After a car accident, during an attempted suicide, or after a violent crime leaves victims in shock, the Eau Claire Police Department relies on the volunteer services of their chaplains.
At a ceremony Thursday, three new members were added to the ranks.
After 32 hours of training, Rev. Debra Boynton of the Grace Lutheran Foundation, Rev. Laura Kelley, director of Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Educator at Luther Hospital and Rev. Mark Pirazzini, who serves as the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ, are now members of the department.
"It was a great way to get to know the people and also to really understand how things work in the ECPD and really how they serve the community," says Rev. Kelley. "It's amazing what all they do, so I'm proud to be here."
"We really have found they have done a tremendous job not only in dealing with the situation immediately, but following up with families or with officers who have seen traumatic situations," says Deputy Chief Gary Foster, who helped start the program in 1999.
The three will join the six members currently on staff.