OCCUPATION: Baton Rouge police officer and chaplain.
Sgt. Duren Boyce joined the Baton Rouge Police Department 19 years ago. His primary duty with the department is with the alarm enforcement division. His secondary and voluntary duty is that of a police chaplain, which he has been for the past 12 years.
How many chaplains are with the Baton Rouge Police Department?
We currently have 13 chaplains: 10 are police officers, one is a civilian employee, and two are honorary pastors from local churches, one of whom has prior law enforcement experience.
What type of services do the chaplains offer to both their colleagues and the community?
The chaplains are a voluntary division supported by Chief Dewayne White’s office. We respond to officers involved in traumatic incidents, including but not limited to officer-involved shootings. Although we are notified primarily by the police dispatch system or by a scene supervisor, we also are called by and respond to officers who call us personally. We also stand ready to help our civilian employees who face traumatic situations in their everyday lives, whether work, family and/or social. And, on many occasions, we have responded to invitations by the community to conduct invocations, participate in community meetings, visit a school and, in some cases, come to traumatic crime scenes with multiple victims.
Why did you get involved in the program?
Having experienced first hand the number of traumatic events that officers go through and how these events personally affect them and their families, I wanted to help.
Do chaplains have specialized training?
Our chaplains have received a variety of training, some of which is through the International Conference of Police Chaplains. The training covers topics such as critical incident stress management and peer support. Our civilian chaplains are licensed by the Louisiana State Chaplaincy Board, and each of our chaplains began with a background in ministry through a personal relationship with God and active involvement in their respective churches.
Are the chaplains participating in the Baton Rouge Area Violence Elimination Project? If so, how?
Currently, the director of the project, Herbert “Tweety” Anny, is one of our chaplains. All of our chaplains, however, are at the project’s disposal and ready to respond as needed. As chaplains, we meet each week to pray for the protection of all of our officers, the success of our department as a whole, and for peace to come to the city of Baton Rouge.
How can faith-based programs help combat violence in the Baton Rouge area?
Faith-based programs are designed to provide just that, a basis for faith, hope and love. Our scriptures define faith as the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Programs that provide earthly resources for success, supported by faith that our creator loves us enough to have a plan for our lives, allow a person to have hope that they can live more abundantly, believing that if they do their best, God will do the rest. We hope that faith-based programs will encourage people to place their trust in peaceful solutions that offer a peaceful direction to their life challenges. Faith–based programs help men, women and children see God’s love and possibility in the realm of God’s will, which brings about a change in the hearts of people.
Advocate staff writer Kimberly Vetter