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Friday, February 20, 2015

An Insider's View of Channel 13 WTHR's "Nightbeat" story, "Minister with a Badge" by Andrea Morehead (originally aired 02/19/2015)

by Jeffery Wolfe, Indianapolis, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015


Yesterday, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Chief Richard Hite held a press conference where he highlighted not only the successes which IMPD had in 2014 resulting in the arrests of some of the worst criminal offenders in Indianapolis, but spent a significant amount of time showing that IMPD is not just concerned about arrests, but those whom they arrest.   Expanding on a number of programs designed to support their officers through police shootings, to early on set of stress and in some cases PTSD with its officers and how a number of programs are designed to be there to support our fine men men and women in blue.   Chief Hite also had a number of individuals speak at the press conference on a number of programs and initiatives designed to help not only its IMPD Officers, their families and IMPD staff and their families, but also those victims of violent crimes and their families.

Chief Hite also asked paid Staff Chaplain David Coatie at the press conference yesterday at 1pm to say a few words about his Chaplain team and how they try to make a difference not only in the lives of our officers, but also the entire administrative and support staff of IMPD as well as the victims and victims families of violent crimes.   Chaplain Coatie's team is composed of an ecumenical cadre of men and women ministers, pastors, priests, and rabbis who volunteer their time and talent to help achieve this important work as volunteer chaplains.  But don't let the word "volunteer" fool you.  These men and women are anything but ordinary volunteers.   All were screened from hundreds of candidates of some of the top ministers, pastors, priests, and rabbis in the City of Indianapolis.

But it doesn't stop there. Once Candidates are weeded out based on their resume and their references and finally offered the position of '"volunteer chaplain", their work training just begins. These final candidates go through a rigorous vetting process by a "hiring board" of the Command Staff of IMPD and its this "board" which actually gives the final approval for these final candidates.  Then their training begins.   IMPD treats these "volunteer chaplains" the same as they do their paid staff. A rigorous training program is a time when these men and women volunteer chaplains go through an intense training program designed by Chaplain Coatie. They are required to join the International Conference of Professional Chaplains (http://icpc4cops.org) and enter their intense training program for credentials as "professional chaplains. But Chaplain Coatie won't take the credit.  He adamantly points out that Indianapolis has one of the top chaplain programs in the country for two reasons: 1) the work they do is entirely supported and encouraged by Chief
HIte and his entire Command staff; and, 2) because of the incredible work of Chaplain Coatie's predecessors like Chaplain Philip Bacon, Chaplain Rick Kassel, et.al.,  who were staff Chaplains for as much as 30 years for IMPD , whom have literally wrote the book on current Law Enforcement Chaplaincy and whose model of IMPD is an example to which many other police departments from around the country look to for making positive changes in their own Chaplain programs.  

And don't think "volunteer" means these ordained ministers, pastors, priests, and rabbis are "part-time volunteers".  Many have put in as much as 180 hours of logged time in just three weeks (that roughly 60 hours per week to do justice to the role they fill as "IMPD Chaplains").   Many are usually supported through their local and/or national churches, Some are supported through their retirement savings.  Some are in the unique position where their spouses become the bread winners for their respective homes so that these dedicated men and women of G-d can do the work of an IMPD chaplain.  

The week, Andrea Morehead on Channel 13 WTHR's Nightbeat highlighted this important and often invisible work of IMPD to its officers, staff, ,their respective families, and the victims of violent crimes and their families.  Its been invisible for the most part because these volunteer ordained men and women of G-d are doing the work of an IMPD Chaplain volunteer not for status, nor ego, nor fame, nor even recognition.  All of them didn't choose to be volunteers for the IMPD Chaplain program. If you ask each of them, the will tell you that its a "calling" into this specialized and often unnoticed but very important work.  The are men and women are dedicated to make a difference in the lives of IMPD officers, staff and victims of violent crimes. 

Last night, WTHR's "Nightbeat" highlighted this work they do through through following some of these chaplains as they go through a typical day.   Chaplain Coatie would tell you that the training which these ordained ministers pastors, priests and rabbis is tough, but its one of the best training programs in police chaplaincy.  Below is video form Channel 13, WTHR's Nightbeat of IMPD's Chaplain program and Staff Chaplain's team and the daily grind of good works these men and women of God accomplish each day.  Being an IMPD Chaplain and the work which that it entails would be challenging even if these Chaplains were paid - but they are not - a job that would make most "full-time paid staff Chaplains" running back to church or parish ministry. These volunteers stick it out because 1) it is their calling;and 2) they each have a servant heart whose sole purpose to literally and simply be ministers, pastors, priests and rabbis; and, 3) the entire Chaplaincy Team views the men and women in blue, the support staff for IMPD, and the Victims and their families violent crimes as their own congregation, church, temple and/or parish.

Here is "Minister with a Badge", Part I, by Channel 13 WTHR's Nightbeat story Andrea Morehead. for this week.  Part II of "Minister with a Badge" will air on Channel 13, WTHR's will show yet another side of this incredible. Check out this incredible story and watch next week for Part II of this story "Minister with a Badge" on Channel 13 WTHR's "Nightbeat" by Andrea Morehead.


*photos and video courtesy of WTHR Channel 13.  All Rights are reserved to WTHR Channel 13. (c) 2015, WTHR Channel 13. _______________________

Rev Bro Jeffery Wolfe, OSFC is currently a "Chaplain Candidate" with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and is currently going through the vetting process which takes two (2) to five (5) weeks to complete for qualified individuals applying to be part of IMPD's Volunteer Chaplain Program.   Bro Jeff is currently in self-study training for Law Enforcement Chaplaincy and recently became a Board-Certifed Disaster Response Chaplain with the United States Emergency Services Chaplain Corps. (http://www.fb.com/usescc), a national Chaplain Response team avaiable for deployment after a natural, man-made or technical disaster.  Bro Jeff is also in the process of applying to the International Conference of Police Chaplains (http://www.icpc4cops.org) as a Liaison member and beginning their Credentialing Program to become a Certified Chaplain.

In addition, Rev. Brother Jeff Wolfe, OFSC is of St John XXIII Catholic Church in Indianapolis, IN. It was founded April 4, 2011 in Indianapolis on the East-side in Irvington. Bro Jeff serves Indianapolis by offering a Progressive, Vatican II Independent Catholic parish which offers communion, hospital visitation, shut-in visitation, prayer groups, RCIA, weddings and funerals, and other traditional liturgies associated with Catholicism. You can reach Bro Jeff through the website for St John XXIII Catholic Church - UACC or through Skype (user ID:  rev_jwolfe).  Follow Bro Jeff on Twitter @RevJeffWolfe.

Rev. Brother Jeffery Wolfe, OSFC is the Executive Director and a member of the Board of Directors for The Kristen Center, a faith-based not-for-profit community based organization dedicated to providing programs and services to those with HIV and those who care for them. Currently The Kristen Center offers targeted, customized HIV Support Groups for: Newly Diagnosed; Long Term Survivors; Family & Caregivers of those with HIV; and, Women with HIV. HIV Prevention programs are an essential core element of the services offered by The Kristen Center. You can learn more about The Kristen Center by going to http://www.thekristencenter.com/ or by checking out its Facebook Page at http://www.fb.com/TheKristenCenter or visit their Twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/kristencenter.