CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Everyday police officersrisk their lives. They come back in off the streets needing someone to open upto.
The Crockett Police Department is just one ofthe many departments now reaching out to area pastors to help lend guidance tothose wearing the badge. Lufkin and Nacogdoches have similar programs and earlierthis month, the Angelina County Sheriff's office announced their first officialchaplain.
The four pastors chosen tobe part of the program were Pastor KennyDickenson of First Baptist Church, Pastor Mauricio B. Mejia of Cristo Es SenorIRA. Iglesia Bautista, Pastor Lance Mann of St. Luke's Baptist Church and Pastor StevenMeadows of West Side Baptist Church.
"What God has called us to do is to helppeople," Mejia said.
The chaplains will help thepolice force handle issues most people don't have to face in their eight hourwork day.
"They need someonethey can take their mask off with and just be real and get in touch with someemotions that maybe they are trying to ignore in their life," Dickenson said.
"They are not wired touse force and be okay with it," Mann said. "They are trained to use force atthe most extreme last resort."
"Most policeofficers; they don't have anyone to go to, other than each other because you becomefearful," Meadows said.
The four pastors all comefrom different backgrounds.
Pastor Lance Mann came toEast Texas from Newark, NJ last year. Mann's neighborhood was larger than thecity of Crockett and had one of the nation's highest crime rates.
"I've seen it and Ihave also helped to deal with the struggles of a community," Mann said.
Pastor Mauricio Mejia isan immigrant from Honduras. Mejia said he can be a bridge between the force anda Hispanic community that is taught police officers are bad.
"As a Hispanicpastor, I can let them know they are there to serve and they are there toprotect them," Mejia said. "We are here to make a difference in the community."
A bridge each one of thesemen are looking to form in their own way.
All four pastors will be used on an as neededbasis and will remain pastors at their respective churches.