WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - Hutto police officers will soon be riding double. Their partners come armed with the Holy Spirit. In this week’s Crime Watch FOX 7's Noelle Newton shows how the department's new chaplain program hopes to bring comfort to police and those they serve.
These are the newest faces of Hutto PD. They are full of personality.
"I've been pulled over a lot. I think they give me some sort of level of credibility,” said Pastor David McLain, The Bridge Community Church.
They are also full of purpose. These men are pastors. They will all be riding shotgun with officers as part of the department's new chaplain program.
"When this door opened up, to be able to find a way to serve people who serve us so well, it's a pretty incredible opportunity,” said McLain.
The volunteer opportunity has given them an eye-opening experience.
"I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. I don't know that I could do what they do on a day in and day out basis,” said Pastor Russell Daniel, Austin Christian Fellowship.
"There are people in this community that have lots of hurt,” said McLain.
It's impossible to mention hurt in Hutto without thinking of Sgt. Chris Kelley. He was killed by a suspect he was pursuing in 2015. A chair marking his absence sits next to Chief Byron Franklin's desk. He was at Galveston PD at the time, but remembers when the story broke.
"Coming into the department, my heart has lead me to be very sensitive to the needs these guys have and support them any way I can,” said Franklin.
He hopes that support will be found inside the patrol car.
"There are a lot of things discussed in a police car between a police officer and the chaplain or a police officer and his partner that stays in the car,” said Franklin. "Taking care of their families. Taking care of their fellow police officers, they get a good sounding board and they also receive a lot of advice."
"If we can just remind them of how valuable they are to us and to God and each other I think that's going to help serve them well,” said McLain.
The chaplains aren't just there for officers. Their work continues with those on every emergency call.
Should you find yourself in that situation, look for the green shirt.
"We want to see life and health and unity,” said McLain.
"We're here for the community. When they go through tragedy we get to stay there and be there with the people going through tragedy on the other side of the police force,” said Drew Hargrove, The Fellowship Hutto.
The chaplains will go through a modified police academy to learn how to operate the radio and other equipment in the patrol car should something happen. They will also go through basic firearm skills.