Friday, September 24, 2021

City Council Honors Police and Fire Chaplains

Almost 10 years ago, Southlake Baptist Pastor Clayton Reed recognized a need to assist the Southlake Police and Fire Departments.  “I noticed these police officers were working all night by themselves, so I started riding out with them on their night shift.”

Two years ago, Reed expanded the program, as Southlake had a lot more officers on the Force.  He recruited local chaplains from all different churches so that he’d have one per shift.  By splitting up the chaplain duties, the individual chaplain could form more of a bond with officers.  They now ride out 2-3 times a month, sit in on details, and are available if an officer ever needs to get something off of their chest.  “They are completely committed to the officer,” Reed said.  “That way officers aren’t dealing with a stranger when tragedy strikes.”

Reed also had the foresight to assign a Chaplain to Southlake Police’s CID (Criminal Investigation Division).  While the initial responding officer might be a witness to tragedy, their time at the scene is limited.  The detectives in CID must then work the case for months on end, working with devastated families or reviewing horrifying documents to present to the court.

Southlake firefighters are watched over by Chaplain Ben Weiss.  He brings them lunches, sits with them in between calls, and is always a phone call away if they need him, twenty four hours a day.  “Ben is instrumental in connecting with our guys,” Fire Chief Starr said.  “He’s a part of our firefighters’ lives.”

Public safety is no doubt a stressful job.  Officers and firefighters answer death notification calls, see abuse of children and the elderly, and deal with near death experiences themselves.

“The most stressful thing in Public Safety is that you don’t know when something bad is going to happen…it’s not something you can prepare for,” councilman Shared Shafi said.  “Having a chaplain and the program Chaplain Reed has put together– it is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Last night, Mayor Hill and the City Council offered a sincere thank you to Chaplain Reed and his team.  Those recognized who have assisted our department and their church were as follows:

Ben Weiss, Grace Community Church, October 2011
Connie Thomas, Southlake Baptist Church, July 2016
Tolli Macalik, Whites Chapel UMC, August 2016
Marsia Van Wormer, Gateway Church, September 2016
Luke Cabrera, Hills Church, September 2016
Jeff Gary, Hills Church, September 2016
Kyle Roberson, Whites Chapel UMC, January 2018

“I just want to make sure our officers are as ok at the end of their shift as they are at the beginning of their shift,” Police Chief Brandon said.  “Pastor Reed and his chaplains definitely make that happen.”

A full video of the City Council meeting can be found here: