Ride-along: The most vital part of a police chaplain’s ministry offering a window into the nature of police work.
A law enforcement chaplain is a member of the clergy with a passionate interest for pastoral care in the challenging world of law enforcement. Such care is openly offered to all members of the service regardless of race, gender, orientation, religion or belief. There is no proselytizing – there is only care, in the sense of concern, attention, and support. When there are moments of confusion, events that can’t easily be processed or reconciled, or a need to talk without fear ofbeing judged – one of your friendly Peel Regional Police (PRP) chaplains is always there.
Ride-along programs are usually intended to improve police and public relations by familiarizingparticipants with what it entails to be a police officer. It’s a great introduction to daily life on thepolice force. At PRP, the goal of all the chaplains is to become a valuable resource to all members. Among the ways of achieving this goal is through ride-alongs. An effective chaplain needs to be in tune with the complexities, challenges, and rewarding nature of police work. If chaplains are to remain worthy assets to the service, then pastoral frameworks and approaches must evolve as police work evolves.
On July 17, 2018 I had the opportunity to sit-along at the Communications Bureau and observe the type of work Call Takers and Dispatchers perform. Call Takers deal with a range of calls including medical emergencies, burglaries, family violence, disputes, fights and disorder, vehicle crashes, armed robberies, search and rescue operations, homicides, dangerous driving, missing children, civil disputes and theft. They then must succinctly ascertain details about what’shappening, where, and finally making an initial assessment about the priority of the response before entering details into a database that Dispatchers then access.
The Dispatchers then take this information and are responsible for getting police units to attend the call. This sophisticated system is continuous, rapid, and requires an acute skill for triaging and assigning priority in order to best serve the public.
At every shift, the members participate in both areas as Call Takers or Dispatchers as this helps to break up the time in this stressful area of work. This was such an insightful experience at the Communications Bureau to understand the process that calls undergo before they are dispatched for response. Mind blowing!
Perhaps Call Takers and Dispatchers will receive more of the same appreciation extended to other public safety employees.
By a week later, I realized that I hadn’t had enough. On July 24, 2018 I decided to take to Lake Ontario with PRP Marine & Underwater Search and Recovery Units. The Marine & Underwater Search and Recovery Units of PRP are responsible for patrolling 310 square kilometers of Lake Ontario, including the Credit River and all bodies of water within the Region of Peel.
My time during this sail-along coincided with the weekly training of the officers which made it a very intriguing experience. This training affords officers to upgrade their skills on various aspects of their work through theory (classroom sessions) and practice (in/on the water scenarios).
Back row – left to right:
Cst’s Justyn Hart, and Kari Suutrai, Sgt Greg Teague, Tac Medics Jason and Dom, and Cst Adam Nicol
Front row – left to right:
Cst’s Chris Stevens, Chris Furlotte, Darcy Pedersen, Mike Beveridge, Terry MacNeil andChaplain Imran Ally
I remain committed to these ride-alongs in the numerous areas within PRP to continue enriching my knowledge and my ability to diligently perform my duties as a worthy chaplain while serving the distinguished members of PRP.
Your favourite Imam Chaplain Imran Ally
Imām Ally’s interfaith contribution in the GTA keeps him quite active. Through his work, he is lauded for presenting balanced viewpoints on Islam which often strike common grounds with other faiths and beliefs. He continues to promote an approach to faith encouraging community service, interfaith dialogue, and social justice. He was requested to lead Muslim prayers and multi-faith memorial services throughout the GTA for the Quebec Mosque shootings in January 2017.