Who is Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento?
Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento includes both law enforcement chaplains and community chaplain volunteers. Law enforcement chaplains primarily serve law enforcement employees and their families, and therefore must be licensed or ordained clergy. On the other hand, community chaplain volunteers primarily serve civilians who are affected by suicides, homicides, serious accidents and other traumatic incidents, particularly including the families, friends, neighbors and coworkers of victims. Thus, any qualified individual can become a community chaplain volunteer. Volunteers come from a very broad racial, sectarian, geographic, and socioeconomic cross-section of the Sacramento region. At any given time, the roster typically includes over 80 volunteers.
To what kinds of incidents do you respond?
We respond to a very wide variety of situations, including serious accidents, suicides, homicides or suspicious deaths, sudden infant death, barricaded subjects, missing persons, industrial accidents, unexpected natural deaths, death notifications, and many others. Typically, we are contacted, and volunteers deployed, within moments of officers’ arrival on scene.
What do you actually do?
Law enforcement chaplains provide law enforcement families a trusted source of confidence and encouragement day in and day out, in good times and in bad. Law enforcement chaplains get to know law enforcement personnel and their families over long periods of time by visiting station houses, going on patrol ride-alongs, etc. By contrast, community chaplain volunteers provide traumatized civilians a compassionate presence in the very worst times of their lives, and only for a limited period of time. Community chaplain volunteers bring a calming presence to potentially volatile scenes, serve as liaisons between survivors and public safety personnel and the media, help contact and convene survivors' family, friends and clergy, provide a safe environment for survivors to express their anguish, provide survivors information on how to care for themselves in the coming days and weeks, provide referrals to agencies offering long-term support, and provide other practical assistance as necessary. Volunteers typically remain on scene anywhere from one to four hours or more.
What's the time commitment to be a volunteer?
Volunteers sign up for call based on their own schedules. Volunteers must be willing to be on call a minimum of 24 hours per month, though we encourage them to be on call 24 hours each week. For most 24 hour periods, a volunteer can typically expect to spend anywhere from zero to eight hours actively engaged in critical incidents.
What kinds of people are called to be volunteers?
In addition to the qualifications described above and below, those with a genuine calling to this kind of work demonstrate a number of other personal, intellectual and practical characteristics. They have compassion for every human being, even those most unlike themselves. They exhibit profound peace and humility. They have the discipline to follow detailed protocols, submit to authority, be cheerfully flexible under frequently and rapidly changing circumstances, and follow through on their commitments. They display common sense and good judgement. They can provide their own uniform, pager, mobile phone, and automobile, and can raise their own funding for academy tuition and background screening. They can learn to effectively use current telecommunications technology, including cell phones, pagers and the Internet. They can remain standing outdoors for long periods of time during the hottest days of summer and the coldest nights of winter. Individuals who wish to get involved but do not meet all of the requirements to be a first responder can participate in other ways, and are encouraged to contact us.
How do I get involved?
In order to become a community chaplain volunteer, applicants must complete a multi-page application and undergo a thorough background check by law enforcement. As an important part of the application, we must receive a detailed personal evaluation from an individual who is very familiar with the applicant. If their application is accepted, the applicant then enters our annual academy, which involves a 4 hour class once per week for 10 weeks. During the academy, trainees begin accompanying seasoned chaplains on live calls in the field. Trainees must then accumulate over 50 qualified hours in the field, cover a variety of different types of calls, and obtain favorable reviews from the seasoned chaplains that they accompany. To get involved, either as a responder in the field or in another capacity, click the “contact us” tab and send us your name, address, phone number, and a brief description of your interest.