The Sherman Police Department recently instituted a chaplain program as a means of better connecting with the community and handling the sometimes difficult and emotional matters inherent in law enforcement.

The program was first announced by Chief Zachary Flores last month before the Sherman City Council. Flores named Harvest Time Assembly of God Senior Pastor Nathan Cain as the lead volunteer chaplain of the program, who will be on call and respond as the department needs his guidance services.

“We have a need in that we respond to a lot of situations that our citizens just aren’t equipped to handle, whether it be for emotional need or something else and to be quite honest, we adopt that as the police when they don’t teach you that in the police academy,” Flores said. “A lot of times, we get that because we’re out at two in the morning.”

Flores said the department vetted Cain through a background check and conducted extensive research in founding the program. The chief added that his department was further motivated by the positive results other police departments had with similar chaplain programs.

“There’s a number of chaplain programs that have been very successful and we’re looking forward to kick start our’s,” Flores said. “But we want to make sure we do it in a wise way and we do it in a way that is going to benefit the citizens.”

The chief said Cain would start out as the only chaplain, but would use his connections to bring new members on board.

“This program’s going to start with Nathan,” Flores said. “Nathan’s going to help us by identifying and embedding other members of the community so we can have a diverse background and a diverse group of people to be in this chaplain program so that we can help members across the spectrum.”

On Tuesday, Sgt. Brett Mullen said the department intended to expand the program in the future in order to include area leaders of other faith groups. At the council meeting, Cain said he was glad to help usher in the program and was looking forward to involving other religious figures.

“It’s an honor to serve alongside Chief Flores and our police department and to serve you in our community,” Cain said. “To be a spiritual representation, but even more so to connect with both lay leaders and also their pastors and spiritual leaders in our community to help them bridge the gap to meet both the physical needs and also the spiritual needs in our community.”

Mullen said Cain had already assisted with at least one death notification and that the department had already seen benefits from the program in its early weeks.

“It’s just a tool that we hope will help us reach the public and better serve them in the event of an emotional crisis or an instance like that,” Mullen said.