The Cowley County Sheriff’s Office has created a chaplain program for Cowley County.

“I started the chaplain program in about the middle of last year,” said Cowley County Sheriff David Falletti.

“There are many situations where deputies come into contact with citizens who have difficulties.”

Those instances could range from a child being severely injured in a car accident to a death in the family.

Cowley is not the only Kansas county with a chaplain program — others include Harvey, Riley and Sedgwick counties.

“I know that other agencies have chaplain programs, but I really did not use them until the Hesston Excel shooting case” Falletti said.

“I was with the (Kansas Bureau of Investigation) at that time and had to go do a death notification, and had the opportunity to work with a sheriff’s chaplain from Harvey County.”

The chaplains are used in many different scenarios, including assistance with inmate counseling and sheriff’s office employee counseling.

Falletti called the program “very beneficial.”

James Blanton, who has been involved since the program’s inception, serves as chaplain coordinator for the sheriff’s office.

“He was previously a chaplain with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, and used that experience to assist in getting our program up and going,” Falletti said.

Ministry experience is needed to be a part of the program, as well as a minimum of five years of successful counseling experience.

In addition, applicants must have a good reputation in the community, finish an in-house training program with Blanton, successfully complete a background check and possess a valid driver’s license.

“The Cowley County Sheriff’s Office chaplain program has been amazing,” Falletti said.

“They are available to our community members at a moment’s notice and are willing to help.”