The Sheriff’s Chaplaincy Unit supports and complements the duties and services of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. While maintaining the high standards and ideals of the Sheriff’s Office, chaplains perform their services in a professional, humble manner, as they express empathy, dignity, and respect for all people and beliefs.
Sheriff’s Chaplains come from a wide variety of faith groups and backgrounds. They are clergy volunteers who are ordained, licensed, or approved members of different religious organizations. Although they serve in a secular setting, chaplains have the ability to provide spiritual guidance, and religious rites and practices when requested. All Sheriff’s Chaplains have completed Basic Chaplain Academy Training, and are approved through a California Department of Justice Personal Background and an FBI fingerprint investigation. Chaplains attend continuing education classes and are equipped to deal with physical trauma and emotional crisis care.
Sheriff’s Chaplains are available to deputies, correctional officers, their families, Sheriff’s Office staff and personnel, the community, and schools for emergency or on-scene calls on an around-the-clock basis.
Chaplains assist on-scene Deputies by working with individuals, families, or victims of crime during times of crisis or catastrophic events.
Sheriff’s Chaplains provide comfort and support for victims of tragedies or crimes such as, but not limited to, traffic accidents, homicides, suicides, attempted suicides, death of child, natural disasters, domestic violence, loss of home due to fire, runaways, child/elder abuse, sexual assault, natural death, drowning, industrial accidents, or missing persons.
Chaplains also provide emergency care, obtain food, shelter, meals, communication, transportation and referrals to local agencies and resources that may help in emergency situations. They perform funerals and support family members with aftercare, assist with and provide death notifications, and offer immediate and extended grief counseling. Chaplains initiate crisis care at emergency scenes for citizens, and professional rescuers, and provide critical incident stress debriefings. They will visit the ill or injured in hospitals or private homes, offer invocations, prayers, or benedictions at special events and ceremonies, and perform marriages for Sheriff’s Office personnel, family, and friends.
School Resource Chaplains maintain a presence on campus to develop a working relationship with staff, school psychologists, counselors, administrators, and primarily the students. The Chaplains help maintain a safe, healthy, and stable learning environment. They may provide short term crisis counseling after an incident that impacts students and/or staff.
Community Service Chaplains serve as liaisons with other clergy in the community and are often guest speakers at events. Community Service Chaplains meet with community leaders, clubs, service organizations, and with advocates for the needy, displaced, and homeless to insure quality of life for all. Their goal is to discover community service needs.
Patrol Chaplains attend Duty Watch briefings, and ride along with deputies on patrol as they take calls for service.
Chaplains are present in several venues such as: courts, dispatch, and special units such as Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (M.A.G.E.C.), Boating, Search and Rescue, Air Support Unit, and others.
Chaplains also support Correctional Officers and Sheriff’s Office staff in the Fresno County Adult Detention Facilities.