Delivering God’s Love and Protection

Ken DeSoto has been a BCM chaplain serving the New Orleans Police Department for the better part of four years, but treats each call as a new learning experience. Despite their sometimes tough exteriors, police chaplains like Rev. DeSoto choose this line of work because their hearts and faith drive them to serve their community. With tears in his eyes, he recalls the intense emotion, pain, and longing he saw in the face of a woman he helped. Below is his story.

Police are often called to what is known to them as a 103M. Simply put, this is a potentially mentally disturbed person who might be off their prescribed medication, suffering a personal crisis, or even someone who has left the house and become disoriented.

The call stated that a strange woman was standing outside of a property where she did not live, and would not leave. We arrived to see an older woman standing on a walkway leading up to a residential porch. After introductions, she informed us that this was the place she was going to reside. She wasn’t doing anything wrong, but she was making the homeowners nervous since they didn’t know her or her condition. She just stood there swaying back and forth. Her eyes were badly infected. It was clear she was completely exhausted.

She didn’t say much, but she wasn’t trying to leave either. We explained that she wasn’t in the right place and needed to go home. She didn’t want anyone touching her, especially the police. She couldn’t seem to process her situation or make up her mind on what help she wanted to receive.

She didn’t trust the police or the EMTs and began to tell us about demons that were bothering her. At that moment, the officers looked at me as if to say, “She’s all yours, Chaplain.”

I introduced myself to her as a chaplain, a servant of God.

I introduced myself to her as a chaplain, a servant of God. I explained that she was not in trouble, she was safe, and that she could leave whenever she wanted. No person nor demon was going to harm her, and we were there to protect her from all threats both earthly and spiritual. Every time I thought I had her convinced, she would squint her eyes at me and say I was trying to fool her.

After much conversation, she allowed me to walk her to a police unit for a ride to the hospital. Once at the facility awaiting processing, she fell asleep in a wheelchair. I rolled her to the secure intake unit where we had to wake her up. When hospital security arrived, she looked at me as if to say, “Are you leaving me?” The look on her face broke my heart. But I had to go – we had more calls to take that day.

Even though I do not know her outcome, I am honored to have shown care to a distraught soul. God’s love and protection reached out to her as she stood lost and sick on a stranger’s lawn.

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