Candidate for Village Police Chaplain Selected

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 5, 2021 at 6:55pm

The South Jacksonville Police Department is seeing some changes as a new program is set to begin.

South Jacksonville Chief of Police Eric Hansell updated the Village Board of Trustees during their regular meeting last night on changes coming to his department.

Hansell announced a candidate has been selected to fill the new chaplain’s position, something Hansell proposed and has been working on since he took over as Chief in early October.

Hansell says South Jacksonville resident Jay Cook has heard the call and agreed to step into the role of South Jacksonville Police Chaplain.

We are looking forward to working with him and him bringing a different aspect into the police department. Somebody the employees can talk to that’s confidential and help out with the critical incident debriefs and things like that.”

Cook is the Pastor Emeritus at First Christian Church on South Main Street in the Village. Hansell says the next step in the process is for the Board of Trustees to approve Cook as the nominee after the Chaplaincy program was approved by the board in November.

Hansell says Cook is will be coming on board with the department, despite a lack of training options at the moment.

After he’s approved, what we will have to do is he’ll go through a week-long training program through the state of Illinois. Right now they don’t have any classes scheduled and we don’t know when they are going to reschedule a new class. So he’s still going to come on board and when we can get him into the training program to become a police chaplain we’ll get him there.”

The Chaplain’s position is strictly a volunteer position. Hansell says Chaplain Cook will not just be strictly for the PD, he says his services will also be available to Fire Department personnel as well.