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APD Operator Helps a Family Stay off the Streets

Friday's Hero: Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Operator Valerie Castillo.

October 9, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE - Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized an Albuquerque Police Department (APD) 911 & 242-COPS Operator who went well beyond just handling a typical phone call by personally reaching out to the caller to help change their circumstance. Valerie Castillo, an APD Telecommunicator, helped keep a family of three off the street by privately paying for a place for them to stay.

On July 11th, 2015, a mother, father and their seven month old baby were on the verge of being evicted from their temporary hotel residence due to their inability to pay for another night’s stay.  Having no one to turn to, they called 242-COPS for any type of assistance they could provide them with. On the other end of the call was Valerie Castillo. Castillo heard the family’s plea for help and started by sending APD out for a welfare check.

APD Officer Lee Acosta was assigned to the case and immediately went to check in on the family. He provided resources and shelters that could help the family however, the family expressed reservations about going to a shelter that could separate the family. 

Castillo followed up with Officer Acosta directly to see what he had found and asked if she could help the family in any other way.  Officer Acosta relayed to Castillo that the family was still without a place to rest that night. Castillo asked the Officer if her husband, Patrick Castillo, a retired APD Officer, could meet him and pay for the family’s room.  The Officer met with Patrick where he paid for the family’s hotel stay for a week. The Castillo’s felt that a week would give the family enough time to figure out their next step.

Valerie Castillo’s generosity and compassion demonstrates that not all heroes have to save lives; it just takes a person to perform a selfless act with a selfless heart.