The Salvation Army in Saskatchewan serves the RCMP

Categories: Prairie News

For first responders, exposure to harassment, violence and tragedy is part of the job. To protect its officers from psychological and spiritual toll, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) instituted a chaplaincy program.

Four Salvation Army officers from Saskatchewan are proud to serve as volunteer chaplains. Major Peter Eason, corps officer in Meadow Lake, says it feels like a natural extension of role in the community. “The RCMP and The Salvation Army tend to have working partnerships. In this way, I get to know members in a very different light.”

Chaplains assist and counsel RCMP members and their families. They serve people of all faiths, in any situation. Major Mike Hoeft, corps officer in Melfort, served as a volunteer RCMP chaplain for eight years, and was just re-certified. “The RCMP always give,” he says, “and sometimes they need a little in return. It is a great opportunity to serve a group that is sometimes overlooked.”

Two more Saskatchewan-based Salvation Army officers, Captain Michael Ramsey of Swift Current and Captain Ed Dean of Maple Creek, have also been accredited. The accreditation process, including training, paperwork and security clearance, took more than a year. “It’s the same application that a recruit might go through,” explains Major Hoeft, “with intense security clearance.”

For many thousands of RCMP officers, having someone with whom to discuss personal and professional issues can be essential to spiritual and psychological well-being. The chaplain is, as Major Eason describes, their ‘go-to person.’

“This is a great privilege,” admits Major Eason. “I am praying for the strength to do best with it.”