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HoustonRodeo to Award 4 UT Police Team Members on First Responders Day

February 26, 2024 By: Victoria Vazquez

This year when the city hears “Let’s Rodeo, Houston” UT Police has more than just the concert lineup to cheer about! On First Responder Day, March 4, 2024, at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the First Responder of the Year awards will be presented to individuals who have exceeded and caused a positive difference in their performance as a first responder. 

For the first time, four UT Police team members will be recognized by HoustonRodeo for their bravery and outstanding performance. 

The honorees are nominated by law enforcement and fire-fighting agencies in the eight counties of the Houston metropolitan area and are chosen by the rodeo's Armed Forces Appreciation Committee. 

In January 2023, Senior Detective Brodie Riner and Investigator Philip Nguyen received a phone call that put their training and knowledge to the test. A woman was in crisis, threatening to harm herself, and needed help. Luckily, she had decided to call a crisis hotline which put her in touch with UT Police.  

Riner and Nguyen were quick to dispatch to the woman’s location. While driving they initiated a phone call with the woman, speaking with her and quickly assessing the severity of the situation. Showing patience and engaging in calm and empathetic conversation allowed the woman to talk freely with the pair.  

Upon arrival, Sergeant Michael Milner also joined the situation and provided more assistance in a calm, empathetic tone. He stated, “this is never a situation we like to get a call about, but when we’re there, we do everything we can to make sure the person knows they are not alone in their feelings of distress.” 

Milner and Riner were able to talk the woman into seeking mental health treatment following the event. When reflecting on the encounter Riner said, “What we do varies every day. It’s moments like these when I know I’ve helped someone in a big way that really make me feel lucky to have this job.”  

Public Safety Supervisor Lekan Kolleade will receive recognition for his life-saving actions in October 2022. While on duty, Kolleade diligently observed a person in their vehicle for an extended period, noticing something was not seeming right. He said, “I always have to be on high alert and aware of my surroundings as I patrol areas. I could tell something was off with the person in that car and they could be in distress.”  

As he got closer, Kolleade could see that in fact, they were unconscious. He immediately called for another colleague's help, and together they pulled the unresponsive person out of the vehicle.  

They began rotating administering CPR and chest compressions on the individual until the MD Anderson code blue team arrived.   

For these valiant efforts, Riner, Nguyen, Milner, and Kolleade will be on the grounds of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on First Responder Day ready to receive their awards in the presence of their fellow law enforcement peers.  

Officer Raul Tenorio of UT Police also received this award in 2021.  

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