By Stacey Doud
The Police Officers’ Angels Foundation (POAF) is a non -profit organization that “provides emotional support and short-term financial assistance to any Texas Law Enforcement officer following a serious or life changing line-of-duty injury. POAF’s success relies on strong community partnerships standing behind our peace officers and their families,” which is their mission statement.
Maria Barreda-Alvarado started the Foundation after her son, Corporal Rick Barreda, who served with the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Airport Police Department, was killed in the line of duty on February 14, 1997. A vehicle struck his motorcycle as he sat on the side of the road gauging speeds. Rick also served on the DFW SWAT team and, for a short time, for the DFW Fire Department.
“Our official name is Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation because some folks confuse the word ‘Peace’ with ‘Police.’ We use ‘Peace Officer’ because we also serve our DPS Troopers, Deputies and Sheriffs’ Offices. POAF serves cities, state, and counties,” Barreda-Alvarado said.
In fact, POAF serves all 254 counties in Texas. “We are focused on the smaller cities and towns in Texas – the ones that don’t have support like a 100 Club,” Barreda-Alvarado said. “That doesn’t mean that we won’t help when we can in a big city. We just want to make sure the smaller places are covered, too.”
The POAF relies on memberships and fundraisers to stay afloat. They are hosting their inaugural golf tournament on Monday October 7, 2019 at the Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield. They, along with partner TLEOMF (Texas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund), organize the annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Night at a Texas Rangers game every fall. This year, it will be held on Friday, September 13 at Globe Life Park as the Rangers take on the Oakland Athletics.
As the last few years have seen a record number of first responder deaths and injuries, the POAF is very busy and is always in need of volunteers and financial support.
For more information or to find out how you can help, visit POAF.org. All donations are tax-deductible and a receipt will be provided.
“No donation is too small to make a difference.” – POAF Motto
By Stacey Doud
A Grand Prairie police officer, AJ Castaneda, age 38, was killed around 10:30am on June 7 while checking radar speeds on the shoulder of the George Bush Turnpike. A 17-year-old driver hit the officer’s vehicle and the officer fell off of the overpass onto the lower highway, about 20 feet below. He died at an Arlington hospital about 30 minutes later.
The person who came upon the accident and reported it was an officer from another city. He had the brains to get into Castaneda’s patrol car and radio directly to Castaneda’s agency in Grand Prairie to let them know what was going on.
I’ve been a law enforcement supporter for many years now, simply because I know I could not to that job, so I admire those that can.
In today’s climate, I often get criticized for supporting the cops; however, I am not a blind follower. I realize that there are bad apples in the policing field, just as in any area of employment. I feel shame when I hear about a cop abusing his or her privileges as peacekeepers.
That being said, I attended a candlelight vigil for Castaneda on June 9, which was held in front of Grand Prairie’s Public Safety Building.
I had never met Castaneda, but when something tragic like this happens, I like to lend my support, even if it’s providing another warm body at an event.
I got there a bit early and parked. As I walked up to the gathering spot, I was overwhelmed with the crowd. Literally hundreds of people, young and old, showed up to pay respects to this officer that I knew nothing about.
As I listened to the speakers, I came to understand that Castaneda was an exceptional officer. He raised money to provide meals every Thursday to the youth of an impoverished neighborhood in Grand Prairie. He saved the life of a choking baby. He earned medals and awards too countless to list.
The question everyone asks themselves when a good person dies popped into my head: Why him? Why him and not the cop that sits in the back of a parking lot all day or night watching movies? But does anyone’s life count “more” than another’s?
The wind was blowing pretty hard that night, and the candles wouldn’t stay lit. The chief suggested that folks turn on the flashlights on their phones instead. What resulted was a beautiful sea of light to honor this exceptional officer.
I cried and cried – not because I knew Castaneda – but because yet another person who had compassion and went above-and-beyond had been taken way too soon. Those traits are hard to find these days.
Remember when customer service existed everywhere? Remember when employees cared about your experiences in their stores? Remember when people would stop to help other folks in distress?
Those days are long gone, and so to lose someone who loved his job, had compassion for his fellow human beings and went farther than necessary to give a helping hand to people he didn’t even know was just another blow to the things we used to cherish, and want to cherish again.
RIP AJ Castaneda. End of Watch: June 7, 2019
They’ll take it from here, brother.
A Grand Prairie police officer was killed Friday after a crash threw him off an overpass on the Bush Turnpike, police said.
Officer Albert “A.J.” Castaneda, 38, was running radar while standing outside his SUV parked on the inside shoulder of the Dickey Road overpass around 10:40 a.m., Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye said in a news conference Friday afternoon.
The driver of a Nissan 300ZX heading north on the turnpike lost control and struck Castaneda’s vehicle, throwing Castaneda to the ground about 20 feet below, police said.
Read more from Dallas News…
Investigators have located the SUV belonging to a woman reported missing in Grapevine two weeks ago. After multiple searches throughout the city and lake area, a team using sonar equipment at Grapevine Lake identified a vehicle submerged nearly 400 feet from the shoreline.
Dive teams confirmed that the make, model, and license plate number match the vehicle owned by 66-year-old Joyce Payne. Due to the depth of the SUV and murkiness of the water, police have not yet been able to confirm if Payne is inside the vehicle.
Police and fire personnel will remain on scene until the SUV can be removed from the water. Grapevine detectives are in contact with Payne’s family, and have made them aware of the vehicle’s discovery. The Payne family is asking for privacy at this time as they await more information.
Grapevine Police thank the public for helping search for Mrs. Payne. Any updates on the case will be made after the vehicle is recovered.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Mayor Tate has declared this week (May 12 – 18) as Police Week and May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day in Grapevine. Be sure to thank a police officer today!
This week is the time to recognize and thank our community 9-1-1 dispatchers! Thank you for your service!
FUNERAL UPDATE BELOW
Pearland, Texas’s longest-serving Chief of Police, J.C. Doyle, unexpectedly passed away yesterday, April 3, 2019. He had recently retired in 2018.
Doyle served with the Pearland Police Department since 1979.
In his time with the department, he served as a patrol and motorcycle office, detective, patrol sergeant, lieutenant and later as the commander for a multi-agency Special Weapons and Tactics team.
From 1994-1999, Doyle served as Assistant Chief of Police under the direction of P.M. Hogg. Doyle succeeded Hogg as Chief.
He served as Chief from 1999 until his retirement in 2018, making him the longest-serving chief in the department’s 50-year history.
Chief Doyle was instrumental in acquiring and implementing the state of the art radio system and laptop system currently being used by the department.
He will be greatly missed.
[Fact source: The Reporter News]
[Editor’s Note: We at The Grapevine Source, especially because our beginning was in Pearland, wishes all involved peace and healing. You will all be in our prayers.]
**No procession after the service**
We don’t just lay down the law, we strive to help people in our community. And when we are done with our shift — sometimes we nap. North Richland Hills PD and Corinth Police Department, you are both challenged. #BackTheBLUEbonnets
TYLER, TX (KLTV) – A Tyler teenager who has spent years thanking police officers and first responders with her nationwide ‘Savannah Says Thank You’ campaign has received her own gesture of appreciation.
Members of Tyler Police Department surprised the family of Savannah Solis outside of their Tyler home Thursday morning. Savannah, her mother, and brother have recently been facing serious medical issues, and police officers wanted to show their support to the family. Officers collected donations throughout the week and offered them to the family to help relieve some burden of medical bills. The family also has a GoFundMe page set up to accept donations as well.
Read more from KLTV…