Police Chaplain Expansion

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- Patrolling Boone County streets may not be as action packed as other forms of police work. But it certainly has its nights and nights even the toughest find impossible to shake.

"Just before we got there, a young boy ran out into the street to get a ball and was hit by a car," says Sgt. Dan Reid.

Sgt. Reid tried saving his life. But it was too late.

"It was a very, very troubling experience especially because I have children and had children that age."

Winnebago County Chaplain Rev. Randy Young just happened to be in the squad car at the time for chaplaincy training. Later talking to him helped Sgt. Reid cope with that tragedy and other stresses that come with the job.

"You want to have somebody that is stable minded, that is not at work completely stressed out, troubled in the mind, unable to make good sound decisions," says Reid.

Reverend Young is helping them through the Northern Illinois Law Enforcement Chaplains. A new program that's now expanding to police agencies that don't offer chaplaincy services.

"They're going to scenes where people are experiencing a tragedy, destruction, a law has been broken and they have to deal with those people and that stress gets dumped upon them and sometimes they need an outlet to get rid of that stress," says Rev. Young.

Young decided to pursue chaplaincy when his infant daughter died 12 years ago. It was a natural transition since his dad was a long-time Loves Park cop.

"To know the stresses that he came home with and how that affected our family is something I want to help these officers and their families deal with," says Rev. Young.

Few studies have been done on how the stresses of police work affect officers' mental health. However there is a long-term study underway at the University of Buffalo. Most in law enforcement will tell you they don't need the results to know how they're impacted by the job.

"Sometimes I think when I get frustrated by situations, I can tend to bring that frustration home," says Sgt. Reid.

Sgt. Reid shares many work or "war" stories with his wife. But the ones that could frighten her, stay confidential with Chaplain Young.

Chaplains do not replace psychologists and respond more so in the early stages. Reverend Young tells 23 News religion is not part of being a police chaplain, unless the officer wants it to be. His job is completely funded by donations. They can be sent to...

NILEC- Criminal Justice Center
Chaplain Randy J. Young
Sheriff's Administration
650 W. State St.
Rockford, IL 61102

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  • by Pam on Dec 13, 2011 at 05:30 AM
    Thanks SgtDan! You do us proud!
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