Javier and Cathy Bustos

Cathy & Javier Bustos are Law Enforcement Peer Counselors. 
Throughout their careers they have experienced many critical Incidents separately and together. 
On August 18th, 2010 they experienced the trauma of a line of duty death for a fellow officer and friend at Cathy's police department in Cedar Park, TX. 
A month later on September 25th, 2010, Javier was in an Officer Involved Shooting in Austin, TX. 
Cathy & Javier were thrust into a new and changed world. They had to adjust their lives for the "new normal". It is important officers get help in the early days after a critical incident. The days of the macho "shaking it off" are in the past. 
With a combined 40 plus years of law enforcement experience their mission is to help other officers and their families deal with the stress of Critical Incidents. 
They serve as Peer Support Team members at the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX for quarterly Post Critical Incident Seminars and have several Texas certifications.


Shawn was hired in 1997 by the King County Sheriff's Office, exactly 17 years to the date after her father.  Shawn worked patrol, as a undercover detective, as a plain clothes detective and now is a explosive detection K9 handler.  She is a team leader on  her peer support team and works together with several organizations to ensure first responders know where to get confidential help if needed.  Shawn also volunteers and works closely with a non-profit organization called Code 4 NW, which is a confidential crisis/referral hotline for first responders and their families. Shawn created 1st Responder Conferences because she knows what they endure everyday.  By providing conferences, she hopes first responders will receive  information to process through the events in their careers in a positive way and reach out for help if needed.

Founder Shawn Thomas' Bio

Jeff has been a King County Sheriff's deputy since 1988.  Jeff started in patrol, worked as a detective, and then worked in Special Operations for over 18 years as primarily a swat deputy.  Jeff has been a field training officer,  motor officer, firearm's instructor, state certified swat and motor instructor, and has held numerous other certifications.  Jeff  believes that first responders need a place to seek information for career resiliency and to feel safe in those times when they need support.  In an occupation where we tend to "eat our young", Jeff hopes to assist our everyday heroes in any way possible.

Founder Jeff Thomas' Bio

1st Responder Conferences was devised by Deputy Shawn Thomas in 2016 after her peer support captain suggested putting on a conference in Seattle, WA, focusing on health and wellness of first responders.  Initially, it seemed like putting on a conference would be simple, but it was soon realized that there are many moving parts and the planning can be extremely challenging at times.  The good news was when the conference was announced, several other departments liked the idea of a health and wellness conference and began requesting them in different locations.  At that time, with the help of other entities, future conferences began to develop.  The Seattle conference was a great success and first responders reached out for confidential help.  Saving the lives of first responders made the planning and effort completely worthwhile.

 Since inception, several first responders, health care industries, doctors, therapists and first responder organizations throughout the country have become involved in the conferences.  Together it is our goal to make mental health a priority for all first responders and their families by providing education, support and confidential options for them when needed.

 We are constantly striving and working with others to help our everyday American heroes.  If you are passionate about helping first responders and want to join our efforts, please contact us.