Detroit SWAT Officer Finds God During an Operation


My name is Emery Esse, former US Marine Sergeant 0311, OORAH! 

I was on the Detroit Police SWAT Team. Over 1000 police officers tried out for the team. Only 16 of us were chosen. 6 of us were Marines.

On our first operation, we were called out to deal with a mentally disturbed man pouring gasoline around an apartment building. Patrol officers had originally responded to the scene.

A lieutenant, a friend of mine, had been called out. When he arrived, the gunman fired through the door, killing him. SWAT was then called out to the scene.

using force
(Photo – Wikipedia)

My team Alpha was the entry team. I asked if we could pray before going in. My partner, Frank Walls (former Marine), was angry because I wanted to pray, but I still prayed asking for God’s protection. I had been witnessing to Frank for over a year at that time, but he would not receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

We cut off the electricity to the building and shot gas into the apartment before going in wearing our gas masks. Frank entered first after breaking down the door with a ballistic shield. I was right behind him.

The concealed gunman shot Frank in the back, missing the metal trauma plate by inches. Frank’s last words were, “I’m hit” and fell at my feet.

 I didn’t know Frank was dead. I was calling out to him, where are you? I was standing in the middle of the room looking for the gunman. I didn’t know where he was shooting from. The gunman then fired at me with his rifle from a distance of only 10ft. or so. The flash of the rifle gave up his position. As I saw him getting up to fire again at me, I pointed my pistol toward him and fired eleven rounds, hitting him seven times and killing him.

I immediately ran back to Frank, but he was dead. Little did Frank know that day, he would face God. I turned to my other partner and said, “did you see that? God lit him up for me.” He said, “Emery, that was just the flash from the rifle.” I responded, “like I said, God lit him up for me, I’m still standing!” 

Detroit SWAT Officer Finds God During an Operation
Who is on your team? (Richmond Police)


That was a sad time in my life. However, my story doesn’t end there…

I was born and raised a Shiite Muslim in Detroit area. After high school, I joined the Marine Corps. I served 2 ½ months in Vietnam and after 2 years was promoted to Sergeant. In 1970, I married my high school sweetheart Margie. My parents told me to ask her if she would convert to Islam. She said, “NO!” So I said, “OK!” You see, it didn’t matter to me. I was born in the U.S.

One day, my sister-in-law and her husband invited my wife and I to a Christian church. I went thinking that no one in my Muslim family would find out. We heard the gospel preached for the first time. The Pastor had everyone stand up and said, ‘if you want to know for sure where you would spend eternity, Heaven or Hell, come forward and we will show you in God’s word, The Holy Bible.’

My wife was the first one to go forward and responded by receiving Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Right away I noticed a change in her, I could not explain it. When we left the church I asked my wife if she was still a Catholic? She replied, “No, I’m not”. I asked her how that could be because in Islam we were taught that you cannot ever change your religion. She said in her religion she knew of Jesus in her head, but now Jesus was in her heart! I warned her never to show the Bible to our son. I didn’t know it at the time, but as a Muslim man, I was allowed to beat my wife if she didn’t submit to me (Surah 4:24) according to the Koran. The next two years that church continually prayed for me.

Meanwhile, I made life miserable for my wife. I did not let her use the car to go to a church she found a mile away from our home, so she walked regardless of the weather. I took our son to the mosque. I was fighting against Jesus! Christian men from her church would come and talk to me about Jesus and the Gospel, but I tried to ignore them.

law enforcement suicides
(Courtesy DanSun Photo Art)

Then, on August 26, 1975, I had a dream: The dream was as real as I am standing here in front of you. I was in combat running alongside another Marine; there were explosives all around us. We jumped into a foxhole and landed in right in hell at the feet of Satan! It was so real to me. Satan was laughing and pulled out a big knife and started stabbing the guy who was with me. I kept trying to stop him, but he would just laugh. I got out of bed wide-awake at 4:30 a.m. and got down on my knees.

I prayed, asking Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my heart and save me. That I was placing my life and faith in Him only for eternal life. As soon as I did that I felt a great burden lifted off my shoulders, and I was filled with joy in my heart. I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

That was the greatest moment of my life. I thank Jesus for dying for a sinner like me. Praise the Lord!

I called the Pastor of the church I had visited and shared with him my coming to Jesus. I then told him I wanted to be baptized. I asked him if I still could go to the Mosque and pretend I was still a Muslim, because if my parents find out all hell will break loose! I assured him I knew I was Saved and a Christian! He said, “go, don’t worry; the Holy Spirit will let you know.”

Easter evidence


I went the next Sunday. I didn’t even own a Bible yet nor read one. When the Imam started to speak, the Holy Spirit convicted me and I got up and left the Mosque forever! Like Jesus said in JOHN 10:25-30. Only been back for my parent’s funerals and a couple weddings where my wife and I were asked to leave.

Since then God has used me to reach many Detroit Police Officers and now He is using me to reach Police Officers and Military personnel throughout the world through my Ministry.

Maybe you are here today searching for the truth. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free”(JOHN 8:32).

I am asking you now as I have asked many cops, people if you were to die today, do you know for sure 100% where you will spend eternity?

Will you turn from your sins and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior today? Today, if you are hearing His voice, don’t harden your hearts. COME!

Let’s pray!


In His Grip,

Emery Esse

Emery Esse is a retired Detroit PD SWAT member and Police Chaplain.


Detroit SWAT Officer Finds God During an Operation

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