In 1997, Father Jim Stout (Church of the Ascension in Copperopolis) began working with members of the Sheriff’s Department Administration to develop a Sheriff’s Chaplains Program. Thanks to "Father Jim’s" dedication and generous donation of time plus the support of the Department’s Administration, the program has grown to several clergy-persons located throughout the County.
Volunteer chaplains are on-call 24 hours a day to respond to crisis situations, assist law enforcement personnel with death notifications and search and rescue operations. They are secular in purpose and are specifically trained to be crisis responders. As chaplains, they are to be “religiously neutral” and are in no way intended to, nor do they wish to replace an individual’s clergy-person.
The Chaplains are available to provide human support, spiritual guidance and/or confidential counseling to all members of the Department and their families. In conjunction with the Sheriff’s Department, chaplains are also available to serve the people of the community through a field service ministry. A chaplain may also choose to serve individuals or groups in a jail ministry.