Police Reports

Montpelier nixes volunteer police chaplain

By Guy Page

A Montpelier Police Department decision to work with a Baptist volunteer chaplain has been reversed as a result of “conflict within the community,” the Montpelier Police Department said March 12. 

Rev. Chap Taraski (right) and wife Nelia

The new pastor of a local Baptist church has extensive training and experience in alcohol and substance abuse, mental health/suicide prevention, and military post-deployment readjustment. Montpelier PD has been seeking assistance with interactions between officers and mentally-ill people ever since August 2019, when Mark Johnson, 62, a local man known to have mental illness, was shot and killed by a police officer.

On March 9, the Montpelier Police Department posted on its Facebook page:

“Pastor Peter “Chap” Taraski of the Resurrection Baptist Church will become the Chaplain for the Montpelier Police Department. Chaplains play a vital role in providing spiritual guidance to department members and their families as well as to those in the community who may wish for 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. The program is simply another resource or option where the department can provide care and services to those who may want it. MPD is looking forward to working with our new ‘Chap!’”

Three days later, it became clear that no such ‘working together’ would occur. 

The Montpelier PD posted on the same FB page: “Earlier this week, the Montpelier Police Department published a press release announcing that Pastor Peter Taraski had volunteered to work with our staff as a Chaplain focused on providing an additional outlet for our team and their family members to reach out to when dealing with the mental and emotional demands of the profession. In efforts to avoid any further distractions or conflict within the community, Pastor Taraski will no longer serve MPD as a volunteer. I am extraordinarily grateful to him for reaching out and offering his time to our department.”

The latter FB post had 56 comments, only one of which was available to Vermont Daily Chronicle. “Huge loss for the department and the community,” Chris Autry wrote. 

Resurrection Baptist Church is located on 144 Elm Street in Montpelier. According to the church website, “Rev. Peter Taraski is a native of New Jersey and has most recently pastored in Sweet Home, Oregon. He says he is ‘nobody special, just a man who loves the Lord.’ He has training in mental health/suicide prevention, alcohol and drug recovery, and post-deployment readjustment. ‘Chap’ began his ministry in Montpelier on October 1.”

Other than the desire “to avoid any further distractions or conflict within the community,” no reason was given by Montpelier PD.

15 replies »

  1. He is: White, “Loves the Lord”, and goes by “Chap”. And its Montpelier. If he were Dark, atheist, and went by “Axe”…he would be embraced heartily. And you know its true…..

  2. Glad this is getting statewide awareness. Is this a sign of things to come for other Christians being sidelined from community endeavors?
    What is happening to our rights of free speech and religion?

  3. The community wanted somebody more….inclusive and inersectional, pantheist perhaps, of color, Democrat ticket voter, etc.etc…Christians and conservatives need not apply for “the accepted community” wants nothing more than to sweep these squares away so peace and Aquarius will rule the planet as one liberal village.

  4. Soon no one will volunteer, no one will serve. The ignorant bullies continue to administer the gulag. We have seen the damage they have done to law enforcement so far.

    • Resist the urge to quit community service volunteering. People of faith are called to wash the feet of others – that is to be servants assisting and mindful of the comings and goings of what is happening in the house (community.) Happy Lenten Season.

  5. Our school districts have PAID staff that are allowed to encourage students to lop off their genitalia, taxpayers fund needles and syringes but a volunteer Chaplain gets the axe…welcome to 21st century Vermont.

  6. Two words: Spiritual Battle. THAT is primarily what we are fighting here in the U.S. & in this once conservative Christian state.

    To those who are following & enabling evil – God is the enemy, and therefore exactly what this man represents. And sadly, as more & more Vermonters lose their backbone, Satan’s laughing becomes more & more audible.

    A church (yes, a CHURCH) on one of the main drags in Colchester – gave a “drag queen” story hour for their youth last year & promoted it proudly on FPF.

    We are under assault – Vermonters: WAKE UP & STAY AWAKE!!!

  7. I get the sickening feeling that someone’s arm at the Montpelier Police Department, or in Montpelier Town government, was twisted to the point of breaking, to cancel the volunteer services of “Chap.” The identity of the thug or thugs that were doing the twisting may never be known for certain, but I’m willing to bet they were stupid, progressive, woke, and liberal individuals of some influence in Montpelier. That’s Vermont for you now these days–no good deed goes unpunished…

  8. What a sad community-they’re missing out on a lot of good. I really enjoyed your parish in Sweet Home. It was you and your family that made it a welcoming, fun community experience.

    • Chap Teraski is a fair, good, and professional chaplain. This type of cancel culture hurts the community members who need a ray of hope during a traumatic time. The police department seems to have made a hasty decision to avoid conflict. This article leaves me with a few questions: Are those who are attacking the choice of Chap Teraski going to voulunteer instead? Did the police department call Chap’s references to see if he is professional with people of all faiths or no faiths? If Chap Teraski doesn’t qualify, who does? His family is diverse and his background and training equip him with the ability to connect with almost anyone. I personally can vouch for Chap Teraski, as I connected with his family as a public educator.

  9. I’ve known ‘Chap’ for almost 30 years. In that time I’ve never seen him in any situation, especially a critical or emergency setting, look at someone and ask if they were straight, gay, or bi-sexual. I don’t know of a time he hesitated to do his duty because he saw someone who was black, brown, or any other color. I’ve never witnessed him hesitate to serve both his local community even more those in his community who may not like his lifestyle or personal values. What a waste of a resource and value to those who live in your community. His life is the example of his faith and dedication. Chap, you are a good man and loved way beyond the smallishness of your community!

  10. Well he’s white, undoubtedly straight and married to a woman and probably believes in the standards of conduct expressed in the Bible. Thus offensive to far too many of the outspoken denizens of Montpelier. There are I’m sure many who would support him but they are afraid to risk the vicious cancel culture they would provoke. Sad.

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