Esther Seoanes, PursuitSAFETY Speaker
Esther’s passion and focus is education and awareness. Esther, an acute care nurse practitioner, understands her vocation as facilitating healing. “It’s so important to me that I provide the best possible care for my patients, to improve their overall health with the goal of restoring them to their pre-acute illness phase. My job is demanding, but it provides me with great pleasure and fulfillment when patients are back to their baseline health.”
She brings to PursuitSAFETY this same optimism and determination, hoping to restore a trust between law enforcement and the public it serves — a trust too often broken by unnecessary or avoidable pursuits. As PursuitSAFETY’s executive director, Esther works side-by-side with PursuitSAFETY founder Candy Priano.
“I rely on Esther as a thoughtful and resourceful advocate for PursuitSAFETY,” Candy stated. “Poised and articulate in her outreach to the press and officers, she brings energy to our cause.”
Yet underneath Esther’s strengths, Candy sees the person who answered a reporter’s questions during a TV news broadcast in June 2012, just days after her husband, James Williford, became another innocent victim of a police pursuit.
“The image of a wife with a broken heart, determined to turn a tragedy into a push for reform, never escapes me,” said Candy about the first time she saw Esther. “I felt immediately connected to this caring, young woman and saw in her the leadership skills that fit perfectly with PursuitSAFETY’s mission.”
Esther joined PursuitSAFETY’s Governing Board April 3, 2013. Since that time she has participated in strategic planning, managed the 2014 Safer Way Award review process, and served as media relations coordinator. Her collaboration with Candy has led her to host Candy in her own home in Austin and to travel to Chico, California, making friends of Candy’s cats and sharing her own small dogs with Candy, who was only too eager to snuggle with them. Esther and Candy work as a team as they add and expand PursuitSAFETY programs while defining a more effective division of roles. Candy continues to expand PursuitSAFETY’s victims’ advocacy program, where, she says, “my heart lies.”
Esther takes inspiration from her late husband James Williford. “I feel blessed to help others, and I believe that’s why I was given the gift of my husband James. James was an amazingly helpful, caring and compassionate person. We met at a local trauma hospital where James had dedicated 15 years of service. He was known by others as a man who got things done and provided great rapport while being a great healthcare servant.” Williford’s car was struck by a fleeing driver as he was on his way to deposit a contribution in a healthcare fund for a former co-worker. “He taught me through his selfless actions to help others without expecting anything in return.”
“I aim to spread the PursuitSAFETY message,” Esther said while talking about PursuitSAFETY’s advocacy work in Washington, DC. “This trip with other advocates made me realize that there is a huge deficit of knowledge about police pursuits. This is a preventable problem. Education and awareness will lead to change: necessary change to improve the safety of our roads. By educating new teenaged drivers, we can help prevent the disastrous impulse decision to flee. By speaking with law enforcement about the dangers inherent in police pursuits, we can encourage safer ways of apprehending suspects.”
One alternative method of apprehending suspects that Esther promotes is the use of new and established pursuit reduction technologies. She was particularly pleased that this year’s Safer Way Award honors officers who regularly use technologies such as the long-available tire deflation device, the spike stick, and she commends the officers for deploying it before a pursuit could begin. “The Safer Way Award allows us to connect with law enforcement and support them in promoting safer alternatives to apprehending suspects. We hope the award encourages officers to learn from past award recipients to seek alternative methods, so as to minimize danger to the public and themselves.”
Contact Esther Seoanes
Cell Phone: 512-351-0289
Bilingual: English & Spanish
About Esther’s late husband James Williford
Tallahassee, Florida: PursuitSAFETY’s Esther Seoanes of Texas shared her story of personal loss during a class at the Florida Public Safety Institute conference in October. A police pursuit resulted in vehicle crashes that killed Esther’s husband, James, an innocent bystander. She spoke during instructor Thomas Gleason’s class, “Understanding Police Pursuit Policies.” About 300 officer trainers attended the eighth annual Florida Public Safety Institute conference. Esther said, “We are fortunate to provide a service to help save lives by promoting safety to officer trainers throughout Florida. Our personal stories strive to help change the culture and promote safety first to civilians and police officers.”
Esther Describes the Crash that Killed Her Husband, James Williford.
Esther Seoanes talks to you through a USA Today Interview, July 2015
- Attendees may receive these print-quality handouts at PursuitSAFETY presentations
PursuitSAFETY’s Training and Safety Tips
View Videos on PursuitSAFETY’s YouTube Channel.
Agreement for use of PursuitSAFETY images and videos: These items or likenesses of these items cannot be used to encourage people to flee from the police. PursuitSAFETY is anti-crime. Any misrepresentation, likenesses or information will be subject to the penalties of the law.
Unless you have made other arrangements with Esther Seoanes, this picture of Esther Seoanes may be used only for the following reason: Legitimate news/magazine/web stories about police vehicular pursuits. This picture or likenesses of Esther cannot be used to encourage people to flee from the police. Esther Seoanes is an advocate for law and order. She is anti-crime. Any misrepresentation of Esther’s picture, likenesses or information will be subject to the penalties of the law.