Meet the officer: OPD’s Raul Marrero

OKEECHOBEE — Officer Raul Marrero was born as the middle child, having an older and younger brother, in 1968, and grew up in a town located on a beach in Puerto Rico. He has been a resident of Okeechobee for the last 18 years. “I was asked to come to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office in 2000 to help with the disturbance in the jail, and was then asked by, then Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) Sheriff O.L. Raulerson, to stay,” Officer Marrero stated.

Officer Raul Marrero, OPD

As a youngster in a beach town, Officer Marrero, “spent every minute of it at the beach,” noting that there was no lack of activities. “There was lots of things to do; fishing, snorkeling, watching the birds, surfing, hanging out with the commercial fishermen at the wharf and helping them catch fish. They would always give me part of the catch, and my parents loved it that; I always came home with seafood,” he said. The infrequent moments when he was not at the beach were spent playing with friends. “We would play war in the woods close to the river, it was like capture the flag but with BB guns. Man we were rough!”

Officer Marrero graduated high school at age 16 from the Ramey Job Corps Center. His favorite subject to study was history stating, “It fascinated me to learn about the historical connections between events that happened, and how they played a role in our present,” and his favorite sport was football. “I loved playing football! You could let out your frustration and the pent up energy. I believe that football kept me from getting into a lot of trouble growing up,” expressed Officer Marrero. His favored part of attending school was; getting to see his friends that lived in other neighborhoods, while he held a dislike for his school food and bullies stating, “Our cafeteria was awful! I also could not stand the bullies, and since I was kind of rough, I would ask them to pick on me, but most of them would not as they were chickens anyway.”

Officer Marrero is also a veteran of the United States Army, having served for a period of five years on active duty and attained the rank of Specialist (E-4) with a primary military occupational specialty (MOS) – which identifies a specific job – as a combat medic and secondary MOS of artillery. He stated, “I wanted to be in the army since I was a kid. My dad, his grandpa and my great uncle had all been in the military also, so to me it was natural to join the army.” Officer Marrero’s military life took him across the Pacific Ocean to the Korean peninsula where he turned 18-years-old during the Cold War. “It was during the Cold War and at that time it was the most dangerous place you could go in the army.

It was an experience that I am glad to have had.” He said the most difficult aspect of participating in the military was; his time spent gone from those that mean the most, family and friends. Officer Marrero explained, “When I left for Korea, Raul Jr. was 11-months-old and when I returned he was almost two years old. He was walking and talking, and had no clue who I was.”

Officer Marrero began working at the age of 13, delivering a newspaper route. His worst job he conveyed was at the Okeechobee Boy’s School. When asked why he chose a profession in law enforcement, Officer Marrero answered, “I was recruited into this profession, and then after a few years, I realized that I liked it.” As mentioned earlier, Officer Marrero has worked for OPD for 2 years, but actually has 20 years in total as a law enforcement officer, as he was an OCSO deputy and police officer for his hometown in Puerto Rico previously. He said the job has taught him, “If you do not take care of the community that you live in then you are not going to like the community you live in. Some people do not like us (cops), but without us they would not like to live here too much. The thin line between order and chaos is what ensures our happiness.” Officer Marrero credited OCSO Deputy Captain John Rhoden as his biggest career influence stating, “He would tear your police reports and pick out all of the grammar errors, get your attention when you were not being safe and above all taught me that, ‘you can do this job even if it tears you up inside.’ He used to tell me all the time, ‘they’re people too,’ and to have compassion and respect for the people that we deal with. Officer Marrero is not the first member of his family to work in the law enforcement field as his dad, uncle and older cousin were all correctional officers. He also has an uncle that was a prosecutor and another cousin who is a judge.

Officer Marrero is also currently working on his Associate in Arts degree for Criminal Justice from Indian River State College. He noted his favorite subject to study was Constitutional Law and that one of his most memorable moments was from a midterm exam, “Dr. Ackerman asked us to summarize six chapters in modern language association (MLA) style of 300 words for each chapter, complete with citations in under four hours for a midterm exam. In other words, he wanted you to do six, 300-word essays in four hours.”

Officer Marrero is father to six children: Raul Jr., 32; Ivan, 29; Katelyn, 22; Joseph, 20; Alivia, 10 and Noah, 9. He enjoys his spare time with his family, going to church and adventuring to new places as they love to travel.

Other than the present time period, Officer Marrero said he would like to have lived during the American Revolution and that he would like to have met Benjamin Franklin and French aristocrat and military officer, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. “Franklin thought outside of the box, bettered himself through self-teaching and was one of the first American philosophers. Lafayette believed in our innate yearning for freedom, regardless of country or race,” Officer Marrero said of the historical figures.

If he could possess one super-human power, Officer Marrero said he would like, “The power to detect veracity,” or conformity to facts, “That way you could sort out the truth.”

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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