, is constitutionally required to refrain from discussing "spiritual" or "moral" matters in the course of his counseling duties. There is nothing unconstitutional, per se, in a church's donating money or property to a governmental entity or in the passage of money from a government entity to a church for some purpose that does not threaten to assist religion or to entangle govt. excessively in religious affairs.
Any Chaplaincy program should have no constitution problems if:
To Chapter Two