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Lower Township Police Announce New Police Chaplains Program

Lower Township Police Announce New Police Chaplains Program

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The Lower Township Police Department recently formalized and improved its previous Police Chaplains Program. The Executive Officer, Captain Kevin Lewis, spearheaded this endeavor.

Four new police chaplains were sworn-in August 2021 by Mayor Frank Sippel: Pastor Tim West, Pastor Glenn Scheyhing, Pastor Leo Dodd and Pastor Scott Durbin.

On May 3, the Lower Township Mayor and Council approved/adopted the formal establishment of the Lower Township Police Chaplain Program by Ordinance #2021-09, which went into effect May 23. The ordinance established the position of chaplain, in accordance with Title 40A:14-141, as a volunteer position. Furthermore, all appointed chaplains shall be required to be an ordained clergyman in good standing. Police chaplains are required to be formally trained and certified. They are also required to be credentialed in accordance with Lower Township Police rules and regulations. Their duties include, but are not limited to, assisting the Police Department in death notifications, station house adjustments, bias incidents, critical incident response, and any other duties that may be assigned by the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police will appoint chaplains to a one-year term pending re-appointment or termination, at the end of each year. The Lower Township mayor is the appointing authority in accordance with the above ordinance and consent of Township Council.

Effective this past July 22 by General Order, the Lower Township Police Chaplains Corps Program was formerly established at the direction of Police Chief William Priole. This order requires an assigned liaison officer from the police department to assist the chief in monitoring this program. Captain Kevin Lewis is currently assigned this additional duty. The general order also identifies other possible use of the chaplains to officiate weddings, counsel employees experiencing personal problems at the employee’s request, attend funerals/viewings of officers, retirees and their families, attend and officiate at city events as appropriate, participate in police ride alongs, assist in managing stress, suicide awareness and domestic violence assistance. The faith-based leaders will perform tasks of a more emotional, social, or spiritual nature. Chaplains are here to provide appropriate assistance, advice, comfort, counsel and referrals to those in need who may request support.

We are proud to announce that the four new chaplains have met the rigorous requirements of a formal application, full background check, completed a six-prong training and orientation process, swore an oath of office, and completed a 10-tier basic training certification process. Each year one of the chaplains will serve as the Senior Chaplain, which currently has been assigned to Pastor Tim West.

The Township of Lower and the Police Department looks forward to collaborating with the police chaplains in an effort to best serve our local community.

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