The Dodge County Sheriff's Chaplain Program started in January of 2018 and consists of ministers from a wide variety of denominational and non-denominational churches in the county.
These ministers volunteer their time and serve as on-call Chaplains 24 hours a day to help with critical incidents across the county. They also assist patrol with ride-alongs, community events, and agency functions. This program is supervised by Dodge County Sergeant Shannon Boerner.
With every call, every day, law enforcement officers are faced with potentially dangerous life threatening situations. The officer may have to make split-second decisions that are just and right – but often times very difficult. Many times after these events take place, the officer has a need to express his or her frustrations and problems to someone who fully understands the circumstances of the law enforcement world. An officer may need to discuss his/her problems with someone who understands what (s)he is up against, yet is detached enough not to be emotionally involved or in a position that might affect the officer’s career.
“For law enforcement officers, trusting someone enough to confide in them about issues at work is probably one of the toughest things for us to do – we are supposed to be strong, non-emotional, and bullet proof.” Explains Sheriff Rose about the program. “We are supposed to be robot like when dealing with people in crisis. No one career, in my opinion, is confronted with more situations that can demoralize and create extreme emotional and mental burdens than law enforcement. This is another area where our Chaplain’s fill a really important role here!”
Today, more than ever, our local law enforcement agencies need a resource for guidance, counseling and assistance to the victims and community they serve, as well as their officers and their families. The Chaplains are not there to proselytize (unless asked for religious advice or guidance), just to be an understanding ear and provide support and guidance with an open heart and mind.
Here is an example of just a few areas where a Chaplain could assist:
• Participate in a ride-along program with patrol officers
• Respond to all major disasters such as fires, collapse of buildings, explosions, mass casualty events, unusual industrial accidents, and similar situations
• Assists officer with making death notifications
• Assist with suicide incidents
• Provide assistance to victims
• Serve as a member of the Crisis Response Team
• Visit sick and injured officers and departmental personnel at home or at the hospital
• Provide answers for religious questions (does not proselytize)
• Offers prayers at special occasions such as recruit graduations, award ceremonies, etc.
• Counsel members of the law enforcement community, sworn and non-sworn, as well as their families
Our current Chaplains are:
Bernie Lattner – FMC Chaplain
James Zotalis – St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Kasson
Jim Martin – Seventh-Day Adventist Church Dodge Center
Roger Langworthy – Praise Fellowship Church Dodge Center
John Todor – First Baptist Church Kasson
Rex Edge – Blooms of Love Dodge Center
Shari Edge – Blooms of Love Dodge Center
Tim Chase – Grace Lutheran Church Dodge Center
Peter Moen – Concord Church of Christ West Concord
The Chaplains meet monthly for training at the Sheriff’s Office in Mantorville.
For more information on how to donate to the program or become involved as a Chaplain, please contact Sergeant Shannon Boerner at 507-635-6200 or by email at Shannon.firstname.lastname@example.org.