Beyond the Badge, Chaplains

Retiring academy instructor is volunteer chaplain

Ken Chappelle wearing sergeant uniform with his family at the training center.
Ken Chappelle taught new cadets at the academy for eight years and is retiring after 24 years with CDCR.

Ken Chappelle, after 24 years with CDCR, is volunteer chaplain

While Ken Chappelle may be retiring as an academy instructor, he will continue being of service as a volunteer with the California Chaplain Corps.

Graduating as a correctional officer at the academy with his wife and two children.
Ken Chappelle and family at his graduation 24 years ago.

As an academy instructor, Sgt. Chappelle has helped shape the next generation of correctional officers for eight years at the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center in Galt.

“There was so much satisfaction getting to know the cadets after 13 weeks, seeing them coming in scared, and seeing them graduate with confidence,” he said.

Playing a critical role developing cadets into correctional officers is a source of pride for Chappelle.

He said he always enjoys hearing from former cadets who went on to lead successful CDCR careers.

As a peer support team leader at the training center, he saw even more support was needed. It’s the reason Chappelle started volunteering with the California Chaplain Corps.

“Peer support can only go so far. Our staff need a little more, and the chaplain corps gives staff the ability to self-heal,” Chappelle said. “The corps provides a combination of true confidentiality and non-denominational spiritual support.”

As part of his training with the corps, Chappelle was required to work with the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy in Sacramento. In this role, he responded to critical incidents in the community, providing spiritual support to both civilians and law enforcement.

What is the California Chaplain Corps?

The California Chaplain Corps provides free confidential law-enforcement sensitive services for first responders, schools and the community, as well as CDCR employees and retirees.

Most chaplains in the corps have prior law enforcement experience, understanding the needs and struggles of first responders.

Chaplains are trained in Critical Incident Stress Management, suicide prevention, stress management techniques and psychological first aid.

They can be called upon to respond to any incident within any institution statewide.

In the past, they have responded to prison staff assaults as well as a 2019 plane crash at California Rehabilitation Center in Norco.

The corps can be reached by calling (279) 204-3436 or by email chaplaincorps@LECS911.com.

Learn more about the California Chaplain Corps.

By Ashley Massimino, Senior Psychologist Supervisor


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