Salute Our Heroes: TPD Chaplain Randy Lesseski helps families and officers work through hardships

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 9:11 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka Police Department Chaplain Randy Lesseski describes his work as a “ministry of service” to help officers and families in some of their most difficult moments.

“If I’m called to a scene, there has been a fatality,” he said.

“It’s my job to kind of relieve the officer of talking anymore to the family, interacting with the family, so I can comfort the family, take part in that and let the officers do their part of the job.”

Lesseski said he has to act fast when he is at a scene.

“You don’t know what you’re going to until you talk to the officer,” he said.

“As soon as I talk to the officer, they tell me what they need and I do what I’m able to do in order to comfort the family at that time.”

He said the efforts need to come from a genuine place.

“I believe it’s a calling it has to be a calling,” he said.

“If you’re called it makes you that easier if you’re in that place if you try to fake it it doesn’t work.”

He said there’s comfort in getting to know the people behind the uniform and help them process the emotions of their work.

“Sometimes, when we have something happen, we box it, we tag it and put it on the shelf,” he explained.

“There’s sometimes I can’t get it on the shelf right away or an officer can’t put it on the shelf right away and so we work through that portion and there are some days where a lot of the boxes fall off the shelf and if we can just read each other and be aware of each other, there are good days and bad days and so the healing part of that is being able to keep the boxes on the shelf.”

He hopes the community sees the people beyond the badge.

“Please let the officers be people, they don’t get a chance to be people very often, they don’t get to punch out and go home,” he said.

“What I learned, is that they are people just like us with homes, families, their own problems, family problems but they’re only viewed by the badge they wear,” he said.

“My goal is to allow them to be who they are and give them some love.”

Lesseski credits the other chaplains at TPD for keeping the officers at ease each day.

He also attributes his previous work as an Outreach Pastor at Central Park Christian Church for helping him work through difficult situations.

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