Ride-Alongs Are the Most Vital Part of a Chaplain's Ministry 

Here are some suggestions!

The Chaplain as a Ride-Along Asset

  • To establish a relationship with the officer in the squad car.
  • Must be faithful to the calls as a chaplain.
  • Academy is 26 weeks.
  • Probation can be up to 2 years.
  • After 6 months the officer begins to develop a them and us mentality, a little badge heavy.
  • Officers can develop a bad attitude from bad experiences.
  • Not there to preach to them, but an aid and encourage.
  • We want to be an aid.

The Program

  • The ministry to the officer, how can we be an asset.
  • A Chaplain’s assignment is to become a valuable resource to the department personnel.
  • This is accomplished by ride-along with deputies on duty, and by visitation to the station on regular basis.
  • The Chaplain is required to ride-along one shift per month as a minimum, perhaps a 10 hour shift.

Arranging for a Ride-Along

  • The ride-along should be pre-arranged with the Watch Commander.
  • The ride-along will be the discretion of the Watch Commander.
  • Assignment of police/deputy is at discretion of the Watch Commander.

Things the Chaplain should know:

  • Mindset of an officer.
  • Daily stressors for officers.
  • What is a deputy looking for in a Chaplain.
  • Know the Why for your ministry.
  • Do’s and Don’ts for ride-along.
  • Self-preservation tactics.

Questions to Ask on a Ride Along:

  •  How long have you been a police officer?
  • How did you ever decide to get into this line of work?
  • What do you enjoy best about police work?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where your life was in danger?
  • What is the worst situation you have seen?
  • Are you married and have children?

Mindset of an Officer:

  • Typically a young adult.
  • Very altruistic, looking to improve the world and really make a difference.
  • Marries just before becoming a deputy, or soon thereafter.
  • 60% to 82% of those marriages will end in divorce within first 3 years.

Daily Stressors on a Deputy:

  •  Daily faced with the extremes of life.
  • The negatives of society.
  • Jail has a revolving door. People are put into jail and are out before the report    is done.
  • Limited promotional opportunity.
  • Very stressful-stressed over not passing the tests for promotion.
  • We need to know when the officer taking test.
  • Let the officer blow off steam
  • Terrible media coverage.
  • Fear of someone video taping the officer.
  • Paranoia begins to develop after about 2 years and you begin to isolate yourself from other people except for follow officers.
  • The Us against Them mentality.
  • In Grouping occurs. Choir Practice-going to the bar.
  • Their 35, an affair with fellow officers.
  • Shift work isn’t even for the birds!
  • Shift work – 10 hours shift.
  • A lot of stress on a family – no time to be with family.
  • Cynicism sets in, a combination of all the above.

What Officers Look For in a Chaplain:

  •  A bridge back – a humanizing element
  • Looking for credibility
  • Confidentiality-everything stops here.
  • Professional
  • Presence-need to see your face, be at the station much as possible, give them the idea you are there all the time.
  • Attend their briefing.
  • An Example

Know the “Why” of Your Ministry:

  •  Be there for the right reasons.
  • God has called you to do this.
  • Absolutely no wanna be cops.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Pray for God’s WisdomProv. 3:6
  • Be accountable to someone, perhaps another chaplain.

Do’s and Don’ts for Ride-Along


  • Forget to pray before you go out.
  • Bring any type of weapon
  • Pretend to know the deputy’s job
  • Get out of the vehicle unless instructed to.
  • Give your opinion
  • Talk to the public-point to officer
  • Dominate the conversation
  • Forget to thank the officer-send thank you notes.
  • Forget the issues to add to your prayer list for the officer his/her family.


  • Remember to pray before going out.
  • Be a Godly example in conduct and speech.
  • Let the deputy bring up Religion – not you.
  • Remember you are a guest – wait to be invited.
  • Be someone who is safe to confide in.
  • Be informed of safety issues it keep from jeopardizing the officer’s safety.
  • Know radio procedures.
  • Learn the 10-code and other codes.
  • Know where you are at all times.
  • Be a positive addition to the team.
  • Anticipate being tested by the deputy.

Self-preservation Tactics:

  • You are your best protection.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open.
  • Always know exactly where you are.
  • Know emergency radio procedures.
  • Always wear body armor.
  • Don’t get in harm’s way.
  • Stay on condition yellow alert.
  • Be the kind of partner that will get you invited back again.
  • Be an asset on that ride-along.

Your duty bag:

Sgt Comforting a Citizen in time of Crisis
Sgt Comforting a Citizen in time of Crisis
  • List of Penal codes.
  • Spanish for Cops.
  • CPR mask.
  • Rubber Gloves: 2 pairs
  • Chap Stick.
  • Sun Block.
  • Sun Glasses.
  • Emergency medications.
  • Tablet to write on.
  • Pen.
  • Penlight flashlight.
  • Book to read.
  • Small religious book
  • Other practices.
  • Death handouts
  • Cash & Change.
  • No Weapons.

What To Wear:

  • Body Armor (two “T” shirts underneath help).
  • Class “A” uniform – Neat, Clean & Pressed.
  • Black “Chaplain jacket” correctly marked.
  • Boots.
  • Belt with:
  1. Flashlight holder.
  2. H T holder.
  3. Rubber gloves & CPR mask.
  4. Pager, if necessary (on vibrate only).
  5. Cell Phone, if necessary (on vibrate only).

What to ask for at station:

  • Is there an extra “H T” that I can take along?
  • Is there a spare set of car keys I can take along?
  • Be sure to “log in” your H T with dispatch before going on duty.


Chaplain Bob Keller, Pomona Police Department
Chaplain Bob Keller, Pomona Police Department


You can learn more about the "Ride Along" program by clicking www.ipministries.org