JOPLIN, MO.--- Bob Heath has experienced many tragedies in his 20 years working as a chaplain for the Joplin Police Department.
"A police chaplain is called into duty for lots of things, we are there to assist officers, possibly at fatality accidents, or when there's been a deceased person," states Bob Heath, Joplin Police Chaplain.
It's an added support system to help officers cope with the sometimes lasting affects of things they see while on duty.
"The benefit of a chaplain is, you will have officers sometimes that will go through an experience that they haven't experienced before, something traumatic and they need somebody to talk to and sometimes family or friends just doesn't cut it," states LT. Brain Lewis, Joplin Police.
In some cases, the work of police chaplain extends further than just those in law enforcement.
"If there is situations in our community, for example the tornado, we were here not only working with the police officers but with the community and trying to help them work through the tragedies of life," states Heath.
Heath worked up to 13 hour days following the tornado to help our community heal. He says his heart goes out those doing the same thing in Connecticut, trying to help that community through the tragic elementary school shooting.
"My heart goes out to them. There are chaplains there working strongly with them and trying to make sense out of a senseless act. It won't solve the situation, but hopefully bring some peace and calm to the situation," says Heath.
JPD officials add, having a group of dedicated chaplains has been a major asset to their department.
"The feedback has always been good because they are confidential, it doesn't go anywhere outside of that interaction and so they can have some sense of security that what they talk to them about doesn't go anywhere else." states Heath.
There are 4 chaplains currently serving with the Joplin Police Department, most of them have been with JPD for more than 2 decades.