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 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Belt with:
- Flashlight holder.
- H T holder.
- Rubber gloves & CPR mask.
- Pager, if necessary (on vibrate only).
- 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.
EVERYONE COMES BACK ALIVE AT THE END OF THE SHIFT!!
You can learn more about the "Ride Along" program by clicking www.ipministries.org