Meet the officer: OPD’s Sgt. Aurelio Almazan

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee Police Department Sergeant Aurelio Almazan was born 1986 in Torrance, Calif. He is the middle of five children – having an older brother and sister along with a younger brother and sister – and grew up in Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., before moving to Okeechobee in 1997. He has now been a resident here for 21 years.

Sergeant Aurelio Almazan, OPD

During his summers as a youth, Sgt. Almazan would spend numerous days helping his father in the strawberry fields along with skateboarding, riding bikes, roller blading and going to the beach with his friends and cousins. His favorite game to play back in those days was hide and seek.

“I remember we used the entire neighborhood as our playground,” Sgt. Almazan stated.

“My brother and I used to have a large collection of Hot Wheels cars and Legos that I used to enjoy playing with.”

Sgt. Almazan graduated from Okeechobee High School in 2004. His favorite subject was History. His favorite sport was soccer.

“I had played soccer since I could remember and would spend the afternoons kicking the ball back and forth to my brother in the middle of the street,” he recalled.

Sgt. Almazan said his favorite aspect of school was being able to socialize with his friends.

“We would get in trouble laughing and talking all period,” he said laughingly. His least favored part of attending was the, “getting up early, or what I thought was early back then.”

Sgt. Almazan’s first employment experience involved him being a stock person for a local grocery store and that his worst job was being a security guard, which he said he disliked from boredom and that it only lasted two days.

He began with OPD as an Auxiliary Officer in May of 2008 and chose to stay because of the esprit de corps that is exhibited within the agency emphasizing, “Our department is like a family, not only do we see each other at work but we also hang out outside of the department. To me, that’s worth more than money.” Sgt. Almazan informed that he chose law enforcement as a profession for many reasons, one being provided the opportunity and capability to have an impact on the youth in the community and being able to help those in need.

“Some of my younger childhood memories were of police officers coming to our school for the D.A.R.E. Program and I remember wanting to be like them. It’s a good feeling when you’re a peace maker and know that you’re on the front line in the battle against evil,” stated Sgt. Almazan. When asked how his career created value in his life, Sgt. Almazan responded, “My career has afforded me the opportunity to be exposed to many different situations, I’ve seen a lot of bad that it makes you appreciate all the good that much more.”

Sgt. Almazan said there have also been many influential people in his life throughout his career as a law enforcement professional.

“My father has always taught me to work hard and I have taken my work ethics everywhere I go. Major (Donald) Hagan and Officer (Cesar) Romero always push me to be a better person physically and mentally. Sgt. (Skip) Eddings allowed me to sit in the passenger seat since day one ‘showing me the ropes’ of what and what not to do. Also, my brothers and sisters, drive me to be a better person,” Sgt. Almazan communicated. He is also the first member of his family to work in law enforcement.

When he’s not in service with OPD, Sgt. Almazan enjoys exercising by lifting weights, working on his trucks and hanging out with his family with backyard cookouts. He also is the father to two little girls, one 7 year old and one 7 months old. Sgt. Almazan said that he would like to live in the early 1960s, “when the muscle car era was in effect,” and that if he could meet anyone, “it would have to be Mexican Revolution leader Emiliano Zapata Salazar, because he was a realist with the goal of achieving political and economic emancipation of the peasants in southern Mexico and leading them out of severe poverty.”

When asked which super-human power he would like to possess, Sgt. Almazan answered, “I would love the ability to make people happy. With happiness, I would imagine that it would be hard for a lot of evil to exist.”

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