Ambassador and Advocate
Raul Rivas grew up in the Orlando area. After graduating high school, he attended college and obtained an Associate Degree in business. Raul then enlisted in the Army Reserve, and served overseas during Desert Storm. Raul was sworn into the Orlando Police Department in 1992. He was first assigned to midnight patrol. Then he had stints on the bicycle squad and gang unit, before moving on to a multi-agency undercover drug task force named the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (MBI). Raul was a field training officer and developed an interest in investigations and Swat. Raul spent 12 years in the robbery unit with cross-sworn duties with FBI Safe Streets and ATF Violent Crimes task forces. At the same time, Raul was an assault team member on the Swat team. Raul moved to the Fugitive Investigations unit and was cross sworn with the U.S. Marshals.
Raul has received numerous awards and accolades including the Award of Valor, Field Training Officer of the Year, Swat Operator of the Year, and Florida Governors Award. Raul currently sits on the Florida Swat Association, Swat Roundup International committee.
Raul Rivas served 18 years with Swat team and served as an Assistant Team Leader. Raul was one of the Swat team members involved during the “Pulse nightclub incident” shooting in Orlando, Florida. Raul received an Award of Valor for his actions and involvement in the Pulse Incident. Raul retired from the Orlando Police Department in 2019. Raul went through his own mental health challenges and with the help of others, found ways to cope with his inner demons. He then joined the Trauma Behind the Badge (TBTB) team in 2020. TBTB helps to raise awareness among first responders, veterans, and their families about mental health resources. Raul is part of the TBTB weekly webinar that consists of 4 first responders discussing all aspects of PTSD in first responders and veterans. Raul also sits on the board of the Survive First Foundation. Survive First Foundation provides support to first responders, veterans, and their families navigating mental health challenges. Raul is also a product ambassador with Lighthouse Health & Wellness, a 100% confidential health and wellness app platform at no cost to public safety agencies.