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Aug 06, 2015 | EDOT Staff

Clergy Finds Fulfillment in Police Chaplain Role


The Rev. Ted Smith, rector of St. Stephen’s, Liberty, serves as chaplain with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, a relationship which began because of his involvement in the Rotary Club and other community work.


The Rev. Ted Smith

“We host meetings and events that include city, county and state officials at the church,” Smith explained, “ and because of meeting the local sheriff here and through the Rotary, I was invited to attend the Citizens Police Academy.” The academy is a 13-week training that equips community volunteers to assist the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices in various areas. Smith completed the training and during his volunteering, had the opportunity to offer pastoral care to the deputies and civilian staff.


“A year ago, the sheriff invited me to join his agency as a chaplain,” Smith said. “I immediately joined the International Conference of Police Chaplains, the most respected law enforcement chaplains organization in the world.” He began taking other classes and reading books on police chaplaincy and most recently attended the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) 42nd Annual Training in Sacramento, California in July. Hundreds of police chaplains and law enforcement officers from around the world attended the training, which offered basic and advanced classes to maintain and increase accreditation levels.


“Law enforcement chaplaincy is fascinating,” Smith said. He most enjoys getting to know the deputies personally, riding patrol with them. Smith also assists deputies, victims or families of victims when called to an incident scene; works with deputies, staff and their families on personal issues, visits sick or injured agency personnel and “responds wherever needed,” he added.


The training he attended included stress management, death notification, officer suicide, disaster spiritual care, drug and alcohol abuse, dealing with the mentally ill, and much more. “Virtually everything I’m learning as a police chaplain crosses over into parish work, as well as my work in the larger community,” Smith said. He plans to earn a Master Chaplain certification eventually.