Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department swore in Keegan Allen as one of the newest members of the IMPD Chaplain’s Office on Jan. 26. He will assist local police officers and spiritually support the community through pain and grief.
Allen, a 20-year-old Black man, said God called him to be a chaplain. Church has always been a part of his life, describing himself as a “churchy kid” who would rather go to church than to haunted houses like his peers during Halloween. His faith has led him to being an associate pastor at Eden Missionary Baptist Church, a worker at Sprowl Funeral & Cremation Care and a former worker at the Marion County Coroner’s Office transport department.
While Allen knows being a chaplain will have its challenges, he is up for the task and excited for the experience.
“Not many young people get to have a chance like this — to be a mediator, to stand in the gap for the community and the officers to have a relationship,” he said. “So, it’s really exciting.”
IMPD Public Information Officer William Young is thrilled to have Allen as a member of their team because he believes Allen will bring a new perspective to the police department and help connect police officers to the community.
“We have 21-year-old officers now,” Young said. “So, he will be able to relate to that group of officers too, as well as out in the community. That’s wild. That’s amazing to me.”
After about four months of training and shadowing other IMPD chaplains, Allen had his first official shift as a chaplain recently. Allen said he values his strong support system, which includes his family, friends and other chaplains.
Making sure to communicate with the people in his life, he said, will be the biggest help for him — when it comes to maintaining his mental health — so he can continue showing up for the community.
“It takes a lot of strength, I can say that,” Allen said. “God-given strength most of all, especially being my age.”
He hopes his new position can inspire young adults to embrace their differences and choose the path that is best for them.
“You can be different,” Allen said. “… Life has many things to offer, but it is up to you to pick the offer that life gives you.”
Allen is also a part-time student at Vincennes University, taking courses to become an American Sign Language interpreter.
Jose Rivas was also sworn in as chaplain. He was born in Honduras and has been doing ministry work since he was 10 years old, according to a Facebook post from IMPD. The Southport High School alum has been living in Indianapolis since 2007 and has also served as a worship pastor for Iglesia Indy Tabernaculo.
Contact religion reporter Abriana Herron at 317-924-5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Abri_onyai. Herron is a Report for America corps member and writes about the role of Black churches in the community.