Approximately 200 police chaplains and spouses have descended on the community this week for the International Conference of Police Chaplains.

This special event is being held at the Texarkana Texas Convention Center. Participants have  traveled from cities across the nation such as St. Louis, Missouri, Lubbock, Texas, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and even Upland, California. The conference will run through Thursday.

Since 2016, Texarkana Texas Police Department Lieutenant Shawn Fitzgerald has been working with local TTPD Chaplain Tommy Gaither, also the Pastor of Walnut Church of Christ, who is a member of the group, to bring this conference to Texarkana.

In 2017, Jennifer Montoya, Director of Convention Services for the Convention Center travelled to Branson, Missouri to bid on the conference and earn the business for the 2018 event. Together, this group of community leaders have lined up an impressive panel of speakers, trainings, and demonstrations for conference attendees, including local speaker Bobby Ables, who will be the featured speaker at the 2018 ICPC banquet.

Montoya is excited to host the group in Texarkana, Texas. “These folks have been so great to work with,” Montoya said. “Anytime we can bring visitors to Texarkana, offer them top-notch service, and boost our local economy, we consider that a win.”

Excluding the conference’s banquet on Thursday night, most meals will be off-site, meaning local restaurants stand to gain business from visitors to our community. Restaurants, such as the Golden Chick on Richmond Road, On the Border, U.S. Pizza Company and the Silver Star Smokehouse, donated coupons and gift cards for participants to enjoy.

The International Conference of Police Chaplains was founded in 1973 by Washington, D.C. Police Chaplain Joseph Dooley.

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 Dooley was extremely frustrated at not being able to locate or contact other law enforcement chaplains for assistance, so he dedicated himself to assuring that never again would he find himself isolated from other law enforcement chaplains.