Police Chaplain Corps

The Seal Beach Police Department enlists the ministerial services of those who would make counseling and pastoral services available to officers, their families, other departmental members, and citizens of this community through the Police Chaplain's Corps, whenever such services are requested.

What is a Police Chaplain? 

"No one is confronted with more situations that demoralize and create emotional, mental, and spiritual burdens than today's law enforcement officer. These burdens also affect the officer's family and other members of his or her department. Law enforcement agencies need the specialized guidance, counseling, and assistance that Police Chaplains can provide." …From the International Conference of Police Chaplains

A law enforcement chaplain is a clergy person with a passionate interest in, and the specialized training for pastoral care in the dangerous world of law enforcement. This pastoral care is offered to all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, creed, or religion. It is offered without cost or proselytizing.

The law enforcement chaplain is led in his or her own faith to be available and ready to serve those in need. The chaplain's ministry provides a source of strength to the law enforcement officers and their families, other department members, the community, and the incarcerated.

Chaplains listen and participate in the workplace of law enforcement officers with empathy and experience, advising calmly in the midst of turmoil and danger, and offering assistance when appropriate or requested.

What Does a Police Chaplain Do? 

The duties of the Police Chaplain may include, but are not limited to:

  • Riding along with officers on routine patrol on various shifts.
  • Accompanying a police officer to assist with notification of any suicide, death, or serious injury.
  • Working with police officers to assist in any kind of crisis where the presence of a trained chaplain might help.
  • Counseling Department members in response to stress or family crisis problems. Any such assistance will be privileged and confidential between the officer and chaplain involved.
  • Visiting with sick or injured members of the Department at their home or in the hospital.
  • Helping organize Department response to ceremonies for California officers killed in the line of duty.
  • Offering prayers at special occasions such as recruit graduations, award ceremonies, and dedications of buildings, etc.
  • Advising the Chief of Police in all matters of a religious nature involving the Police Department and performance of law enforcement duties in the community. Further, Chaplains shall act as liaison with local ministerial associations and on matters pertaining to the moral, spiritual, and religious welfare of police personnel.
  • Assisting the Police Department in the performance of appropriate ceremonial functions.
  • Assisting in the provision of planned, scheduled training to police personnel. Training may include orientation as a new employee, Academy training, roll call training, spouse orientation, etc.
  • Providing practical assistance to victims.
  • Assisting at suicide incidents.
  • Assistingwith specialized teams (Crisis Response, Hostage Negotiation, SWAT, etc.) only after the appropriate, specialized training.

Who Qualifies As a Police Chaplain? 

Chaplain applicants are subject to a background investigation prior to appointment.

  • The Chief of Police will appoint chaplains.
  • Chaplains must be ordained or licensed ministers in good standing in a recognized religious denomination or group.
  • Chaplains must be skilled in ministry and pastoral care.
  • Chaplains must maintain high spiritual and moral standards.
  • Chaplains must demonstrate a commitment to ministry with police officers.
  • Chaplains must become familiar with and accept the policies and procedures of the Chaplain's Program.
  • Chaplains must possess a valid California driver's license.
  • Chaplains will be furnished identification that will be displayed while performing duties as a police chaplain.

To join our Police Chaplain Corps, or for more info, please contact Senior Police Chaplain, Donald Shoemaker at dshoemaker@sealbeachca.gov .