The Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento (LECS) believes that as one of society’s key institutions, schools are in a strong position to support the well-being of young people. The School Support Team members can play a significant role in supporting elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as administration, staff and parents throughout the 16 different school districts we serve in the Greater Sacramento Region, including local colleges.
If a school is experiencing a traumatic event, LECS can provide 24/7/365 rapid response teams alongside law enforcement agencies with on-scene emotional crisis care support. Chaplains are experts in the aftermath of grief and loss. LECS serves these 16 local school districts by providing school faculty, children, young adults, and families with immediate practical guidance, and valuable resources of what happens next, following the impact of a loss.
Further, Chaplains are P.O.S.T. Certified (Peace Officer Standards and Training) post-trauma and crisis responders. Chaplains are trained in the areas of crime scene integrity, psychological first aid, school crisis intervention, mass casualty evacuation support, search and rescue field operations, Town Hall meeting strategies, and Family Assistance Centers’ management.
School Support Teams are trauma-trained volunteers who come once a week before school, at lunchtime, or after school to support administration, staff, and most importantly the students. Their main objectives during these proactive visits are to listen, bring hope, support positive behavior systems, and encourage good choices.
LECS provides comprehensive expertise in postvention to situations that happen in the schools, or trauma from the unexpected death of a student, teacher, or staff member outside of school.
Chaplains and School Support Teams can provide immediate, practical guidance, and valuable resources of how schools can cope with shock and grief. Every volunteer is required to complete both academic and field training including 24 hours of TRAC (Trauma Response and Care), 12 hours of School Support Team Training, and 12 hours of Supervised Field Training. Additionally, they are background checked and required to participate in on-going monthly training.
Every-15-Minutes is a two-day program focusing on high school juniors and seniors, which challenges them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions. Along with alcohol-related crashes, it focuses on the impact that their decisions would have on family and friends.
Chaplains support the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) by serving 16 local school districts within Sacramento County through the Every-15-Minutes program.
Within the Every-15-Minutes program, Law Enforcement Chaplains help coordinate the program on school campuses alongside the California Highway Patrol (CHP), school faculty, and participating students and parents.
Community Chaplains support the event by;
- Contacting parents of the participating students in the program.
- Delivering mock death notifications (with CHP Officers) to those parents and family members of the students participating in the program.
- Assisting in the mock removal of a participating student from the classroom (in conjunction with school staff) every 15 minutes of that school day.
- Reading a student’s mock obituary related to the DUI scenario to their class.
- Then, later that evening, assist Law Enforcement Chaplains in conducting an evening retreat to debrief with the students and parents participating in the program.
- Finally, Chaplains remain on campus both school days to answer questions and compassionately provide support to any students impacted by trauma and grief.
If you would like the Every-15-Minutes program brought to your high school, please contact us at [email protected].
Real DUI Court
In past years, LECS has coordinated the Real DUI Court Sentencing Program from a grant from the OTS (Office of Transportation Safety) which provides a multi-faceted experience for young drivers in order to change attitudes and perceptions about driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The programs mission is to reduce impaired driving by youth throughout California.
LECS serves alongside of ARRIVE ALIVE CALIFORNIA, INC., in a life-saving message of DUI prevention through reality-based education year- round. They move an actual DUI sentencing from a county courthouse to a local school.
Students are able to witness the defendant’s detention, imposed fines and penalties. The intent is to allow for significant dialogue among the students, defendant, judge, attorneys, law enforcement officers, teachers, and special guests. The 90-minute presentation concludes with a dynamic testimony from a victim of a DUI crash and/or law enforcement officer.
We do not yet know if this program will be extended through the OTS grant, however, if you would like to know more about this program, please send an email to [email protected].
Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15-24. Approximately one out of every 15 high school students report attempting suicide each year. One out of every 53 high school students report having made a suicide attempt that was serious enough to be treated by a doctor.
According to youth.gov, developmentally, the years between childhood and adulthood represent a critical period of transition and significant cognitive, mental, emotional, and social change. While adolescence is a time of tremendous growth and potential, navigating new milestones in preparation for adult roles involving education, employment, relationships, and living circumstances can be difficult. These transitions can lead to various mental health challenges that can be associated with increased risk for suicide.
For each suicide death among young people, there may be as many as 100 to 200 suicide attempts.
For some groups of youth—including those who are involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems; LGBTQ; American Indian/Alaska Native; and military service members—the incidence of suicidal behavior is even higher.
Despite how common suicidal thoughts and attempts (as well as mental health disorders which can be associated with increased risk for suicide) are among youth, there is a great deal known about prevention as well as caring for youth and communities after an attempt or death. Parents, guardians, family members, friends, teachers, school administrators, coaches and extracurricular activity leaders, mentors, service providers, and many others can play a role in preventing suicide and supporting our youth.
The Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento (LECS) offers insights into this serious issue through our Suicide Awareness Training classes.