The McPherson police chief and two local pastors are starting a new program to put chaplains in squad cars.
The idea is for the pastors to do regular ride-alongs with all the department's officers. There's no set agenda other than basic relationship building.
The hope is that the pastors will be there for officers to talk to on an informal basis when something's bothering them. And they'll be available to help in high stress, high emotion situations like death notifications.
"There's not really any training for it. But I do think there's a heart that most pastors have and a calling that they have and grace that God gives that, you know, allows us to really help in that situation," said Pastor Martin Coon of the King's Hiway Baptist Church in McPherson.
"I think it's great," said Lt. Jerry Montagne, a 29 year veteran on the McPherson police force. "I really wish we had had it several years ago. An individual did commit suicide and we had to tell family members and it would have been nice to have somebody there with a religious faith background."
Currently only Pastor Coon and his colleague, Pastor Dick Reynolds of the First Presbyterian Church, are participating in the program. Once it gets final approval though several other pastors are expected to join the program as auxiliary members.
The department is still working on the procedures manual for the chaplains. Organizers hope to finish it by the end of the year. That would make the ride-along program official in January.