CALERA – The police department here as designated a long-time pastor as its first chaplain, according to Calera Police Chief Don Hyde.
Jacob Toews (pronounced “TAYZ”) accepted the post in late August, just one day after a tragic car accident killed a young Texas girl and eventually took the life of the girl’s mother.
“We’ve recognized the need for a chaplain for several years,” said Hyde. “I’ve been handling the bulk of it, to the extent that I felt comfortable. But there are situations we are faced with, and faith is what a lot of people rely on.”
Toews has been pastor at Calera First Baptist Church for 25 years. Prior to officially becoming chaplain, Hyde said Toews responded to numerous accidents and incidents at the request of police.
“There’s a lot of on-the-job training,” Hyde said. “I could not tell you how many times he has been on the scene at fires and what have you.”
Toews was officially presented his badge at the Calera Town Council meeting on Tuesday. A special uniform has been made which will help identify Toews as a police chaplain but will also let people know he is not a certified officer.
Hyde said this will help people at the scene to draw comfort from the presence of a spiritual advisor.
“I’m proud to serve,” said Toews, who recently retired from 20 years of service as a volunteer firefighter. “I’m not making (fire) calls, so that gives me more time. This is just about being there at the right time for people.
“I’m counting on Donnie (Hyde) to be calling me,” he said.