Police chaplaincy programs have increased around the country in response to terrorism, mass shootings, the targeted killings of police officers and in response to sustained protests following officer involved shootings. In addition to serving as a resource to officers and their families, many jurisdictions have expanded their chaplaincy services to include death notification support, care for the community after disasters, accidents, terror events and to help protesters remain nonviolent.
Recently, in places like Ferguson, chaplains support officers and the community at the same time: While some clergy have captured headlines working closely with protesters and sometimes marching with them, other clergy members have quietly worked with officers on the front lines. Following unrest in Baltimore after officer involved shootings, their police chaplaincy program was expanded to support the community with a goal of 214 police dispatched chaplains serving their community.
The recommendations of the Department of Justice (Collaborative Reform Initiative: An Assessment of the San Francisco Police Department 2016) and the SFPD’s commitment to implement the recommendations of The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing (2015), point to a critical need for interfaith groups to participate in community policing initiatives. Adding a community focus to the SFPD Chaplaincy Program, provides invaluable opportunities for chaplains to neutrally listen to community feedback, to track and provide critical data on community outreach efforts and to bridge the communication gap between the SFPD and members of the community.
Community chaplaincy will only be a successful addition to the SFPD Chaplaincy if it is championed by the SFPD and political leaders in the area. Public funds provide a part-time salary for a chaplain coordinator, office space, background checks, trainings and uniforms for chaplains. Additional funding for the chaplaincy programs is raised by The Friends of the SFPD Chaplaincy, a non-profit organization.
The San Francisco Police Department Community Chaplaincy (SFPDCC) provides crisis intervention and community support during traumatic events, disaster and other times requested by First Responders.
Community Chaplains seek to lighten the burden of First Responders through care, concern and support in an unbiased manner by performing the tasks that have a greater spiritual or social nature.
Chaplains are from the communities they serve and are a resource to the First Responders.
Chaplains may be requested in the following manner:
A Chaplain is always on-call and informed of incidents by dispatch.
If individual First Responders have close working relations with certain Chaplains, a First Responder may call a certain Chaplain directly, if the Chaplain agrees.
If a First Responder is uncertain if a Chaplain should be requested, they will contact their supervisor.
Chaplains may be called upon for personal First Responder or family matters. Personnel may call upon any Chaplain without notice to other First Responder personnel.