Beloit police raising funds for more chaplains
Chaplains often help police notify citizens of deaths of loved ones
Beloit police are raising money to expand their police chaplain program and add more chaplains.
Police chaplains often meet people on the worst day of their lives, and they provide their help for free. They mostly help police notify citizens of the deaths of loved ones.
"As a clergy person, you have a church with walls. And as a chaplain, it's a church without walls," said William Wagner, who has been a police chaplain since 1987.
Armed with compassion, chaplains are the people many turn to at their darkest hour.
"With death notifications, no two are the same. And no matter how many you've done, they don't get any easier," Wagner said.
Sgt. Dan Molland said the Beloit Police Department has six active chaplains.
"There's no money in our budget for training our police chaplains right now," Molland said.
Chaplains are provided with a uniform and use of a vehicle, but budget restraints force officers to raise funds for chaplain training.
"Religion can be a very touchy subject, so the training provides them the opportunity and tools to help someone in their time of need," Molland said.
Chaplains also provide support to officers and their families.
"Chaplains ride along quite frequently and, in doing so, they're able to talk to them one on one," Molland said.
Wagner said knowing he's making a difference is all the pay he needs.
Beloit Police Department officials said they hope to expand the role of the chaplains to include programs on suicide prevention.
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