Pastors and lay people volunteer to assist Elkhart County Sheriff's Office deputies in a number of ways, most noticeably when notifications must be made to family when a traffic crash or criminal incident has resulted in a fatality. These trained professionals also help officers cope with stress during critical, emergency situations with compassion and consideration of people of all beliefs.
To participate in the program, chaplains must have five years of ministry experience and have the endorsement of their church or congregation. Participants must be compassionate and considerate to people of all beliefs, and have flexibility in their schedules to accommodate an on-call status. Chaplains are required to attend training throughout the year and the Sheriff's Office supports the volunteer group by covering the costs associated with memberships and training.
Chaplains also are relied upon to give assistance to employees at times when personal, family or medical issues are becoming stressful.