Terry Hofecker, pastor of Northwest Chapel Grace Brethren Fellowship, is currently embedded as a law enforcement chaplain with a unit in New Orleans. Here is a report he sent for sharing with the Fellowship:
I am a law enforcement chaplain attached to a five-person crisis response
team that is assessing the present emotional and spiritual devastation faced
by the New Orleans Police Department.
When their city came apart, these men and women faced horrific circumstances. Some understandably left to care for their families or otherwise fled but most stood to post in a nightmare scenario and acted heroically.
Today we delivered fresh uniforms to units who had not had a change of uniform or left their job since before Katrina. It was one of the most gratifying days I have ever had as a law enforcement chaplain.
We are camped west of New Orleans at a high school with a contingent of
Treasury Department US Mint Police with MP-5’s and cool cars who provide us
security for daily “thunder runs” into the city.
Our team is armed and we wear ballistic armor when inside the city. Some sniping, looting and arson are continuing, but the police, military and federal presence is becoming overwhelming. The bad guys’ days are numbered.
Finally, all citizens are being removed. I am still trying to figure out what “mandatory evacuation” meant. Believe me, it appears to be “mandatory” now.
We may be able to move into the city to stay overnight by the beginning of
next week. That would eliminate our daily thunder runs up the road berm!
The media has apparently stated that there have been multiple suicides by
officers who lost everything and had to fight for their city at the most
primitive level. I probably should not say the true number, but multiple is
Our job is to frame a response that provides these men and women with the best chance to recover and heal from their multi-dimensional ordeal. My fellow team members are consummate professionals with a heart for their law enforcement peers. I am privileged to be serving with them.
I was the first police chaplain that made it into many of these command
posts. I have been very well-received and am pleased that my presence has
been a comfort and encouragement.
I understand that other Grace Brethren pastors and people are serving in this crisis in many roles. It makes me proud of our Fellowship. One of the members of our church is commanding a deployment of 10 officers from Dublin here in the city. I saw them briefly at the city emergency operations center on my first day, but not since then.
The main job we all have now is to help others be healthy and safe and return home healthy and safe ourselves. Lord willing, I’ll have plenty of stories for
you then! Right now we all need your prayers for strength and safety. And
the men and women of the NOPD need all our prayers as well.