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Letter: Police chaplains are needed

Nayyar Imam is the chaplain of the Suffolk

Nayyar Imam is the chaplain of the Suffolk County Police Department. Credit: Newsday, 2011 / Thomas A. Ferrara

The letter "Why the need for SCPD chaplain?" [Aug. 5] questioned the need for a Suffolk County police chaplain in this time of fiscal crisis.

Government must scale back spending, but I would not begin by eliminating police or fire chaplains so long as their compensation, if any, is not unreasonable.

Officers can find themselves in very negative situations. Over time, these difficult encounters can affect the psyche of the responders, making them hardened and callous.

Unhealthy means of coping include drug or alcohol abuse, aggressive behavior or isolation. The result can be depression, divorce or suicide. A chaplain can keep officers from becoming jaded. A chaplain is not only good for the officer, but for the public the officer protects.

A chaplain also provides support to relatives of an injured officer as they anxiously wait news in a crisis, and a chaplain provides comfort when a family learns that a loved one will never return home.

A chaplain is perhaps the best example of responsible government spending.

Timothy J. Gleason, East Meadow