In February of 1973 three Internal Revenue Agents were killed in a tragic late evening auto accident. Death notifications needed to be made to the families located in cities outside the Washington, D.C. area. Chaplain Joseph Dooley was extremely frustrated at not being able to locate or contact other law enforcement chaplains for assistance. Chaplain Dooley dedicated himself to assuring that never again would he find himself isolated from other law enforcement chaplains.
A Letter and A Response:
In June of 1973 a letter was sent to the president of 175 police associations, chiefs of police of major departments across the United States, and law enforcement chaplains. Chaplain Dooley outlined two distinctive goals for a proposed chaplains association:
- Compile a directory of chaplains, including their department or police association affiliation and contact information as to how they could be reached.
- Promote the bond of brotherhood so chaplains from far reaching communities in the United States and Canada would be joined together in fellowship. The association would serve as a clearing house for helpful information pertinent to police chaplains.
A Historic Meeting:
In October of 1973 the first group of chaplains gathered at the Sheraton-Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. for the purpose of organizing the International Corporation of Police Chaplains (ICPC). The official name of our organization was then changed to The International Conference of Police Chaplains at a later meeting.
For the first time, chaplains from every part of the country had a forum to share their experiences, concerns, hopes and dreams for law enforcement chaplaincy.
If Dooley had any doubts about the interest and commitment of his fellow chaplains they were soon allayed. The response was immediate and extensive. In less than two months over three hundred chaplains had returned their applications for membership in the new organization.
The great response can be attributed to the chiefs of police, local police associations, F.O.P. lodges and chaplains themselves. It was truly a cooperative effort of many people.
A need had become a vision; the vision had become a plan, the plan became a reality.