BALDWYN | Police officers and residents here will now have access to a dedicated chaplain at no cost to the city.
The Baldwyn Board of Aldermen approved at its June meeting the request of city resident Jim Allen to come aboard the Baldwyn Police Department as a volunteer chaplain. He comes to the department after serving in the same role with the Tupelo Police Department for eight years. Allen is the first of the two chaplains Police Chief Roy Ragin wants to bring into the department on a reserve status.
Allen holds the certification of Senior Chaplain with the International Conference of Police Chaplains in Florida. He is currently working to move up to the next level of certification, which requires working with a department and for which he needs about another year to complete.
“I preached for 50 years, and I retired in November of 2021,” Allen said. After moving to Baldwyn, “I talked with the chief, and I feel like if you’re going to serve in the community, you need to live in the community.”
Allen told the board the service is all volunteer and no pay is involved. Allen said the only thing he would need would be to get a police shield from the Baldwyn Police Department and a dress blue uniform jacket.
“There are some things a chaplain could do that would help so you don’t have to pull an officer off patrol,” Allen said. “We could assist at organizations where crowd control is concerned. A chaplain can help direct traffic.”
Allen said he could assist with school functions as well and had already heard from another Baldwyn Police officer who was looking forward to Allen’s assistance in very delicate manners.
“One officer said he was excited about is he does not like to go talk on doors and talk to people when a loved one has been injured or the worst, when they’ve lost their life,” Allen said. “Unfortunately, I’ve been involved in that with the Tupelo Police Department when we lost one of our officers. I’ve been involved in many death calls, so I do have some experience there.
In addition to serving the community, Allen said he would be there to serve his fellow officers as well.
“One of the things I like to do is I meet every Monday morning at a quarter to six with the shift that’s coming on that day, and I have a voluntary 15-minute devotion and prayer with them,” Allen said. “And then once a week I make myself available for an hour for all the officers so if there is anything they need to discuss or want to talk about. Most officers have their own preacher but sometimes there are things they want to talk about that they don’t want to share with their pastor. I’ve told all my officers I’m not a Catholic priest, but anything that is mentioned to me stays with me – unless they tell me they’re going to harm themselves, they’re going to harm another individual, or they’re going to do damage to this nation, whether it be the city, state, or the nation itself. If they confess that to me, I have no choice but to go to the chief and let that be known.”
Allen told the Board that he and his wife, Lisa, were in their retirement home in Baldwyn now.
“We’re going to be here for a while,” he said.