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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Class of 1963 donates to worthy cause

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Pictured from left are Sgt. Chris Boor, Brian Houston, Sherry Houston, Robert Houston, Nancy Jorren, Roberta McCaw, Nona Brewer, Dee Houston, Cmdr. Lindell Smith, Barbara Zednick, Camille Florez, Manuel Florez, Ann Eaker, Nan Houston, Dee McMath, Shirley Sanchez, Chief Don Raley and Sgt. Ricardo Huerta. (Tish Romine - Daily Press)
Pictured from left are Sgt. Chris Boor, Brian Houston, Sherry Houston, Robert Houston, Nancy Jorren, Roberta McCaw, Nona Brewer, Dee Houston, Cmdr. Lindell Smith, Barbara Zednick, Camille Florez, Manuel Florez, Ann Eaker, Nan Houston, Dee McMath, Shirley Sanchez, Chief Don Raley and Sgt. Ricardo Huerta. (Tish Romine – Daily Press)

The Artesia High School Class of 1963 made a donation Aug. 27 to the Artesia Police Department that has helped to establish the APD’s Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention Program.

The $350 donation was made in memory of the graduates’ classmate and friend Paul Houston, an officer with the APD from Aug. 27, 1968, until Nov. 3, 1976.

The APD’s program will center around ongoing research being done by the St. Petersburg College Florida Regional Community Policing Institute Center for Public Safety Innovation (CPSI) titled “In Harm’s Way: Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention.” The federally funded program offers training seminars and workshops nationally on suicide prevention.

“Students can form their own conclusions on the magnitude of the law enforcement suicide problem, its causes, and the best approaches to finding a solution,” said Cmdr. Lindell Smith of the APD.

The program consists of classes addressing interaction with people suffering from mental illness with the following goals:

• Understand the culture in law enforcement that can lead to suicidal ideation.
• Identify behaviors and communication that should not be ignored.
• Stress the importance of acting immediately.
• Understand the role of an agency’s leadership in effectively dealing with officer stress and suicide risk.
• Convey the importance of all of the above to every law enforcement officer that can be reached.

“The material is not only of use for law enforcement officers contemplating suicide but for use with citizens in crisis, as well,” said Smith. “APD would like to thank the Class of 1963 for the donation and Mr. Houston’s family for joining us during the ceremony.”

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