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Montpelier Police Get a Chaplain

Montpelier Police Chief Brian Peete, June 2020. Photo by Carla Occaso.
Montpelier Police Chief Brian Peete announced March 9 his department will be getting its own chaplain. The department also plans to replace pepper spray with another product when force is necessary.

Pastor Peter “Chap” Taraski of the Resurrection Baptist Church will become the department’s chaplain. Peete explained in an email that chaplains provide spiritual guidance to department members and their families as well as to community members in need of such services. 

“Chaplain Programs are secular in purpose and do not promote nor inhibit religion: they provide impartial comfort, support, and assurance during crisis events,” Peete wrote.

Peete explained getting a chaplain is in response to a need identified by the Montpelier Police Department and the Washington County State’s Attorney’s office, who jointly discuss how to help “trauma-informed interactions, mutual respect, and dignity preservation.” The idea is to help with community policing and crime reduction, officer safety, and wellness.

“In our commitment to find options that minimize and reduce the applications of the use of force, MPD plans to incorporate Presidia Gel® instead of OC/pepper spray products. While they are safe overall, traditional OC options are inflammatory agents which can cause acute and prolonged irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. OC can also unintentionally contaminate bystanders and closed spaces during dispersal where its irritating effects usually subside in under forty-five to sixty minutes. Presidia Gel® does not displace oxygen in subjects, and its dispersion system delivers a pattern which allows for it to be used indoors without affecting others around it. This translates into very minimum cross contamination. Presidia Gel® can be completely decontaminated in minutes by Reflex Remove® (usually under five minutes), meaning a drastically reduced time of a subject’s discomfort. MPD acknowledges and regrets that the use of force is sometimes needed in emergency situations, but we are committed to finding ways that reduce our reliance on the need for force through de-escalation, and that the force of options we employ are responsible,” Peete writes. 

The public may contact Chief Peete by calling 802-223-3445.