Lake Charles Police bring back Pastors on Patrol program
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Pastors on Patrol is back at the Lake Charles Police Department.
“This program started back in the early 2000′s and for some reason, that program didn’t take hold in recent years,” Police Chief Shawn Caldwell said. “When I was appointed, I asked Sergeant Lewis to breathe some life back into this program and he has done so and is doing a great job. It’s growing and it’s doing very well. It is another tool for the police department to bridge gaps between the police department and the community. Having these men and women of faith come in and see just a peek of some of the stuff that we are doing so they can express what we do to their followers."
Sergeant Franklin Lewis is in charge of the Pastors on Patrol program. He works in the Community Policing Divison at the Lake Charles Police Department.
“It’s always something I wanted to see happen here in our city,” Sergeant Franklin Lewis said. “This is a way for us to bring back compassion to the city of Lake Charles. I feel that a lot of people see us as enforcement officers, but I want them to see the other side of us, which is caring, compassionate, professionals out here trying to do a job.”
Both agree community policing is a top priority for LCPD.
“While we do have a division of community policing, it’s more of a department-wide concept,” Chief Caldwell said. “If we do not have the trust of the community, they are not going to come to us to report crimes if they witness crimes and we have to have that relationship in order to be successful in what we do.”
“We worked with the pastors once before,” Sgt. Lewis said. “We’ve gone out in communities and just walked around the communities and talked with some of the people there just to get an idea of what they’re experiencing, what they would like to see from the police department, and of course they are very experienced to see we have pastors on board with us. So this is why I am very excited to have them back with us again.”
The program allows pastors to be called out to a crime scene to comfort the family and aid law enforcement, as well as take ridealongs with officers to see what they do from day-to-day.
Some of the pastors involved say they not only see the crime from those in their community but from those in their congregation as well.
“I think it is going to be really exciting," Minister Tammy LaSalle with Christian Baptist Church said. "You hear about what a police officer goes through. I’ve never been in a vehicle with a police officer. I’ve been on the scene before, but however, going around looking at what’s happening in the community and being able to ride with an officer and if something actually is going on, that I can step out and bring calmness to the situation.”
“I think it’s going to be incredible,” Pastor Braylon Harris with Mount Olive Baptist Church said. “I think it is going to be a great opportunity for us to spend time with officers. And it’s not just for our community, it’s for our police officers as well because they are apart of the community. So having the opportunity to speak with them and share with them because many times, it’s not just the family that experiences that trauma. The officers experience it as well. To be there for them and pray with them and offer some sense of counsel or compassion is going to be very important I believe.”
It’s something the pastors involved and the department agree is a win-win for the community.
If you’d like to learn more about Pastors on Patrol, contact Sgt. Franklin Lewis by calling 337-491-1311.
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