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Police officers turn to chaplains for healing and comfort

Police officers turn to chaplains for healing and comfort. (KPTM)

PAPILLION, Neb. (KPTM) - Papillion Police Chief Scott Lyons was devastated when he learned his father, a law enforcement officer, had been shot. Lyons was just 4 years old at the time.

"I remember the impact of the telephone call when my mom got that telephone call," said Lyons.

His father survived, but the memories keep coming back.

"You remember the sights and sounds."

When Lyons found out two police officers were killed in Iowa this week, it was a painful reminder of how dangerous the job can be.

"It's easy to get right back into that moment."

When disaster strikes, officers now have someone they can turn to for help.

"We work with them, kind of side by side," said Roger Criser, a police chaplain.

Criser has served as a chaplain to local police departments for more than 20 years. It's his job to be there when an officer needs him.

"They can unload what they're thinking and kind of take apart their feelings and things like that," said Criser. "It gives us an opportunity to listen."

Whatever the officer shares is kept private. For some officers, chaplains are the most trusted source of healing and comfort.

"They will not seek out counseling in other ways, but they will talk to a police pastor, because that pastor showed up at training, he's been in my car, and I have a personal relationship with him," said Lyons.

It's not just police officers who can use a chaplain, either; the spouse of an officer also has access to that same chaplain.

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