Chaplain helps EPD cope with dangerous job
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - As the dust started to settle following the shooting at the west side Walmart, we started to hear stories of the impact last night’s events had on the officers involved. This included officers saying prayers as they approached the scene.
These are times when the role of the department chaplain can be especially valuable.
EPD Chaplain Kris Holzmeyer has been with EPD for about 10 years. Previously he spent a large part of his career working as part of church ministries; but when he got the opportunity, he didn’t hesitate to start working with law enforcement.
“What a privilege, what an honor, to have the opportunity to interact and to get to know and develop relationships with heroes in our community,” said Holzmeyer.
Kris was at a concert at the Ford Center Thursday night when he noticed the police officers he was there with suddenly left. When he realized what was happening, he went straight to the police station. He says officers took him to Walmart where he started meeting with those on the scene, making sure they were okay.
Later, he was part of a group, along with the EPD police chief, reviewing officer bodycam footage. He sees the video, and the outcome, as evidence of the community’s support.
“I know people pray for first responders and law enforcement officials on a daily basis, and they may not see all that they go through each day,” said Holzmeyer. “But like I said before, as this footage comes out and they watch, they will see that their prayers were answered.”
In addition to working with law enforcement himself, Kris also works to connect officers and their families with trusted resources. This can include psychologists, PTSD and trauma experts, as well as support for those dealing with compassion fatigue, or marital or family strife.
He says his is a ministry of presence, to connect with officers and help them cope with the rigors of a difficult job.
“We need to be a calming presence in the midst of a storm, and hopefully as chaplains that’s what we bring,” said Holzmeyer.
Kris isn’t paid by the city or county, technically he works as a volunteer full-time, and he’s supported by his organization, Thin Blue 1st. To learn more about his work, visit https://thinblue1st.org/.
If anyone needs any support there will be free grief couciling available at www.forevansville.org/connectable.
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