Chaplain Services

Portage Public Safety Chaplains promote a positive relationship between officers, firefighters, City Hall, public officials and the community. They serve as spiritual counselors, and are also trained in Critical Incident Stress Management and Psychological and Spiritual First Aid. The primary goal of the Public Safety Chaplain Services is to attend to the spiritual, emotional and practical needs of the first responders and their families. Portage Public Safety is served by two volunteer chaplains. Members of the department can call upon the chaplains to assist when personnel are required to make death notifications, investigate domestic family problems, help in disaster situations, or in other high stress matters. While serving the agency in our community, their service also extends to the community members affected by a critical incident. Chaplains play an integral role for the City of Portage through five main services:
  • Police: Ride along with officers and provide spiritual guidance and care for same. Assist with domestic situations during ride alongs, help with victims, provide hospital visits to injured or sick officers and victims. Conduct death notifications when necessary.
  • Fire: Ride along and assist with family members on scene as help is being administered to victims. Provide spiritual care for firemen and victims. Spend time at station being available to discuss any personal or spiritual situations that may come up.
  • City Hall: Assist with families in need of resources. Coordinate volunteers for family outreach projects. Example: We recently coordinated an outreach to clean out a hoarder home.
  • Victims: Help align victims with resources in their hour of need. Also help to connect victims with churches for ongoing spiritual care. Work with the disadvantaged to find homes and employment.
  • Donations: Most thrift stores don't carry items such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, water heaters, couches, beds, chairs and other large furniture items. Such items have been donated to the ministry and in turn are given out to people in need, or individuals who are making a fresh start. This could include single parents, disadvantaged members of our community that are just getting on their feet, or victims of loss.

Portage Public Safety Chaplains are also members of the Kalamazoo County Chaplain Support Team, which plays an integral role in training, developing, and mentoring new chaplains in the Kalamazoo area. The network has grown to 14 members who carry a large presence in nearly every municipality within Kalamazoo County.  

How You Can Support The Chaplain Program

  • Donations: We're consistently looking for donations to our ministry program. If you have an item in good condition that you'd like to donate, please contact the Department of Public Safety at (269) 329-4560 to make arrangements for pickup of those items.
  • Prayer: We have a list of 60 churches that receive our bi-weekly Prayer Request List. Please send an email to to subscribe to the list and help lift up our community.

Interested in becoming a chaplain? Please contact Chaplain Hovenkamp at to learn how!