When Laura Castaneda, an Avondale mom of seven, knew four of her daughters would not have their dads with them for their father-daughter dance, she immediately thought to reach out to police officers for help.
Four officers from the Avondale and Phoenix police departments attended a father-daughter dance with four of Castaneda’s daughters on Friday night after receiving a heartfelt email from Castaneda.
“I don’t trust very many people but I trust law enforcement,” Castaneda said.
Castaneda said she poured her heart into an email to the Phoenix Police Department, which she filed as an incident report.
She said she set up an interview with Officer Hugo Lopez of the Phoenix Police Department and was nervous to hear if they would be able to attend the dance at First Baptist Church in Avondale.
“I got the message and I remember being so excited… and then I got to tell the girls and they were even more excited,” Castaneda said, speaking at a press conference with two of her younger children.
Four of her daughters, ages 5, 9, 10 and 13, attended the dance with Phoenix police officers Hugo Lopez and Chris Abril, and Avondale police detectives Edward Corona and Derrick Montgomery. The girls were not available for comment.
Lopez said the Phoenix Police Department enthusiastically supported Castaneda’s request.
“We wanted to see if we could help them out in any way we could,” Lopez said.
He said the girls were full of energy and hard to keep up with at the dance.
“We just followed the lead with the girls,” Lopez said. “They’re great.”
Corona, who works in the Avondale department’s Special Victims Unit, said it was heartwarming to be asked to attend the dance.
“Me being a father myself, I knew how important it would be to Laura and her children and I wanted to make it magical for them as best as I could,” Corona said.
Corona said he recently took his 15-year-old daughter to a father-daughter dance and that he knew the significance behind it for the girls.
He said he wants the public to see that police officers are approachable, regular people.
“At the end of the day we’re fathers, we’re brothers, we’re sons,” Corona said. “We’re here to serve the community in any way that we can.”
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