Sheriff candidates Bob Guimont and Kenny Furlong agreed Thursday with members of the Carson City Ministerial Fellowship that the department needs to restore a chaplain program.
Carson City pastors asked for a commitment from both candidates to put the program back in place.
"Carson City is lacking right now in support services," Furlong said. "We don't have a support system in place and we do need it."
Guimont said the chaplain program has been overlooked. He said clergy needs to be involved with law enforcement.
"Law enforcement (personnel) are in psychological wards because they don't know how to handle situations, both public and private," said Guimont, adding he attends Calvary Chapel in Gardnerville when his schedule allows.
"Deputies need to be taught it's OK to be public about their faith and they need to learn how to pray. Nobody discusses their faith.
"My wife taught me how to pray and how to ask (God) for help in what's important in my life. I'm proud of my profession and I'm proud of my family.
"The Carson City Sheriff's Department needs the chaplaincy program. The individuals in this room have so much to give (the community), they need this outlet. This will help lighten the load on the deputies."
Guimont said proper chaplain training would include operation of equipment, handcuffing and weapons training if requested by the pastor.
Able to chide and trade jokes with one another, Furlong and Guimont answered questions posed to them by the pastors .
Furlong, a longtime member of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community, said bringing back respect and integrity to the sheriff's department is also a priority.
"We must hold our people responsible for their actions, good and bad," Furlong said. "And the community must be more involved with the sheriff's department. We need to have activities that involve the entire family -- we must open doors in every aspect to the community."
Guimont said pastors in the chaplain program would have access to the National Crime Information Center as part of their support program. NCIC is a computerized index of criminal justice information containing criminal record histories, fugitive information, stolen property and missing persons data.
Guimont also said he believes in positive reinforcement. "We're cops, for God's sake, both Kenny and I," Guimont said. "If we can't stand up for the community, who can? It spills over into our personal lives."
Furlong said access to the sheriff's department begins with the sheriff himself. The sheriff must go into the community and make himself available, regularly attend public meetings and listen to what the community has to say.
"There has to be an avenue for the public to rely on," Furlong said.