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HPD Welcomes First Members of New Chaplain Program

Chaplain portraits

Two Hilliard clergymen will serve as the first members of a new public safety chaplain program for both the Hilliard Division of Police and Norwich Township Fire Department.

The chaplains will provide non-denominational support for both first responders and community members.

Responsibilities will include accompanying officers to assist in death notifications and other traumatic events, assisting with emotionally distressed individuals, responding to critical incidents and natural disasters, attending funerals and memorial ceremonies, serving as a community liaison, and providing counseling to first responders in need of comfort or guidance.

Chaplains Corby LaCroix and Brodie Taphorn were welcomed this week by both departments.

“Our chaplain team will be a tremendous resource for various needs within the organization and the community,” said Chief of Police Robert Fisher. “They will serve as a voice of compassion during a crisis, and I am excited to have their expertise available to support our team members and to further the diverse support that we provide to our community.”

LaCroix is the worship pastor at Northwest Bible Church in Hilliard. Before moving to Ohio in 2013 from his native Texas, he served at a Bible church in Dallas, also as worship pastor. He has been leading worship in various capacities for more than 15 years.

LaCroix lives in Hilliard with his wife, Cari, and their three children. He is passionate about providing emotional and spiritual support to first responders, caring for families in crisis, and assisting the departments in maintaining strong relationships with the community.

Taphorn has been on staff with the Upper Arlington Lutheran Church since 2005 and currently serves as campus pastor of the Mill Run Campus in Hilliard. Previously, he has served in campus ministry at The Ohio State University and at a parachurch youth ministry in Greenfield. A veteran of the Army Reserves, he lives in the Hilliard area with his wife, Andrea, and their three children.

“I have always had a fondness for people who are in public service and I look forward to opportunities to listen and care for those who are serving our community, said Taphorn. “Having met the chiefs and many of the officers, I have a greater respect for the way they keep our

community safe and I look forward to ways that I can attend to their needs as well as members of the Hilliard community.”

While the chaplains will be the first for Hilliard police, Norwich fire has had a program in place previously. Brad Kochis most recently served in the role from 2005 until earlier this year, when he accepted a full-time position at a nearby university.

“I look forward to continuing a long-standing program from the public safety perspective, not solely the fire department, and expanding it to be as inclusive as possible,” said Fire Chief Jeff Warren. “The chaplain will be a key component to our established peer supports groups, as well as community outreach, grief management and crisis intervention.”

All chaplains must be ordained and have a minimum of five years’ experience in ministry, serve community members within the Hilliard City School District, participate in the Hilliard Citizens Police/Fire Academy, and undergo a background investigation.

Chaplains will undergo specialized training through the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC), among other training, and are specially trained to handle crisis situations and also provide follow-up counseling, group debriefings, and individual intervention. Chaplains are volunteer members of the departments.

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