Chaplaincy Initiative

"Law Enforcement and Chaplains Working Together to provide comfort in time of personal crisis"

The Sheriff’s Office had an informal Chaplaincy program in previous years; in November 2006, a formal Chaplaincy Initiative was formed.  The Cass County Sheriff’s Office Chaplaincy Initiative began in 2006 with a core group of dedicated clergy members and law enforcement personnel from all areas of Cass County.  Over the years, we have had new chaplains join and treasured Chaplains move out of Cass County; however, one constant remains – dedicated chaplains with a calling to provide assistance in crisis situations.  

The purpose of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office Chaplaincy Initiative is to provide networking and collaboration between law enforcement and clergy members in identifying needs and providing advocacy, support and assistance to members of the community and staff, as needed.

The Chaplains are here to serve community members in times of crisis situations.  They are not intended, nor do they wish, to replace an individual’s clergyperson.


Back row (l-r):  Bill Ness, Michael Small, Tristan Borland, Mark Widman.
Front row (l-r):  Lisa Jordan, Lynn Strandt, Marcy Braman, Sheriff Tom Burch, Dawn Lundgren, Judy Gustafson, Wilma Griffin.
Not pictured:  David Anderson, Fr. Keith Bertram, Mearle Griffith, Rose Marie, Brian Swedburg, Pauline Fahey (taking picture).



The purpose of the Chaplaincy Initiative is:

  • To assist Cass County law enforcement and the people of Cass County through a field service ministry.
  • To provide guidance, counseling and comfort in times of crisis to the people of Cass County.  The chaplain should be able to put people in contact with the appropriate agencies to assist them. 
  • To provide spiritual guidance and counseling to all members of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, both sworn and civilian, and their families in time of need.
  • To provide the services of a chaplain on a twenty-four hour, seven day a week basis at the request of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office or its employees, the chaplain will seek to bring comfort and consolation to persons involved in crisis situations.
  • All chaplains serve at the discretion of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

What can you expect if a chaplain is contacted for an emergency situation?

  • A chaplain is there to serve in a spiritual capacity in time of crisis.
  • A chaplain will provide the best care, counsel and comfort they are able to the victims and family members involved in a crisis situation.
  • A chaplain will attempt to contact the individual’s pastor/congregation when requested.
  • A chaplain will provide future pastoral support for those who desire it.

What do chaplains do?
A chaplain participates in a minimum of 24 hours of ride-alongs per year, along with a yearly mandatory training and monthly meetings. 

Chaplains respond to emergency call-outs on a rotational basis. 

What type of incidents can chaplains respond to?
A chaplain can be used in any time of crisis and/or personal stress.   These would include serious injuries, deaths, death notifications, search and rescues, abusive situations, etc. 

Annual Trainings
The Cass County Sheriff’s office Chaplaincy Initiative sponsors an annual training in January of each year to provide training to our current chaplains and clergy who may be interested in joining our Chaplaincy program.  The trainings also provide for an opportunity for chaplains and law enforcement to interact while enhancing needed skills for crisis situations.  For pictures of past trainings, click here.

TRIAD and Chaplaincy will be sponsoring a Fish Fry with Tom’s Fish Fry Crew on Saturday, August 16th  from 4-7 at Cornerstone Church, Walker.


Contact Information

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office can provide emergency assistance in contacting an on-call chaplain: Main Numbers: 218-547-1424 | 800-450-2677

For questions about the Chaplaincy Initiative, please call 218-547-7308 to speak with:
Sheriff Tom Burch                
Chief Deputy Erick Hoglund                                   
Admin Pauline Fahey

Current Chaplains
David Anderson Harvest Church of God Remer
Tristan Borland Riverview Church Pine River
Mearle Griffith SEASONAL Walker
Judy Gustafson St. Paul's Lutheran Church Hackensack/Longville
Lisa Jordan Hill City Assembly of God Remer
Dawn Lundgren Cornerstone Church Walker
William Ness Northland Alliance Church Walker
Fr. Mike Patullo St. Edwards/St. Paul's Catholic Church Longville
Marie Rose Motley Free Methodist Motley
Peter Rosenkvist Trinity Lutheran Church Cass Lake
Michael Small Union Congretional Church Hackensack
Mark Widman Calvary Evangelical Free Church Walker