VIDEO : Vineland Police Officer Talks About Serving as Chaplain in Baton RougePosted:
VINELAND – Vineland Police Officer Jason Scalzi spent time in Baton Rouge, acting as a Chaplain, to pray with the community, be a shoulder to lean on, and give them hope after recent tragic events.
“I was just under the assumption that we were going to leave on Sunday and we just went down there just to build relationships with the officers, I had no idea that the tragedy would have struck on Sunday," said Officer Jason Scalzi.
Officer Scalzi flew down to Baton Rouge with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team to assist with the civil unrest after a police-involved shooting on July 5th. He was scheduled to leave on Sunday when three Louisiana officers were shot and killed. Instead of returning home, he stayed until Tuesday to continue helping police and the community.
“Once that tragedy hit, we were there to really … they trusted us and they knew they were there for them," said Scalzi.
After Scalzi learned about the violence going on in Baton Rouge last week, he was asked to fly down South. Instead of going to serve as a police officer, he went down to serve as a Chaplain, to help bring hope to a community in crisis.
“My partner says “Jason, I want to remind you, you’re a chaplain right now," said Scalzi.
“It was very emotional, it was. Because you’re thinking that there’s officers that are hurt that need help," said Scalzi.
For the next couple of days, Scalzi and the other Chaplains stayed near the police station and hospital to pray with families and spread hope.
“You know, you cry. And it’s sad. But at the same time, as a chaplain, you’re there just there to bring hope in crisis and a shoulder for people to cry on," said Scalzi.
During their trip, Scalzi says he realized having local chaplain programs like they do in Vineland is critical in times of need.
“At the end of the day we want to train and we want to educate clergy to serve, get outside their four walls of their buildings and serve their communities," said Scalzi.
Spreading love, hope, and prayer to those who need it most after these tragic events.