LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's another night on the job for Lake Charles Police Corporal Brenda Desormeaux, who knew at an early age she wanted to be a cop.
"My uncle retired here as a lieutenant so when I would see him come home on occasion and visit him and he was in that uniform and the patrol car I guess my fascination kind of drove me to this. This was the only department I ever wanted to work for," said Desormeaux.
Desormeaux said her heart is in patrol and loves the challenge. Like any women who puts on the uniform over the years she has had to prove herself time and time again.
"After 12 years of doing this I take great pride in knowing that the men I work with do not question my ability nor question me showing up on their scene. I've had a lot of them tell me they prefer me on their scene," said Desormeaux.
While most officers will tell you their primary weapon is their gun, Desormeaux believes hers is her verbal skills.
"I like to talk to people. I like to figure out things and try to figure out their problems," said Desormeaux.
After a few traffic stops we're dispatched to an apartment complex about a questionable subject looking into cars.
"While I'm on my way there I think about what's a suspect going to do when he sees me. If I do find him is he going to run, is he not going to run? Is he armed with a weapon? Is he not armed with a weapon," said Desormeaux.
"As I patrol I'm looking for broken glass on the ground or in the parking lot. Doors that may be open to vehicles. Things that would lead us to believe the suspect committed a crime. At the same time I'm also looking for any other evidence of crime," said Desormeaux. "Between the computer, the radio and driving as well as trying to stay safe - you have to be able to multi-task for sure."
After several rounds of the parking lots of the apartment complex it appeared the suspect had left the scene.
From that time on the calls are non-stop. From there we are called to an armed robbery in progress at a convenience store on Louisiana Avenue. Desormeaux assists and pursues a search behind the store after witnesses report seeing the suspect flee on foot.
With each call Desormeaux knows the risks involved.
"We are all fearful the next call I go on may be my last. Or when I left my house today and hugged my daughter bye it could have been my last time," said Desormeaux.
After a thorough search Desormeaux believes the suspect is not in the area. Other officers are patrolling the streets as we are dispatched to a call for help at the Walgreen's on McNeese and Ryan Street after a customer passed out inside the store.
Desormeaux is pleased she could assist until paramedics make it to the scene. Moments later we are en route to another robbery. Unlike the other one we are in the right place at the right time as another officer spots the suspect vehicle. As we weave in and out of the construction cones on Lake Street with police lights and sirens the suspects eventually pull over.
Officers order the suspects out of the van. Desormeaux helps clear the van and cuff the four suspects. After they are identified by the victim all four suspects are charged with simple robbery and booked into the jail.
Cpl. Desormeaux will tell you it's been a good night and encourages other women who might want to wear the badge to take the chance.
"Is this dangerous? Absolutely! Is it a little bit more dangerous for us? Absolutely! But don't let your fears overcome you. I like to do this job because I like to make a difference and if that's something you would be interested in I would definitely suggest it," said Desormeaux.
If you're interested in a career in law enforcement you can contact the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office or Lake Charles Police.