Nov. 12--West York Police are now better equipped to handle sensitive situations, such as death notifications, thanks to the addition of a chaplain to its ranks.
Filling the volunteer position is the Rev. W. Arthur Grahe, pastor of St. Stephen's United Church of Christ in the borough.
Grahe, the first pastor to serve as a chaplain with the department, was appointed to the position by the borough council during its meeting Monday, said Chief Justin Seibel.
While he's never served as chaplain with an emergency services agency, Grahe said he held the position part time with a number of nursing facilities.
Assistance: As part of his role, Grahe will be on hand to assist officers with death notifications, suicide and other major incidents and will assist crime victims and their families, Seibel said.
Some of the incidents Grahe, who's been a pastor for 35 years, will have to deal with will undoubtedly be horrific.
"It'll be tragic a lot of the times. It'll be difficult to handle," Grahe said.
However, there will also be times of celebration.
Grahe will also provide spiritual guidance to officers and their families, will serve as the department's liaison to clergy in the community and will serve on review and award boards and other committees.
"It's not just (helping) the public but also the officers," he said.
When Grahe returned to the pastorship at the 1569 W. Market St. church after the Rev. Elmer Scofield retired in June, Grahe said he want the church to be more active in the community.
Through a meeting with Seibel, the two saw a need for a police chaplain.
"I always thought we could have used one numerous times in the past," he said.
-- Reach Greg Gross at 505-5434 or [email protected].
Copyright 2011 - The York Dispatch, Pa.