Sunday, May 28, 2023


Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader has recently initiated a “Family Assistance Unit” composed of the four existing volunteer Chaplains within the agency and has assigned this new unit to the Special Operations Division of the Sheriff’s Office. Presently these Chaplains donate their off duty hours and volunteer their services for spiritual guidance or counseling, upon request, to any member of the Sheriff’s department who wishes to take advantage of this service. Now, with the expansion of this program the newly formed Family Assistance Unit will again, upon request, assist family members in handling church related issues involving the on duty death of a Deputy or any family member of the agencies personnel. In addition, these Chaplains will also be available to any other First Responder agency in Liberty County upon their request for such services. In the event that one of these Chaplains are not of the particular faith of someone who is requesting their assistance, one of the Chaplains will help contact a Minister of any other faith the family may need. They can also assist in securing funeral services at a particular church a family may want and attend to many of the other church related details that distraught family members may find  difficult to deal with during such a traumatic period of time in their life. The Sheriff’s dispatcher will maintain the “on call” telephone numbers of these Chaplains for twenty four a day, seven days a week call out response when needed.

Presently Pastor Delmar Coward of the Cornerstone Interdenominational church has been the longest serving Chaplain for the department and he is the primary Chaplain to assist in the County jail where he has served for the past two years. Chaplain Coward has attended the International Conference of Police Chaplains and is well versed in what that organization teaches.

Father Ted Smith of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the City of Liberty holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theology, a Master of Divinity and is an active member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. Chaplain Smith is also very active in the Sheriff department’s “Citizen On Patrol” program through the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.

Pastor Howie Howeth of the Dayton First Baptist Church is a graduate of the East Texas Baptist University and holds a BAS in Christian Ministries. Chaplain Howeth is the youth minister at First Baptist Church and is very active in his community.

Pastor Kevin Howard is Pastor of the Sanctuary of Cleveland Church in north Liberty County and is also an active member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. Chaplain Howard just recently returned from their conference and found many like-minded Ministers there that supported their local law enforcement agencies in so many ways.

This is not necessarily a new concept as many law enforcement agencies across the nation have similar Family Assistance Units for their personnel but normally they are only found in the larger departments. It is quite unusual to find such units in the medium to small agencies but as Sheriff Rader is quoted as saying, “… We are fortunate here in Liberty County to have such dedicated Pastors who want to further serve their communities on their off duty hours by donating their knowledge, compassion and resources. We greatly appreciate their service to our department…”.

Each Chaplain can be quickly identified by the pocket I.D. Chaplains badge that is worn on the jacket breast pocket or shirt pocket. So if you happen to see one of these dedicated Sheriff’s Chaplains around our area, please take a moment and thank them for the unselfish donation of their off duty hours to the first responder agencies and to the citizens of our local community.


Chaplain Howie Howeth, Chaplain Ted Smith, Chaplain Delmar Coward, Chaplain Kevin Howard.

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