Sanford's police chief hopes to expand chaplain program

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SANFORD, Fla. - Sanford's police chief is looking to expand a volunteer chaplain program.

When Sanford police officers are dealing with a crisis, they often call in a chaplain. But Chief Cecil Smith hopes to expand the idea and create relationships that can go deeper and reach more people in the community.

"It's an opportunity for people to see who we are, what we're doing and the direction that we're going," Smith said.

Smith is looking for clergy members from all denominations who would be willing to complete more than 40 hours of training. Some of the training class would teach them the basics of police duties. Additional training would include driving techniques and how to use law enforcement radios.

"Essentially they have the ability to go on calls and assist officers and provide minister services when and where needed," Smith said.

In 2013, just one clergy member assisted the police department. Smith said he hopes more chaplains can get involved and help foster communication among Sanford residents.

"People are starting to see that things are happening in the police department and it gives them a better opportunity to go out and talk to their friends," Smith said.

Anyone interested in becoming a chaplain in Sanford should contact the Sanford Police Department.