Police chaplains take a stronger role in community policing

(AP) The man looked stunned after Patrolman Paul Tomczyk handed him a few pieces of paper.

The officer just finished explaining that his girlfriend, who is the mother of his children, had requested an emergency protection from abuse order against him when Capt. Dennis D’Augostine threw him another curveball.

He asked if he could pray for him.

D’Augostine, 37, is one of two front-line chaplains with the Scranton Police Department.

Formerly the lead pastor at Steamtown Church on Pittston Avenue, he stepped back to a support role there to focus on transforming what had been a ceremonial position – where the duties entailed little more than saying prayers at ceremonies – to one entwined with community policing, a brand of law enforcement in which officers forge strong personal ties with the neighborhoods they protect.

His church pays his salary, so his service comes at no expense to the city. [More]