On Tuesday June 13, 2017, the New Jersey Police Chaplains Association conducted their fourth annual Training Program. Held at the War Memorial Building in Trenton, the program attracted over 300 attendees. This training program offered various workshops, addressing Community Relations, Law Enforcement and Social Media, Human Trafficking Education and Awareness, Employee Assistance Program for Law Enforcement, Disaster Response Crisis Counselor and the Emotional Response to Crisis, Chaplains Supporting Retired Law Enforcement Officers, Role of Chaplaincy in Diverting Youth from the Juvenile Justice System, Dealing with Compassion Fatigue, and How to Start a Police Chaplains’ Program. Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, a staunch advocate and continued supporter of the New Jersey Police Chaplains Program, was honored to give a presentation to the audience during the event on behalf of the County Prosecutors’ Association of New Jersey.
Prosecutor Knapp stated, “The training held today covered numerous topics that are beneficial to our Police Chaplains, and will no doubt assist them with their duties. Police Chaplains provide a critically important spiritual service to police officers and their families in times of need.”
The Police Chaplain Program is designed to have Clergy partner with Law Enforcement during incidents where a more delicate response to citizens needs may be necessary. In this capacity, Clergy offer emotional, social or spiritual support. A sworn position in the municipality where they serve, ordained clergymen and clergywomen work on a volunteer basis. Moreover, the position requires a recommendation by the local Chief of Police coupled with Police Chaplain training and certification. Statewide, the number of Police Chaplains continues to grow. For example, in 2016, in Madison Borough alone, four Police Chaplains were appointed and added to their official roster.
“The partnership between law enforcement and Police Chaplains lends itself to improved policing in the community where they serve. Besides benefiting individuals in crisis, Chaplains can help bridge any real or perceived gap that may exist between police and their community”, said Prosecutor Knapp.