The Chaplaincy Program was established to assist police officers and the people of the community through a field service ministry. They provide guidance, counseling and comfort in times of crisis, to all employees and the residents of Santa Barbara. The services of the chaplains are available on the basis of need and desire. They are not intended, nor do they wish to replace an individual’s clergyman.
To be appointed as a police chaplain, one must meet a variety of minimum qualifications; to name a few, they must be an ordained or licensed member of the clergy in good standing, be willing to volunteer their services on a 24-hour call basis and successfully complete an application and background process with the police department. As well as the training in the ministry field, chaplains receive additional training in family, grief and drug addiction counseling; and participate in a monthly ride-along with a patrol officer.
The police department currently has five chaplains who are available to provide personal and family counseling to department personnel and their families. They are available to conduct wedding and funeral services and hospital visitation for department personnel and their families. They respond to assist officers on calls and use their specific ability in relating news with empathy, dignity and sympathy in situations such as death notifications and incidents of serious injury. They are available for counseling of rape victims, drug abusers, child abuse victims, battered spouses, etc.
The Police Chaplain is a valuable resource to the patrol officer, allowing the officer to focus on the investigation of the incident and the Chaplain tending to the needs of the victim.