News Release

UPD and partners hosting training for emergency responders March 20

Contact: Christina Chapple


     HAMMOND – The Southeastern Louisiana University Police Department is partnering with the Hammond Police Department, Gulf States Regional Center for Public Safety Innovations (GSRCPI) and the Foundation for Officers Recovering from Traumatic Events (FORTE) to sponsor a special training session for emergency responders.

     “The Bobby Smith Story and Dealing with Trauma” is scheduled for March 20, 8 a.m. to noon, at Southeastern’s Student Union Theatre.

     “Many officers are what we call ‘the walking wounded’ from the stress and tragedy they see and suffer from on a daily basis, compounded by the horrors they experienced during the Katrina and its aftermath,” said GSRCPI Director Daphne Levenson. “The goal of bringing Bobby Smith and other GSRCPI courses to this area is not just to produce better officers for the public but to help them heal and be better family members and members of our communities.”
     FORTE, a partner nonprofit organization providing counseling and training for officers and their families, was established in 2001 by Bobby E. Smith, a former Louisiana State Trooper who was shot and blinded in the line of duty. Smith is now a renowned international speaker on dealing with the emotional effects of trauma. He is the author of two books, “Visions of Courage, the Bobby Smith Story” and “The Will to Survive,” published in 2005. 

     His workshops are recommended for emergency responders, spouses, supervisors and agency heads, and are also appropriate for civic leaders and clergy.

     “When we were asked by HPD to host this event, we were ecstatic to help,” said Mike Prescott, director of the Southeastern UPD. He said Southeastern criminal justice students may also want to attend.

     A dynamic and moving speaker, Smith has spoken throughout the United States and in several countries abroad and has headlined major events such as the FBI National Academy and National Sheriffs’ Association Conference.

     Although founded and guided by Smith, FORTE is run locally by Pastor Paul Triay, a pastor in the Hammond area for the past 16 years. A trooper for 10 years, Triay was Smith’s roommate at State Police Academy. Both GSRCPI and FORTE are considering relocating their headquarters to southeast Louisiana.

     The training is free, but pre-registration is required. A tax deductible donation of $10 or $20 per person is suggested. For additional information and to register, visit

More News...