Story by Dan Truijilo, PIO, Las Cruces Police Department

The six Las Cruces Police Department officers deployed to Puerto Rico on Nov. 10 returned home Saturday evening after nearly a month on the island. But, for two of the officers, their commitment to the young residents of the hurricane-stricken territory will continue.

LCPD officers

LCPD officers deployed to Puerto Rico

During the deployment LCPD officers Jose Prado and Manuel Soto visited Escuela Elemental Candido Berrios, a grade school in Humacao, Puerto Rico, and learned that its students were desperately in need of supplies. Much of the school was damaged by flood waters and most the children’s school supplies were lost when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico.

So, Prado and Soto coordinated efforts with Las Cruces’ Sierra Middle School and together they have – unofficially – adopted Escuela Elemental Candido Berrios. Prado serves as a school resource officer in Las Cruces.

School Supplies

School supplies damaged by flood waters.

Prado, Soto and Sierra Middle School hope to collect elementary school supplies – pencils, notebooks, pens, paper, rulers, glue, erasers, crayons, color markers and 3-ring binders – that will be shipped to the children at Escuela Elemental Candido Berrios in Puerto Rico. The officers hope the collaboration also leads to a few pen pal communications between students at Sierra Middle School and Escuela Elemental Candido Berrios.

Anyone wishing to contribute new school supplies can do so at Sierra Middle School in Las Cruces, 1700 E. Spruce Ave. School supplies can also be dropped off at the Las Cruces Police Department, 217 E. Picacho Ave., or the East Mesa Public Safety Complex at 550 N. Sonoma Ranch Blvd. Organizers hope to ship the collected school supplies to Puerto Rico in January.

The six Las Cruces Police Department officers – Sgt. Jaime Quezada, Sgt. Thaddeus Allen, officer Joshua Herrera, officer Charli Velasco, officer Jose Prado and officer Manny Soto – were deployed to Puerto Rico to assist in law enforcement duties in the wake of Hurricane Maria. They deployed on Nov. 10 and were originally scheduled to return to Las Cruces on Nov. 25. Their deployment was subsequently extended to Dec. 9.