Certification Program for Police Chaplains
One of the Canadian Police Chaplain Association (CPCA) goals as a professional organization is to establish a certification program for police chaplains.
This basic certification would mean that anyone who holds it would have a certain amount of basic training in a number of key areas and fields that allows the chaplain to be a more effective and professional person when dealing with the members of the police community.
It was in February of 1982 at the FBI Academy that the idea of a certification programme was hatched. Before the evening was over, the then president of the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC), Charlie Massey, appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Chaplain Dr. Howard Shockley of Asheville, North Carolina, to develop and establish such a programme. Several years later the fruits of that meeting became a reality. The ICPC basic programme is now recognized in a number of colleges and police academies throughout the USA.
The CPCA committee felt there was no need for us to re-invent the wheel, just put a snow tire on it. There are differences in policing north of the 49th parallel that would suggest some alterations to the programme, but the basics of ministry to police officers remains the same.
If you have the basic certification from the ICPC, a CPCA certificate will be forthcoming. They have recognized our training at our Annual Training Seminar (ATS) for a number of years.
Certification is open to all police chaplains whether they are members of the CPCA or not. However, there will be a cost of certification for those who are not members of the CPCA. Members of the CPCA will receive their certification at no cost financially.
Training in these fields can be done anywhere. It does not have to be done through the CPCA or the ICPC. Many of you have CISD, Suicide intervention and other such applicable training in your backgrounds. There is no need to do it over again.
It is hoped that each ATS will offer several of the core courses and offer ones that are essentially not available elsewhere.
You will be asked to send copies of courses which you have taken in the past and documentation of other equally incredible achievements so that they may be recorded on your file. When all course requirements have been met then a letter of recommendation for certification from the department you serve will be requested.
The ICPC at the present is offering both a Senior and a Master certification. It is not our intention to get that deeply involved at this point of time. However, that is not to say it will not happen in the future. Those higher levels of certification are available to each of you through the ICPC.
For basic certification a person must have served a police department satisfactorily for a minimum of two years, have the blessing of their ecclesiastical authority and have received training in the following core areas:
- OFFICER INJURY AND DEATH: To identify, define and address the issues of officer injury and death, the unique implications associated with the law enforcement community, and the strategies for chaplains to provide assistance during such instances.
- POLICE OFFICER BURNOUT: To identify, define and address the symptoms of burnout in the law enforcement community.
- STRESS MANAGEMENT: To identify, define and address the issues of stress, especially as it relates to law enforcement and have a knowledge of specific strategies for dealing with it.
- CISD & PTSD: To identify, define and address the issues related to critical incident stress management and to have an understanding of what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is.
- RESPONDING TO CRISIS: To identify define and address what a chaplain needs to know and do when called to a crisis scene, including understanding basic crisis intervention techniques. Also includes basic introduction into the role of a chaplain in hostage negotiations.
- SUICIDE INTERVENTION & DEALING WITH SUICIDE: To identify, define and address the nature of law enforcement suicide, its unique implications and strategies for prevention and response.
- THE ROLE OF THE CHAPLAIN: To identify, define and address the Dos and DON'Ts of being a chaplain to the law enforcement community.
- NOTIFICATION OF NEXT OF KIN: To identify, define and address the responsibilities that are part of making a death notification.
- ECUMENICAL MINISTRY: To identify, define and address the need for understanding of other’s backgrounds, beliefs, and perspective, particularly as applied in the context of law enforcement.
- ETHICS: To identify, define and address the ethical responsibilities and demands placed on individuals associated with the law enforcement community.
- LIABILITY & CONFIDENTIALITY: To identify, define and address the legal and ethical responsibilities of serving as a chaplain and a confidant in a police department
- THE POLICE FAMILY: To identify, define and address the unique responsibilities and demands of families in the law enforcement community.
- SUBSTANCE ABUSE: To identify, define and address the issue of substance abuse and its impact on the law enforcement community.
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