New Crown Point police chaplain Mark Wilkins, senior pastor at the First United Methodist Church, is sworn in by Mayor Dave Uran. | Photo provided
Updated: August 20, 2013 12:40PM
CROWN POINT — On Aug. 14 the Board of Public Works and Safety approved a new policy for the city Police Department establishing a Police Chaplain Program.
Chief Pete Land explained that in the past they used chaplains occasionally, but never had a formalized policy. This now sets forth a legal policy for the position and what qualifications the person sworn in must possess.
Reverend Mark Wilkins, senior pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Crown Point, was chosen as the first chaplain to be appointed under this new policy.
Wilkins was sworn-in by Mayor Dave Uran, who handed the new chaplain his badge and ID.
The new chaplain has a certification in Police Chaplaincy through the Indiana Police Chaplain’s Association. He has been a volunteer Police Chaplain for the Cedar Lake and Schererville police departments as well as the Lake County Coroner’s Office.
He was born and raised in Merrillville and graduated from Merrillville High School and is a 1992 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Divinity, where he earned his master’s degree in 1995.
He was ordained in the United Methodist Church and has served in five different churches. He has been at First United Methodist Church in Crown Point since 2007.
The duties of the police chaplain are to provide assistance to department members, their families and the community in crisis or emergency situations.
The Chaplain Unit is part of the Administrative Division, and shall have direct access to the Chief of Police and or Deputy Chief on all matters regarding the spiritual and moral welfare of the department. The chaplain will serve as a volunteer and will be a non-sworn officer of the department.
The duties of the chaplain include serving the needs of the department members, giving counsel or make referrals to aid department members or their families.
They shall go with department personnel in making notifications to the families of department members who have been seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. They may also be called to assist officers in family notifications involving serious bodily injuries or deaths.