In light of National Police Week, one local organization is honoring those officers killed in the line of duty and caring for the mental health of the officers left behind.
As KTSM previously reported, Carmen East, the founder of Texas 635, created the organization when her husband Floyd East Jr., a Texas Tech police officer, was shot and killed in 2017.
Wanting to return the support she received when her husband died, she created the organization to assist families and loved ones of fallen officers and the mental health of those still in the force.
“Statistics show that they take up drinking or bad habits that harm their families or themselves,” Texas 635 Chief Operating Officer Angie Escarciga said.
Texas 635 said helping the families grieve is a main priority, but added their goal is to help police officers and other law enforcement process stress, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, or the loss of a partner.
“People don’t realize that law enforcement, they grieve differently, they have to hold back things because they’re still investigating they’re still taking calls they don’t have time to grieve like everybody else,” Escarciga said.
As KTSM previously reported, Texas 635 supported the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office when Deputy Peter Herrera was shot and killed on the job.
Carmen East said officer suicide is a major issue that isn’t discussed as often given the circumstances but noticing it happens, she wants to try to help prevent it.
“Last year we had approximately 150 we noticed it doubled that we had with suicides within concerning officers so that was a very big concern for us,” East said.
The non-profit said it’s currently in the process of developing a program designed to provide free counseling for law enforcement.
“We want to be offering PTSD retreats so that we can help then zen and help them with everything they see in the community,” East said.
She added that it is a fairly new organization so any donations from the public are greatly appreciated. You can donate or learn more about the non-profit here.
“We are needing corporate sponsors, we’re needing volunteers, we’re needing assistance from the public,” East said. “All the donations go to assisting families first and then the rest just goes to just being there to assists our officers who need counseling.”