Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Benji Phelps was recently recognized by Beyond the Badge Louisiana during its annual awards ceremony in Baton Rouge. He received the ‘Heart of Law Enforcement Award.’
The mission of Beyond the Badge is to educate the public about ordinary law enforcement officers performing extraordinary acts of kindness in their communities throughout Louisiana. Deputy Phelps was nominated for the award because of his act of kindness and going above and beyond on June 13, 2022 while patrolling on I-49 in Natchitoches Parish.
Here is his story that was published on social media where it garnered over 1700 likes.
NPSO DEPUTY FINDS SUITCASE ON I-49 NEAR NATCHITOCHES; TAKES EXTRA STEPS TO FIND OWNER
Little did a family from Henderson, Texas know that while traveling on I-49 in Natchitoches Parish to Florida on vacation and dropping off their daughter in south Louisiana for water skiing classes they would lose their daughter’s most important things, her suitcase, according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
On Saturday, June 13, Deputy Benji Phelps was patrolling on Interstate 49 near milepost #139 north of Natchitoches when he observed a large suitcase lying in the road.
Deputy Phelps stopped, took precautions and retrieved the suitcase from the roadway placing it in his unit.
Deputy Phelps would later check the contents of the suitcase finding clothes, cash, other essential items and a medicine bottle. The medicine bottle contained a patient’s name and pharmacy in Henderson, Texas. Deputy Phelps contacted the pharmacy and spoke with the pharmacist who was familiar with the family. The pharmacist agreed to assist and contacted the family asking them to call Deputy Phelps.
The father called, Deputy Phelps asked if they had lost a suitcase in which he said, “they lost his daughter’s suitcase while they were traveling from Texas somewhere and they were in the process of purchasing and replacing all of her lost items in south Louisiana.”
They needed to replace the items because she was excited to attend the week long skiing class in Zachary. The remaining family would continue to Florida for vacation while the daughter attended the class. Deputy Phelps informed the father that he found the suitcase on I-49 in Natchitoches Parish, that everything appeared to be in order inside it and that he would be glad to return it to them on their return trip.
Deputy Phelps and the family made arrangements to meet at French Market Express off of I-49 on June 18 to return the suitcase to the family. The suitcase was returned to the happy juvenile female, and she and her family continued their trip home to Texas.
Thank you Deputy Phelps for a job well done. Thank you for caring, and taking the extra steps to return the suitcase to the Rains family of Henderson, Texas. The father said the suitcase apparently flew out of the bed of the their pickup truck without them knowing it.
Deputy Phelps, a 27-year veteran, is assigned to the NPSO Warrants/Transportation Division. Phelps, his parents, Dr. Calvin and Mrs. Mary Kathryn Phelps, Major Chad Nelson and NPSO Director of Records Kristen Jackson were invited guests. Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright and everyone at the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office commend Deputy Phelps for going above and beyond his duties and thank Beyond the Badge for recognizing and presenting this award to him.