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COSTA MESA : Police Chaplain Program Revived as 4 Volunteers Sign On

November 10, 1995|HOPE HAMASHIGE

Four Costa Mesa residents were given badges Thursday by the Police Department and were appointed chaplains, reviving a program that folded four years ago.

The four are Bruce Merrifield, Mike Decker and Rod Randall, all pastors at Harvard Trinity Baptist Church, and Dave Rolph, a pastor at Calvary Chapel. All four are volunteers who each work at least eight hours a month.

Capt. Rick Johnson said chaplains will preside over police ceremonies, but their main duty will be to provide spiritual counseling in times of crisis for both department employees and the public.

"Their duties are going to be wide-ranging," Johnson said. "We're living in a hurting time, so we want to do anything we can to help ease the pain."

The department hopes to add more chaplains to the program next spring, Johnson said, after new recruits complete the program at Costa Mesa's citizens academy, which familiarizes members of the public with the operation of the Police Department.

Finishing the academy program is a prerequisite for becoming a chaplain.

Johnson said the program was dropped earlier because its former chaplain, Reserve Officer Wayne Kraiss, was too busy to keep it going alone.

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