The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 23, 2013

Police chaplains bring comfort

Mankato hosts chaplain training conference


Menne's day job is serving as a hospice chaplain for Allina Health in New Ulm. She lives in Mankato and has been a police chaplain since the current program started eight years ago. Maynard said there was an earlier version of the program that was started by Mayor Herb Mocol in 1989, but it faded away during the 1990s.

It's volunteer work, but Menne said it's worth her time because it's a way to serve police officers and the community. She described her service as a calling.

"Our job is to listen to people and provide them with any spiritual or emotional guidance they need," Menne said. "Our goal is to sit with them, hear their pain and walk with them."

Their work is appreciated. There have been several tragic events in the Mankato area during the past eight years. The chaplains have shown their value many times, said Matt Westermayer, deputy director for police.

"The chaplains have helped us out immensely since they've been implemented with our department," he said.

They help victims deal with a tragedy, which allows officers to focus on other jobs that need to be done at crime scenes, crashes and other incidents, he said. The chaplains are ordained ministers from a variety of faiths, but they are trained to work with people of all religious beliefs. They're also able to help those who aren't religious but need to talk.

"They also are a resource for our officers and firefighters who have been traumatized," Westermayer said.

Chaplains work closely with police officers and firefighters, building trust and providing confidential ways to work through personal matters. Those discussions can involve traumatic situations from work, problems at home, or issues they don't feel comfortable talking about with their bosses or spouses.

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