A Ministry of Presence
Law Enforcement Chaplain
The purpose of a law enforcement chaplain is to provide spiritual and emotional support to law enforcement officers, employees, and citizens that they contact; and to students, faculty, and administration in schools (through the School Resource Chaplaincy program). Chaplains may also provide pastoral services as necessary: counseling, weddings, funerals, sacraments, invocations, benedictions, etc.
Chaplains are volunteers with the law enforcement agency, serving at the request of and with permission from the agency, and under the guidelines of the agency’s chaplain program policy. Like other volunteers, chaplains undergo extensive background checks; and must complete a rigorous, 40-hour training through either Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) or the International Conference of Chaplains. Ongoing Continuing Education Training is recommended, and may be required by the agency.
School Resource Chaplain
A School Resource Chaplain is a law enforcement-certified chaplain who has been invited by a school principal to support the health and well-being of young people. Through their presence on campus, the School Resource Chaplain can play a significant role in helping to maintain a safe, healthy, and stable learning environment by developing relationships with students, staff, counselors, and administrators; as well as by supporting sworn School Resource Officers. They may also provide short-term crisis counseling after an incident that impacts students and/or staff.
School Resource Chaplains meet constitutional guidelines for involvement in public schools because…
- they provide a practical, secular service;
- they are non-sectarian, serving people of all faiths and no faith; and
- they are free of excessive government and religious entanglement.
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602. 1971.
Resources and References
For additional information about law enforcement chaplaincy and existing School Resource Chaplain programs, please see the following:
- Stockton Police Chaplaincy: https://www.spdchaplaincy.org/school-resource
- Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento School Support Teams: https://sacchaplains.com/school-programs/
- Fresno Sheriff’s Department Chaplaincy Unit: https://www.fresnosheriff.org/units/chaplaincy-unit.html
- Stockton’s School Resource Chaplaincy: https://www.cacities.org/Top/Partners/California-City-Solutions/2010/Stockton-Law-Enforcement-Chaplain-School-Resource