New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office chaplains attend rapid response emotional training
CASTLE HAYNE, N.C. (WECT) - Chaplains with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office attended the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Rapid Response training for law enforcement chaplains earlier this year.
According to Chief Chaplain Patrick Hall, Sheriff Ed McMahon hired him as a full-time chaplain last year to help with deputies’ emotional and spiritual side. The week-long training was at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Academy.
According to Hall, training began after seven police officers were killed in Florence, S.C. He said they learned more about what law enforcement sees on a daily basis and how it affects them and their families.
“The need is overwhelming (for help for officers), even in our town," Hall said. “We don’t realize when law enforcement officials go to the death of a child, they go to an accident where there is death involved, how many times they’ve seen that, how it affects them, their marriage, their home, their life."
Chaplains reach out to deputies involved in serious incidents like officer involved shootings. Hall said they send an email the day after an incident, one month later and six months later checking on the deputy.
In his three years as a chaplain for the NHCSO, Hall said he has seen more deputies utilize his services.
“It’s not like we all need deep psychological counseling," Hall said. “You just need a friend. You need someone to share with, someone to unload what you’re facing and someone to come alongside you and stand with you during these times.
“You may be good on one incident and then another incident happens ... and it weighs on you and it catches up with you. What we’d like to offer is the first time it happens, let’s unload it and talk to someone and not carry all of that."
The NHCSO has seven volunteer chaplains at the jail and one full-time chaplain. They also help prisoners and Hall said they’re hoping to get an emotional support dog soon.
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