Chaplains provide service for law enforcement

Published 3:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Rev. Charlie Sankey, Sr. opened his Bible to Psalm 121 and began to read.

“I will lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”

“Look up and be blessed. All good and perfect things come from above,” Sankey said. “No matter what comes, never walk with your head down. Look up, for blessings are on the way. God is in the blessing business.”

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Sankey, a member of the Pike County Chaplains Association, led the devotional Tuesday morning at the Pike County Sheriff’s office at the Pike County Courthouse. The weekly Tuesday devotions are open to all county law enforcement officers and any workers at the courthouse who would like to attend.

The Rev. Ed Shirley, who is a member of the Pike County Chaplains Association, said the association was initiated by Sheriff Russell Thomas in October 2013.

“Sheriff Thomas recognized the need for such an organization and ministers throughout the county were very appreciative of the opportunity to serve our county in the role of chaplains,” Shirley said.

Thomas said he had no doubts the response from local ministers would be positive. He also knew the deputies in the Pike County Sheriff’s Department would be receptive to the idea and would greatly benefit from having a chaplains’ association in the county.

“There are times when deputies have to deliver death notices or notify families of an accident with serious injuries,” Thomas said. “In those situations, it’s good to have a chaplain on the scene to be with and comfort that family. Our chaplains are also available to visit the schools when there is a need. Any time there is a need, we have chaplains available and ready to respond.”

The chaplains lead a weekly devotional at the courthouse every Tuesday and that’s a great way to start the deputies’ and police officers’ day, their week, Thomas said.

“And, too, there are times when a deputy needs someone to talk to about a situation. They get to know our chaplains and feel comfortable talking with them. Another advantage of the chaplains’ association is that the chaplains are available to visit the jail if the need arises.”

Thomas said there are times when chaplains have consultations with inmates and also with the correctional officers.

“The chaplains are available at all times,” Thomas said. “All of our deputies have the chaplains’ cell phone numbers and it’s comforting for them to know that additional resources are available when needed.”

Thomas expressed appreciation to the chaplains who have become a part of the Pike County Sheriff’s Department family and the extended Pike County law enforcement family including the Troy, Brundidge and Troy University police departments. “We greatly appreciate the members of the Pike County Chaplains Association and their dedication and willingness to provide this service to our law enforcement agencies and all of Pike County.”

The Pike County Chaplains Association has 17 members who come from areas throughout the county. Information about becoming a member is available by call 1-334-735-3180. Being a minister is not a requirement to be a chaplain.