HUNTERDON PROSECUTOR TAPS LOCAL CLERGY TO ASSIST IN GRIEF COUNSELING AT TRAGIC EVENTS

Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III and Chief of Detectives John J. Kuczynski hosted a symposium on June 2, 2015 entitled Utilization of Clergy to Assist Law Enforcement and Emergency Services. The symposium took place at the Hunterdon County Echo Hill Park Main Lodge. Law Enforcement Executives from across the county attended with members of the Prosecutor’s One Voice Program, Freeholder John King, and County Chief of Staff George Wagner. The mission of the program is to create an on-call list of clergy to respond and provide counseling and support in times of crisis; in partnership with Hunterdon Medical Center, Hunterdon Helpline, and local police departments. The agenda included Managing Crisis Utilizing Local Clergy, Best Practices for Managing Death, Serious Injury, and/or Serious Illness, Hunterdon Medical Center’s Counseling and Employee Assistance Program and Grief Counseling, and the introduction of Hunterdon County On-Call Clergy List. Prosecutor Kearns hosted this event with experts in the field who presented and disseminated material for discussion. Along with Chief Kuczynski, also presenting in the program was Detective Jim Molinaro of the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Unit, Jim Devries, the Hunterdon Medical Center Chaplain, and Susan Lax from Hunterdon Helpline. The Hunterdon County Communications 9-1-1 Center was represented by Sharon Burham. According to Prosecutor Kearns, “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. 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. This program will begin August 1st with local members of the faith community participating. There will be an on-call list of the volunteer clergy members that will be available to respond if needed by local police. The 2 program has been designed for clergy to get an opportunity to accompany police on death notifications, but can 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.” The Prosecutor’s Office recorded the training and the DVD is available to anyone interested in participating in the program. Since the training, additional clergy have signed up to participate in the program and if any others are interested they should contact Lieutenant Joyce Hanshaw at the Prosecutor’s Office at 908-788-1129. The Prosecutor added, “I would like to thank the members of our local clergy and faith community who have volunteered to participate in this program. I am confident that this program will provide a benefit to our police and the communities they serve.” The following is a list of the attendees: Rev. John Arnone – Clinton Church of the Nazarene Rev. Bruce Davidson – Living Waters Lutheran Church Thomas Dwyer – St. Magdalen’s RC Church Rev. Dave Errickson – Old Rocks Community Church Joline Frank – Our Lady of Lourdes Church Pastor Cathy Grumpert – Readington Reformed Church Rev. Tracey Henry – Clinton Presbyterian Church Rabbi Evan Jaffe – Flemington Jewish Community Center Pastor Tim Kaetzel – Evangel Chapel Rev. Harry Mazjian – Calvary Episcopal Church Pastor Andrew Paton – Clinton Church of the Nazarene Rev. Becky Pratt – Stanton Reformed Church Fr. Leonard Rusay – Our Lady of Lourdes Church Rev. Mark Summer – Zion Lutheran Church Pastor Nathan Tuckey – South Ridge Community Church Monsignor Randy Vashon – Immaculate Conception Church Pastor Leslie Wade – Central Hunterdon Baptist Church Rev. Dennis Wene – High Bridge United Methodist Church Pastor Lee Zandstra – Living Waters Lutheran Church