RADNOR, Pa. (CBS) – Two dozen men and women of the cloth spent a few days in Radnor this week, learning the difficult task of becoming police chaplains.
Between substance abuse, suicide, dealing with death in the line of duty and more, the stress of police work can take its toll.
Reverend Gary Holden, chaplain of the Vineland, New Jersey police department, trained the prospective police chaplains — mostly from Delaware County — on how they can help officers cope.
Holden founded the nonprofit Police Chaplain Program in 2011.
“We go into scenes, we do fatals, we do death notifications, we train our chaplains on how to do death notifications,” he explains, “things that a clergyperson might not always do — or have the opportunity to do.”
Basically the training session pulled no punches says Holden:
“We give them a number of things. We show a lot of videos, a lot of heavy videos — videos of cops being killed. We have a class on suicide. We get into a lot of heavy stuff because they need to be aware of that.”
Holden has also counseled officers in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore.
His program encourages clergy members to do ride-alongs with officers, to give them a better sensitivity to the realities of police life.