Belonging. Family. You’ll never walk alone. These are the words that came to mind after a callout on November 16, 2022. That morning, I received a text from a Sheriff’s Department chaplain supervisor. The text said that there was an emergency at the STARS Center that needed a response from as many chaplains as possible. As you might recall, several Sheriff’s Department recruits were hit by a car during their early morning run.
After a phone call with our head chaplain and with one of the Psychological Services Department doctors, I heard more about what happened and where they wanted the chaplains to go. Of the hospitals where the injured recruits were taken, I went to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. When I arrived there, I met with one of the PSD psychologists and another chaplain.
The psychologist gave us an update on what was happening and the recruits who were there. We then went to various rooms in the hospital to visit with family members of the recruits. Fortunately, because the other chaplain spoke Spanish, he was able to converse and pray with the mom of an injured recruit in her heart language.
This was my first experience on such a callout. I’m glad the psychologist was experienced with situations like this and knew what to do.
We went to one area of the hospital where we were able to meet two recruits who were not injured seriously and were being discharged. In another area, outside the room of an injured recruit, many LASD deputies, captains, peer support and other LASD personnel showed up to provide support and encouragement to family members. We were also able to go to the ICU, where we were able to talk and pray with the family of an injured recruit. Even in these areas, I noticed a lot of LASD personnel. The Sheriff even came by to give support and words of encouragement to the family members.
Belonging. Family. You’ll never walk alone. From this experience at St. Francis on November 16, these words came to mind as I thought about not only this time, but also what I think of when I think about this department.
I observed that being part of the LASD was like being part of a family — a family who made you feel you belonged and who cared for you, especially in a critical situation like this. With all the LASD personnel who showed up, the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the old musical Carousel came to mind. Even if the injured recruits couldn’t see all the LASD personnel there to support, encourage and pray for them, they were there.