Mark Clements, who will serve as the next president of the International Conference of Police Chaplains, traveled from La Crosse, Wis., to participate in the training program. He said the chaplain program in the La Crosse area has grown to include other agencies since it was started in 2000.
Clements also described police chaplain work as a calling.
"I'm doing my best to help serve those who help us," he said. "I ask them, 'What can I do to assist you in the important and essential role you serve in our community?' If I can bring comfort to those who have been victims of a tragedy or (comfort to) one of our officers, then I have achieved my goal."
Clements said the chaplains in the La Crosse area are called once or twice a week. Menne described the calls in the Mankato area as "feast or famine." Sometimes there won't be any calls for a couple of months, then there will be a string of several calls in a few weeks.
Menne also makes regular visits to the Public Safety Center to visit with officers and firefighters. She wants to get to know them, build trust and let them know, especially after the worst types of incidents, that they are doing a valuable job.
"We're that sounding board," Menne said. "We're that safe sounding board. They do a tough job and sometimes they get a bad rap. We're their cheering team. We have to be their cheerleaders because sometimes the public isn't."