Pastor Shane Anderson is Guttenberg's first police chaplain

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Pastor Shane Anderson was recently appointed chaplain for the Guttenberg Police Department. (Photo submitted)

By Shelia Tomkins

Pastor Shane Anderson of Guttenberg, who serves St. John's Lutheran and St. Paul Lutheran Churches, recently stepped into an additional role — chaplain for the Guttenberg Police Department. He was appointed to the newly-created position by the city council in June.

"We are pleased to have Pastor Shane as our police chaplain," commented Police Chief George Morteo. "He will be a valuable asset to our department as we serve the community."

The role and duties of a police chaplain vary from department to department. "Basically, chaplains support and assist police officers and other first responders and community members by providing appropriate assistance, advice, comfort, counsel and referrals to those in need who may request support,"explained Pastor Anderson. 

He has had previous experience as a police chaplain prior to moving to Guttenberg. "Chuck Moon, a good friend of mine and a Sheriff’s Deputy who was also a member in my former congregation where I served as Pastor, encouraged me to become a chaplain for the Pine County Sheriff’s Department," he recalls.  

"I really enjoyed the camaraderie and fellowship with members of that department and the other chaplains," he said. "Chuck was also a leader in my oldest son’s Boy Scout Troop and was instrumental in him deciding to go into law enforcement. He is now a Wisconsin State Trooper, and our youngest son is studying criminal justice at Loras College, and planning to attend  the police academy this summer. Law enforcement tends to be a pretty tight-knit family, so in some ways, I feel serving with the Guttenberg Police Department is serving the broader law enforcement community of which my son is a part."

Pastor Anderson notes there are many overlapping responsibilities between his daily duties as an ordained minister and his role as police chaplain.

“The main difference is that police chaplaincy is primarily secular in nature unless otherwise requested by the officer or the individual,” he said. "Chaplains working with police and other first responders during times of group or individual crisis or critical incidents, can provide a more comprehensive response to those in need."

A chaplain's duties could include helping with domestic violence situations, helping law enforcement families, helping with officer injury or death and ceremonies, first responder suicide awareness,  assisting with death notifications, and facilitating critical incident stress management debriefings or defusings.

In August, Pastor Anderson  attended the Police Chaplain Program’s Academy Basic Training in Sioux Falls, S.D., which covered the basics of Law Enforcement Chaplaincy. He is currently working towards becoming certified in critical incident stress management through the International Critical Stress Foundation and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Department of Emergency Health Services.

Commenting on his first few months as chaplain, Pastor Anderson said, "So far I’ve really enjoyed getting to know all the officers better and finding out that we have a lot of common interests." 

"We have fantastic police officers in Guttenberg who really genuinely care for the people they serve," said Pastor Anderson. "I would encourage everyone to try to get to know them as individuals.  As I’ve gotten to know them, I find it very refreshing to see the steady outpouring of support for our sworn officers by the majority of the members in our community, given all the negativity that is going on in other parts of the country with regards to law enforcement personnel."

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