Gloucester Township Police Department using faith to better serve community

Justin Udo
May 31, 2018 - 8:33 am
Gloucester Township Police Department community chaplains

Justin Udo-KYW Newsradio

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GLOUCESTER TWP., N.J. (KYW Newsradio) —  The Gloucester Township Police Department has introduced a new way to connect with the neighborhoods they serve. On Wednesday night Gloucester police kicked off their community chaplain program by introducing six community chaplains at the department, a program officials say is much needed.

"We have six chaplains that are going to be on on-call, volunteer basis, that are going to be able to respond to major incidents," Lt. Mark Benton with the GTPD said. The chaplains will be able to work with victims, families and communities to help in a way officers may not be able to.

"They are in a position where they can talk and get a connection," Benton said. "We can put a Band-Aid on a cut. The chaplain program is able to come in and go for that deeper pain, that injury we can't see. The trauma that a person has been through or seen or witnessed."

Benton says this new extension of their department will benefit the officers and help build bridges in the neighborhoods they serve.

"The ability to be able to help people in a time of need with anything is really what public servants are for," Benton said. "The police department is here to help people in a time of need."

Reverend Lynn Davis says she's happy to be part of this much-needed program.

"It's an amazing honor to be a part of helping our community as a supportive service to our police department," she said.

Pete Shoemaker, a newly minted chaplain with the department, has been a deacon at his church for more than four decades. He says it's an honor to be part of this program.

"This is a platform where we're able to go out and do what God intended us to do," Shoemaker said. "It's extraordinary to have a community that embraces this."

The chaplain program has leaders from various religions.