Providing Police Chaplain Trainings – Promoting Mental and Emotional Wellness

Attorney General Brad Schimel
Thursday, April 5, 2018

Did you know a law enforcement officer is more likely to die of suicide than a line of duty death?


As attorney general, I was not going to accept this status quo, so I made it a priority of my administration to promote and better wellness, both physical and mental, in Wisconsin’s law enforcement community. First, we increased the number of training hours focused on stress management, financial stability, and healthy relationships. We also increased the hours of suicide prevention training in the recruit academy, and developed special training for law enforcement executives, in order to help them assist their officers in a time of need.


I also saw great value in providing more support to Wisconsin’s chaplains, who are critical in every community – to both law enforcement and crime victims.


Most recently, we hosted a Law Enforcement Chaplains Certification Program, the first state Attorney General’s office in the United States to do so. After attending a conference for police chaplains, I decided that Wisconsin needed its own training and certification program for police chaplains, so we can provide better support to our officers and communities.



Last month we provided trainings in Merrill and Pewaukee for chaplains and I had the honor of speaking with participants at the Pewaukee training.


The 12-course certification process, offered free of charge, is taught in four segments and is spread out over three days in the months of March, April, and May.


Chaplain training presentations were provided by Chaplains George Papachristou (Wisconsin State Patrol/Milwaukee Police Department), Mark Clements (La Crosse Police Department), Paul Pfeffer (Fond du Lac Police Department), and John Putnam (Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol). Topics at the training covered an intro to law enforcement chaplaincy, death notification, stress management and ceremonies and events, confidentiality and legal liability, substance abuse, ethics, suicide, responding to crisis, officer death and injury, law enforcement family, and sensitivity and diversity. The curriculum is based on standards established by the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC).


Wisconsin’s Law Enforcement Chaplains Certification Program is making a difference in communities, statewide. I am so proud of the work it has already accomplished, and my team and I look forward to continuing to make sure our officers are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.