Pastor Sarah Daniels, left, is congratulated by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson after she was inducted as a police chaplain Thursday afternoon. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 5, 2014 9:00AM
GARY — Prayer, praise and faith buoyed a standing-room-only crowd Thursday as 12 new police chaplains were sworn in to their new duties at the Public Safety Facility.
Pastor Kevin Warren opened the hourlong program with a prayer, thanking God for providing “divine wisdom, divine patience, as we carry out our duties for the Gary Police Department.”
The expanded chaplain unit now has 20 members of various faiths who are available to counsel police officers and their families as well as victims and their families.
“Police deal with tragedy on a daily basis, whether it’s child abuse or homicide,” police Chief Wade Ingram said. He and various pastors have visited more than 60 families who have lost loved ones to violent crimes in the two-plus years since Ingram was named chief by Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.
Pastor Charles Emery charged his fellow chaplains with being aware of how they present themselves to the community, especially with the city’s youth who need good examples to follow. Emery said when a young man or woman is killed, talk of retaliation often surfaces.
“We must be willing to break that cycle,” he said. “It is a serious business being a police chaplain. We need to change the mind-set of our community. Police are not our enemies.”
The new chaplains are the Rev. Elnora Walters; Minister Gabrielle King, who is a police corporal and spokeswoman for the department; and Pastors De’Wan Bynum, Geraldine Dozier, Wanda Jackson, Sieon Roberts Sr., Edward Turner, Sarah Daniels, Clarence Harris, Vera Johnson, Leneire Lockett and Royce F. Thompson.
Community Services Cmdr. Kerry Rice is in charge of the chaplain program.