Chaplains provide invaluable service in supporting police officers
Marge Hoskin – Quiet Corner Whispers
By MARGE HOSKIN
For The Norwich Bulletin
Posted May 13, 2008 @
Thursday is Peace Officers Memorial Day when U.S. flags are displayed at half-staff to honor federal, state and municipal officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.
The town of Plainfield’s Police Chaplain Corps honors those same officers every day by standing ready to meet the needs of the law enforcement community and those they serve. The corps’ five volunteer pastors from different faiths are headed by senior chaplain and founder of Plainfield’s chaplain corps, the Rev. Bill Hinckley.
Hinckley also directs the nonprofit Shields of Faith Ministries, which helps clergy and public safety departments form and manage chaplain programs in their own communities. The organization offers training programs with topics ranging from dispatcher stress to conflict resolution.
The Plainfield Chaplain Corps sponsors its sixth annual golf tournament Friday at Foster Country Club in Foster, R.I., where four-person play begins at Hinckley expects as many as 100 players to compete. Last year’s tournament was won by a foursome from the Plainfield Police Department.
Applications to play can be obtained from Hinckley by telephone or visit www.shieldsoffaithministries.us. The price, $95 per person or $350 per foursome, includes greens fees, cart, lunch, steak banquet and prizes. Funds raised by the tournament will be used for chaplain training, safety equipment and special programs such as Safe Kids, Plainfield’s child car seat program.
The first official recognition of chaplains by the American government occurred July 29, 1775, when the Continental Congress finally decided to pay the congregational ministers serving as chaplains under Gen. George Washington. Much later, chaplains affiliated with quasi-military organizations such as the police.
Hinckley drives around town in a black van that resembles a police vehicle. In a recent newsletter, he wrote, tongue in cheek, that the benefits of driving such a van include offers of free doughnuts and a reluctance of drivers following his vehicle on the highway to pass him.
In a more serious vein, “looking like a copy … isn’t necessarily a good idea,” he wrote, for he knows too well the dangers police face every day while protecting the rest of us. Marge Hoskin, a Quiet Corner native, is a retired naval officer. She is the former chairwoman of the Quinebaug-Shetucket Heritage Corridor Inc. board of directors and one of the founding members of the corridor. Her column appears every Tuesday. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org