Police Chaplains Provide Support During Tragedy
A police chaplain is often one of the first calls a first responder makes when they deal with a family tragedy.
“We show up and sit with and listen to and care for the family until the next piece of their need arises,” said Pastor T. Michael Rock, Police Chaplain for Robbinsdale, Crystal and New Hope.
In addition to comforting families and assisting officers with death notices, chaplains perform other important duties.
“We serve as chaplain pastors to the officers,” stated Rock. “I’ve been privileged to be able to offer officer family baptisms and weddings, and just be with the officers and their transitions in their lives.”
Rock also gets called when tragedy strikes a community.
“If there’s some type of event that’s going to draw a crowd, the police will sometimes call the chaplains to come and just listen to the crowd to be a calming, non-anxious presence which allows the police to do their work,” explained Rock.
Chaplain Rock Trained In East Coast Tragedies
Rock attended seminary on the East Coast and was first introduced to chaplaincy work during the 1999 Egypt Air crash off the coast of Nantucket.
“There was a need for spiritual care people to be there for families who were coming into Rhode Island to retrieve bodies that were being discovered in the ocean,” said Rock.
Then 9/11 happened, and Rock served as a chaplain to first responders at Ground Zero.
“I was privileged to be part of that for several weekends,” stated Rock. “To be with firefighters and EMT folks who were searching for their friends and other people who had died in the World Trade Center.”
For the past sixteen years, Rock has been a minister at the Robbinsdale Parkway United Church of Christ. He practices a form of Christianity that believes all roads lead to heaven, something he feels is important when it comes to being an interfaith chaplain.
“People may be connected to their own faith tradition or no faith tradition, but we’re all spiritual beings living this human existence and we show up in that presence,” stated Rock.
Crystal | New Hope | Robbinsdale