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Chaplain Corps — Community Service at its Best

Helping Flower Mound residents in times of crisis is the goal of Chaplain Corps, a new program being implemented by the Flower Mound police and fire departments.

Kenneth Brooker, chief of Flower Mound police said the police and fire departments would work in conjunction with faith leaders throughout the community providing counseling and support to citizens in crisis situations.

"With the community growing as it is we have had the need several times this year to inform families in cases of serious accidents and fatalities," Brooker said. "Police officers are not always prepared or comfortable in that role. This is where the chaplains can assist officers and the community."

Brooker said Chaplain Corps would utilize the services of 19 faith leaders representing every religious organization in the town of Flower Mound. Chaplains from neighboring communities have also been enlisted to ensure that every recognized faith community is represented.

Flower Mound police sergeants Tim Jenkins and Ron Nottingham, both of whom are ordained ministers, will administer the program.

"The chaplains in the program will be on call any time there may be a need,” Jenkins said. "Counseling services for police and firefighters who sometimes go out to a traumatic scene and need someone to talk to will also be available."

Jenkins said the Chaplain Corps program will go into effect August 1, 2000, and the participants include a Rabbi, Catholic priest and Buddhist monk, reflecting the diversity of the community.

Rabbi Geoffrey Dennis of Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound will serve in the Chaplain Corps program.

"I've done crisis intervention before but never in a police or fire situation," Dennis said. "In the moments following a tragedy or crisis people don't always receive the spiritual or emotional support they need, which is critically important.”

Dennis believes the load on police and firefighters is doubled when they must also deal with the emotional aftermath of a crisis situation.

"My background as a registered nurse has taught me that the human need people have in times of crisis or death isn't always met," Dennis said. "It is a blessing when it is."

Pastor Phil Geleske, of Faith Lutheran Church in Flower Mound, sees the program as an extension of his congregation's mission to serve the community.

"The truth is whenever there is a real problem or life or death issue and there's no-one else to turn to, people turn to the police," Geleske said. "I think the police have a difficult job and this is a good opportunity to help the community."

Geleske believes that a population that is increasingly new to the area of Flower Mound, make this an even more important service.

Chaplain Corps hopes to provide emotional and/or spiritual support to victims and family members coping with trauma caused by criminal activity, sexual assault, traffic accidents, or in any special needs situation.

For further information on this program contact the Flower Mound police at 972-539-0525.

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