Sonoma County, California, north of San Francisco Bay, is home to the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Service. The service has 58 trained chaplains who respond immediately to all parts of the county when called by any one of 18 law enforcement, fire, or emergency response agencies (state, county, or municipal) to a tragedy where there is need for emotional support. The chaplains pride themselves on arriving in timely fashion to every call for help.
The need is real. Many times, police officers can provide help to people whose lives have just been shattered by tragedy, but officers must abruptly leave to get on to the next call for help. Not only are the citizens in need left without comfort but the police officers feel they have not provided the service needed. In Sonoma County the officers are able to introduce a chaplain, who will not do anything “religious” unless asked, to comfort the victims and their families while the officers return to service to tend to their policing duties. In this way the chaplaincy is supporting our peace officers, emergency service providers, and the citizens in need.