The Jackson Police Department (JPD) recently completed its second Clergy Police Academy. Thus far, a total of 31 ministers from various denominations have participated in the spiritual ambassadors training program to accomplish five essential objectives:
1. Develop partnerships and foster advocacy within Jackson’s faith-based communities.
2. Expose faith leaders to the problems facing Jackson through the lens of JPD and other law enforcement partners.
3. Forge bonds with fellow public servants while encouraging increased participation with faith-based community in attacking Jackson’s challenges.
4. Acknowledge need for God’s guidance.
5. Expose clergy to opportunities as volunteer JPD chaplains.
Participating entities included, Hinds County Juvenile Detention Center, Hinds County Behavioral Health, JPD Crime Scene Investigation Unit, FBI, and JPD Traffic Unit.
Trainers also provided participants with field activities such as ride-alongs with JPD officers, time at the shooting gun range, and a tour of the Henley Young Patton Juvenile Detention Center.
Two Clergy Police Academy graduates, Minister Nancy Gaynor and Pastor Edward Harden, shared their thoughts on the program.
“The Clergy Police Academy was my first time engaging in this type of training, and it was most rewarding because I got to experience situations from the officer side verses the citizen side,” said Minister Gaynor, founder/director, Alternatives Do Matter second chance program.
“I was able to see how spiritual interventions can be utilized to deescalate volatile encounters that the police are called to handle. I look forward to being called upon to assist where I’m needed. I also want to let the public know that I will be available to act as a recruiter for other clergy who want to participate in the next clergy training class.”
Pastor Harden stated, “The Clergy Police Academy helped to humanize the work that the police do and how to better interact with the community with the assistance of spiritual advisors.”
For more information on the Clergy Police Academy, contact Sgt. Frederic Suttles with the Jackson Police Department at 601-960-2049.