As a non denominational Chaplain for the police department I am on call to respond for death notifications, helping officers and emergency response employees in times of crisis. Chaplains are not armed and most of them are not police officers, their role is to be there for low enforcement as moral support. Information shared with Chaplains is confidential. Chaplains are clergy members yet they do not preach for their churches or try to get anyone to join their church.
One type of call for a chaplain is to go with an officer to inform a family that one of their loved ones is dead. The officer normally leaves shortly after the notification and the chaplain stays to make sure the person or family is not alone and the Chaplain offers to contact the family’s religious leader or other family members or neighbors to be with the family or person. The Chaplain can hold someones hand or if they would like most Chaplains will pray with them.
With UPD Unified Police Department normally a Chaplain and a victims advocate will respond together and both Chaplains and Victims advocates have special packets with them that help the families go through the next steps to plan a funeral deal with the body and other items that need to be done. This is a very difficult time and it is an honor to be part of this process.