COMPTON, Calif. (FOX 11) - "You need some help" asks Compton Deputy Rafer Owens. He's talking to a student doing homework at YAL, the Youth Foundation for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. It's a typical day on the job for the veteran deputy who now works community relations in his hometown.
At a time when some in law enforcement say they can feel unappreciated, Owens is beloved. His captain Michael Thatcher calls him the unofficial mayor of Compton.
Owens is not only a veteran deputy with 30 years in the department. He has also been a pastor for 22-years at Compton's Faith Inspirational Baptist Church. Each Sunday he leads a packed church with a mission to "take back Compton."
Owens grew up in gang territory, on the infamous Piru street. His brother, listed in the history books as a founder of the Bloods. Unlike his older brother Vincent Owens, he had no interest in the gang life. He was a good church-going kid and one day some deputies suggested he join law enforcement.
Owens says even though he's a deputy, he's still just a regular person.
One of the programs he's most proud of is a leadership program that helps people who've been incarcerated get back on their feet. Project Restoration is a joint program helping those who qualify get criminal convictions expunged from their records.
For more on Deputy Rafer Owens and his family story see: Compton deputy has a story straight from the streets.
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