Busted Halo
googling god
The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

How does one become a chaplain for the police department?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

Funny you should ask.  I’ve been thinking of formally offering my services as a Chaplain to the Philly Police department now that I’m more settled in my new surroundings.  During the fifteen years I lived in Camden, NJ, I let police know they could ring the rectory door or phone anytime, especially after a stressful tour of duty.  There were a number of cops through the years who took me up on the offer.  Sometimes at 1:00 AM, there was no one else to talk with over a beer or a cup of coffee.  They knew it was better they come and chat with me before heading home.  They didn’t need professional counseling; just a sympathetic and listening ear to get them over a rough patch or sit with them while they shared about a bad day or night on the job.  Often it meant they didn’t “take the job home” with them.

Police work is hard and dangerous; temptations are multiple and insidious.  Members of Fire departments also face difficulties rarely experienced in other professions.  Clergy can partner with police and fire department members to anchor neighborhoods, especially in inner city situations.  The mutual support we extend one another blesses all involved.

One Jesuit in Philly is an official police chaplain besides his regular “day job” and has been urging me to do this for a while.  Your question got me off my duff and I contacted a Philly Cop friend.  He says the guy in charge of Catholic chaplains will be giving me a call.  Maybe I’ll get a badge and jacket!

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
See more articles by (103).
Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Rick Malloy, S.J.

    Phil, contact your local police force. Each law enforcement institution decides who can be a chaplain and what chaplains do. I do not know of any salaried chaplains. Many priests, pastors, rabbis, imams, etc, work with and for police as part of their regular pastoral duties.

  • phil

    The question wasn’t really answered…. I also am interested in becoming a law enforement chaplain after getting my ministry degree. How does one become one? Does a B.A. suffice or a Masters degree? Is there a salary? Does denomination matter? Please help give incite. Thanks! Soli Deo Gloria!

powered by the Paulists