The mission of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Chaplains Division is to promote the availability of chaplains to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of the sheriffs’ employees, their families and members of the community.
It has been proven that the law enforcement profession is both emotionally challenging and physically dangerous. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Chaplains’ Division is part of a state-wide strategy for equipping an effective and efficient law enforcement chaplaincy response team.
Chaplains serve the entire sheriff’s office, from uniform patrol to special operations units. They specialize in caring for the unique needs of the law enforcement family, providing services such as:
· Spiritual Counseling
· Death Notification
· Post-Shooting Counseling
· Disaster Response Teams
· Family Relationship Enhancement
· Memorial Services
· Post-Traumatic Stress Counseling
· Professional Referrals
All counseling services provided by the GSA Chaplains are
Law Enforcement Chaplaincy is a Called Ministry
Serving as a chaplain for law enforcement officers is a called ministry. It is not for every pastor or layperson, but for those who have a heart for the men and women in uniform. Those who are called to protect society are a closed and close-knit family. They face the evils of the world with which the public cannot identify. The chaplain’s role becomes a ministry of presence to let the sheriffs and their staff know that someone cares, someone is there for them without passing judgment, and someone is praying for them.
Ready to Stand
Law enforcement chaplains must arm themselves with the knowledge they will need to stand and be prepared for situations that arise on a daily basis in the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement agencies. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Chaplains’ Division offers basic and advanced certification training programs to prepare chaplains to minister to the staff of the sheriff’s office. Each year, chaplains from all over the state meet to hone their skills and learn how to become an asset to the office or agency they serve.
Requirements to Become a Member of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Chaplains’ Division
Any person being duly selected by the sheriff of any county in the State of Georgia may become a probationary member of this Division and he or she may continue as a probation member subject to the payment of prescribed dues. He or she may reach full membership by obtaining religious endorsement and completing the basic certification. The annual dues of all members are $50 initially; $30 each year thereafter.
Law Enforcement Chaplain Professional Development
In 2011, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council dissolved the Voluntary Police Chaplain Certification. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association seized this opportunity to develop a credentialing program through the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Chaplains’ Division that allows the local sheriff/agency to determine the validity of the chaplain to serve based on specific requirements, and provide the opportunity for chaplains to develop professionally through specialized education.
Professional development opportunities for sheriffs’ chaplains include three levels, which are based on membership in the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association Chaplains’ Division, training requirements, years of experience as a law enforcement chaplain, and other requirements. These three levels include:
Georgia Sheriffs’ Law Enforcement Chaplain Basic Certification
An ordained or licensed member of the clergy engaged in the active ministry as a principal vocation for a minimum of two years or bi-vocational for four years can obtain a Georgia Sheriffs’ Law Enforcement Chaplain Basic Certification through the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association. Additional professional development opportunities are available, and encouraged.
- Authorization by the sheriff of your county or agency head
- Ordained or licensed member of the clergy
- Endorsement by your religious denomination
- Successful completion of 40 classroom hours of Chaplain’s Basic Certification Training
- Successful completion of an 8-hour CPR/First Aid course
- Completion of the GSA Application Packet for Georgia Sheriffs’ Law Enforcement Basic Chaplaincy Certification, approved by the sheriff or agency head
- Membership dues of $50 for the first year; $30 each ensuing year