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RodeoHouston to Honor UT Police Officer

RodeoHouston may have been cancelled last week, but one top prize is still going forward. UT Police at Houston has been informed that Officer Raul Tenorio was selected as a recipient of the First Responder of the Year Award.

Each year, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's Armed Forces Appreciation Committee invites first responders throughout the Greater Houston area to submit nominees for the First Responder of the Year Award. Wayne Smith, Jr., captain with the University of Texas Police at Houston, nominated Tenorio for his role in a life-saving incident.

"I’m honored, grateful, and blessed to have received such prestigious award," said Tenorio. "Overall, it was a team effort and I’m glad we were able to help the individual, who was in imminent crisis."

The chairman of the Armed Forces Appreciation Committee and the vice-chairman for the First Responders Day recently notified the recipients of the award, which comprise 10 award winners representing various local first responder agencies.

On May 26, 2020, UT Police Officers responded to the fifth floor of UTHealth's University Professional Building garage where a man was threatening to jump. Upon arrival, the officers found the man holding on to an external railing.

Although several officers tried to de-escalate the situation, the man responded most favorably to Officer Tenorio's approach. Officer Tenorio showed patience, care and empathy toward the man and, ultimately, was able to talk him off the ledge.

Captain Smith said he nominated Officer Tenorio because he embodies the department's core value of Caring. He also says the work first responders do is important year-round, but this particular recognition is especially important due to the coronavirus pandemic. "First responders are in close contact with the public and taking a big risks to keep everyone safe."

Officer Tenorio also received a UT System Life Saving medal for his role in this incident during last year's virtual Promotions and Awards Ceremony.

Normally, First Responder of the Year recipients would be recognized in-person on First Responders Day at the Houston Rodeo, which was rescheduled to May this year. However, HLSR recently announced that they are cancelling rodeo festivities this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Armed Forces Appreciation Committee hasn't yet announced how they will honor award recipients this year.

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