Photo by Jason White
Police Chief Jason “Jake” Simmons, left, swears in Jason Harrison as an associate Alton Police Department chaplain while Mayor Brant Walker looks on.
ALTON — Police Chief Jason “Jake” Simmons on Wednesday swore in a new associate police chaplain whose mission is to build trust among the city’s black residents.
Associate chaplain Jason Harrison, 31, took the oath of office at the City Council meeting. The police chaplain program, led by the Rev. Marc Lane, a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, provides spiritual support for police officers and crime victims.
“I’m excited to serve my city,” said Harrison, a lifelong resident of Alton-Godfrey and the youth pastor at Deliverance Temple Church of God in Christ in Alton, where his parents are pastors. “I couldn’t ask for a better mentor, Senior Chaplain Marc (Lane). I thank God for Chief Simmons even allowing this. This was monumental for us to see how far our city and our world have come to even allow a position like this. I’m excited.”
Harrison said his role is to be a community liaison and to reveal opportunities and “a different life” to young black residents.
“We have come a long way,” Harrison said.
Simmons said Harrison will help the police department build trust with the black community and alleviate investigative barriers like the “no-snitch” code that stigmatizes talking to police.
“He can help us overcome that barrier,” Simmons said.