WOODLAND PARK, NJ - At the Jan. 8 reorganization meeting, Pastor Joel La Torre was sworn in as Police Chaplain for the WPPD. This new position was created by the Council in late 2019 via ordinance.
Founder and lead pastor of Living Water Church on Andrews Drive, Pastor La Torre lives in town with his wife Dinora and their three children. La Torre has served for a number of years as the local PBA chapter's chaplain and Mayor Keith Kazmark said that police brass wanted to take it a step further.
Police Chief Eileen Tiernan pushed for the creation of the position when she was promoted, the Mayor said.
Police chaplains can help community members, families of police officers, law enforcement personnel, suspects, and victims by offering counseling or providing other services, such as referrals to local clergy or mental health professionals. A chaplain's assistance during a crisis can also free officers to fulfill other duties. They help with death notifications and station house adjustments as well.