Denna Grogan always on the road to being KPD chaplain

Susan EspirituFountain City, Our Town Neighbors

When I first met Denna Grogan, I couldn’t help but sense something truly extraordinary about her. We were in the same graduate class, and she radiated a unique energy with an intangible magnetism that captivated my attention. We became teammates during the class and then workmates in the same school, and now lifelong friends. She has always been kind, generous and looking for ways to serve others.

While she is still serving students and teachers as an assistant principal, Denna Grogan’s drive to help others led her to become a certified chaplain with Knoxville Police Department over a year ago. She says, “My passion is helping people to cope with unpredictable emotions during challenging situations or crisis situations. It’s something that I have always been drawn to and I never shy away from a critical situation. “

New chaplain vehicles

As a volunteer position, the KPD Chaplain Corps is a support service for KPD employees and their families as well as the community in crisis situations. Denna says, “I really enjoy supporting our KPD officers who have the difficult task of serving our community on a daily basis.”

KPD Chaplains are credentialed by the International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC) at the basic, senior and master levels of law enforcement chaplaincy. Chaplains serve one on-call day per month responding for 24 hours to calls from the department in which a chaplain is needed. The chaplain completes a 60-hour training academy, attends monthly training meetings, has a minimum of five years of ministry or counseling experience, and completes one four-hour ride along with an officer per month.

Denna says that doing ride-a-longs with patrol officers is one of her favorite activities, because it is during this time that she gets time with officers and the opportunity to know them on a deeper level. She says she has learned firsthand how challenging their job can be and it gives her joy to support each one of them.

Of course, chaplains have challenging times. For Denna, “It’s very disheartening to arrive on scene where children are experiencing crisis. I draw on my experiences as a teacher and school administrator to provide needed support for them and their families. Death scenes are difficult as well. I maintain my composure knowing that my presence might bring comfort to a family member(s).”

Meeting Denna was like stumbling upon a hidden treasure, rare and precious, and I couldn’t help but feel that our paths crossing was more than mere chance. Now, those in crisis in our city are blessed with the gift of her calming presence.

KPD is looking for more Dennas. Interested candidates should contact the KPD Chaplain Office at 865-215-7485 or

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