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Austin and San Antonio Police Departments Step Up to Help One of Their Own

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Norma Villarreal is not a police officer. She grew up wanting to be and even studied Criminal Justice at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Life, however, had different plans for Norma. Her desire to serve never wavered. Neither has her support of law enforcement.

CTECC logo

Photo: Facebook/Mingfei Yi

Norma is one of the forgotten first responders. Each morning, Norma gets up, gets dressed and leaves her home in San Antonio at 4:30 a.m. She braves the challenging traffic between San Antonio and Austin to arrive at work at CTECC (Combined Transportation, Emergency and Communications Center). That’s where the county’s 911 call takers and dispatchers are stationed. Since August of 2014, she has worked in a temporary position as the Administrative Senior for APD’s Emergency Communications Division. In 2015, she accepted a promotion to Administrative Specialist, still a temporary position.

According to KXAN, Norma Villarreal says she was called to serve. She proves that calling on a daily basis. Norma graduated from the SAPD Citizens Police Academy in 2010. She followed that by graduating from the San Antonio FBI Citizens Academy in 2014 and the APD Citizen Police Academy in 2015.

She uses the knowledge gained to actively participate in a variety of law enforcement related organizations and charities. She served as President and Vice President for the SAPD Citizens on Patrol. She is also an active member of SAPD’s Volunteers in Policing as a Special Project’s System Administer. She serves SAPD’s Family Assistance of Police Survivors as an information coordinator. Also, she remains involved with the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association and the Austin Police Department Volunteers.

Her charities include Blue Santa, which provides gifts to needy children, and Hero’s Run. Hero’s Run is a 5k run/walk in honor of the fallen from the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001.

“Anything they do they can lose their lives,” says Villarreal. “They’re awesome people, they’re just like us. They will do anything for us on a personal level and a professional level.”

Norma Villarreal

Photo: Facebook/Norma Villarreal

Back in September of this year, Villarreal attended a Mammo Mixer. A Mammo Mixer is a free event for women. Attendees share a meal, have a massage, and then get a yearly mammogram performed. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer in one breast, and Stage 1 in the other. Villarreal told KXAN, “I refused to call it cancer,” remembers Villarreal, “So I called it an invasion, an invasion that was not welcome.”

She kept the cancer secret for many months. As a temporary employee, Norma does not earn sick or vacation time. She is not eligible for insurance coverage or paid leave. While she has basic medical insurance, the percentages she has to pay are high. Medical costs for treating breast cancer are astronomical.

When her co-workers discovered what was going on, they immediately set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover medical bills. 

Her co-workers say, “Norma has not asked for help. It is not in her character. However, as a law enforcement family, we are bound by a code of honor and loyalty; we are our brothers and sisters keeper. After everything Norma has done for us and continues to do for us, this is our opportunity to help her.”