The Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office is reaching out to area clergy to ask them to assist with grief counseling after tragic events.
The mission of the new program called the Hunterdon County On-Call Clergy List is to create an on-call list of clergy who are willing respond in emergencies and provide counseling and support in times of crisis. The prosecutor’s office hosted a seminar recently about the program and invited clergy members to attend. The program is a partnership with the Hunterdon Medical Center, the Hunterdon Helpline, and local police departments.
“When a tragic event occurs, members of the clergy can assist police officers with comforting victims and their families while the investigation is being completed,”Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns said. “These professionals are trained in grief counseling and are a resource that we have identified as a positive asset for our local law enforcement community.”
The program will begin August 1. Police will have an on-call list of the volunteer clergy members willing to be available to respond if needed by local police. The program has been designed for clergy to get an opportunity to accompany police on death notifications, but will be expanded as needed. The program will also provide back-up to the Hunterdon Medical Center chaplain.
“Additionally, the resources will be available to police officers and other first responders should there be a need,” Kearns said.
The Prosecutor’s Office will provide training to clergy interesting in participating in the volunteer program. Anyone who is interested is participating should call Lieutenant Joyce Hanshaw at (908) 788-1129.