Police chaplains need more members

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — The Council Bluffs Police Department Chaplain Corps, which provides emotional support and spiritual guidance to officers in the western Iowa city, is looking for more members.

The corps met with police recruits Friday to spread the word about the program and their need for more chaplains, the Daily Nonpareil reported . Only three chaplains currently serve the department.

Lt. Dan Flores managed the chaplain program for nine years. Flores said a chaplain offers the police department support through non-denominational faith. He said a chaplain can help notify a family when someone has died or hold a ceremony.

“It means listening to officers and others about their concerns — to support and guide them,” Flores said.

Every chaplain currently working with the Council Bluffs Police Department has a formal background in a faith-based ministry. Sgt. Jill Knotek, the current chaplain liaison, said a member doesn’t have to be an ordained minister or of a certain denomination to become a chaplain.

“We welcome different faiths,” Knotek said. “It’s not about religion. It’s about being able to minister to someone.”

She said anyone interested shouldn’t worry about having completed training specific to being a police chaplain. Though, the program does look for individuals with a background in faith, Knotek said.