Categorized | Local Perspectives

COMMUNITY VOICE: The Police Chaplain’s Corp

This letter is regarding the recent Mayoral debate at the Perth Amboy High School on October 18, 2012. As police chaplains and clergy it was extremely upsetting to sit in that audience and listen to these disturbing negative comments made regarding the department by both Miguel Morales and Billy Delgado. We would like to first clarify the truth about the Perth Amboy Police Chaplains Corp. We are a group of volunteer clergy members of various faiths who were sworn into the department to service the Perth Amboy Police Department as well as the people of this great city. We are approximately if not slightly above 70 members of the clergy. We had to go through an intense training on sensitivity and understanding when dealing with the police department and the community.

We provide ceremonial as well as hands on service to the community and department as there is need. In the past we have been able to provide spiritual comfort and counsel to individuals and families who have gone through difficulties such as grief, advocacy, community outreach and other resources that are within the local houses of worship that you would otherwise not have known existed, had it not been for the development of the Police Chaplains Corp. Due to our Police Chief Benjamin Ruiz and the department a special bond of peace within the community through the houses of worship has occurred. When a situation arises the houses of worship and clergy come together in prayer and service.

The Victory Bridge Prayer March on Suicide Awareness and Prevention was an amazing example of the community coming together to provide comfort to those families who suffered great loss. There are several other stories like this, however due to confidentiality we are unable to release that information.

I would like to however address the statement that was made regarding: t-shirts, hats and bullet proof vests. During our training in which we paid for by the way out-of-pocket $175.00 in order to become police chaplains; the non-profit organization International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) explained that we may need on occasion to ride with the police officers. In those cases some chaplains have placed their lives at risk. So an organization and not the City of Perth Amboy donated second hand/used bullet proof vests that are kept at Police Headquarters if a situation arises. The vests have never been used and chaplains have not gone out with the officers. The Police Chaplains Corp did receive jackets but the hats and shirts were purchased by the individual chaplains through the ICPC. Volunteering for the Police Chaplains Corp and providing this service to our department and community is not done for financial gain or gain of any kind. What we reap is satisfaction in knowing that we are able to say “today we were able to make a difference in someone’s life”. So to condemn a volunteer service is disturbing in every way.

There was a statement made by Billy Delgado that one of the police chaplains resigned due to political reasons. We have never received a resignation from any of the chaplains. So this statement is another fallacy. We have never used the Police Chaplains Corp in any political endorsement. However, we as private citizens we have the right to privately endorse whoever we may choose.

Would you condemn a volunteer fire department for wearing protective clothes in a fire? It is ludicrous that one would resort to such measures in order to gain votes. We can only pray that after the elections are over they will come to make peace with themselves and the Police Chaplains Corp.


Gregory Pabon, Deputy Commander Police Chaplains Corp

& Bernadette Falcon–Lopez, Police Chaplain

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