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 Interview







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DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL 50TH ANNIVERSARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT Interview with Sergeant Orlando E. Alvarez Interviewed by Sergeant Linda Perkins Date Interviewed February 20, 1989.



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LP: Today's date is February 20, 1989, and the time is 1:10 p.m. I am interviewing Sergeant Orlando E. Alvarez at a residence of 1401 139th Avenue. Interviewer is Sergeant Linda Perkins and this interview is being conducted for the Florida Highway Patrol oral history project. The FHP will observe its 50th anniversary in 1989. This interview will establish your knowledge of and your input into the past history of the Patrol. Please give me your full name for the files. OEA: Sergeant Orlando E. Alvarez. LP: What does the E stand for in your name, your middle name? OEA: (Unk) LP: Okay, what date did you start with the Florida Highway Patrol? OEA: September 9, 1979. LP: Okay, what recruit class would that put you in, do you remember? OEA: 58th recruit class. LP: How many people were in the 58th recruit class?



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OEA: We graduated with something like 42 or 43. LP: Do you remember how many you started out with? OEA: It was about 51 or 52. LP: So you didn't really lose too many, did you? OEA: No we didn't. LP: Do you know why they dropped out? Did they drop out because of grades or pressures at'home or...? OEA: It was mostly academic. There were one or two with family problems but mostly all was academic. LP: Where were you born? OEA: I was born in New York City. LP: How long did you live in New York? OEA: I lived in New York until I was about 20 or 21. When I graduated from (Unk) University I moved south to Miami. LP: When you attended your school you stayed in New York the whole time until you were 21?



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OEA: Yes I went to 4 years of college in New York City. LP: What elementary school did you attend? OEA: I attended Our Lady of Lords Elementary School and my 4 years of high school were spent at (Unk) High School which was a pre-ROTC type high school. LP: When you were in high school were you in ROTC? OEA: Yes I was. LP: Did you go....how many years was it? OEA: Four years of high school and upon completion of the 4 years in addition to my degree I received a junior ROTC diploma. LP: Okay you stated you went to university. How did you decide to go to the particular university that you chose? OEA: I had spent 8 years with nuns and then I spent 4 years with Jesuits and when you completed....when I completed high school I kind of felt the subtle pressure from the Jesuits to continue my education at another Jesuit institute of higher learning. At the time there were several in New York and still are (Unk) University, St. Johns University and I decided to go with (Unk) University.



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LP: What degree did you get? OEA: I have a bachelor of arts in history. LP: In history? Okay when you graduated from college what did you decide to do then? OEA: Well I decided to come south to Florida to where my parents were at the time. They owned and operated a restaurant on Miami Beach and I worked with them for the next 2 or 3 years. LP: You worked...you learned restaurant business is that what you did? OEA: Yes I did. I was in the restaurant business with my father. It was a spanish restaurant cuban cuisine. LP: So when you worked in a restaurant how did work from a restaurant and then decided that you wanted to be a trooper? OEA: There was a lot of time in between 73 when he sold the restaurant until 79 when I came on the Patrol. During that time I held mostly jobs in sales. I sold encyclopedias door-to-door. I worked three years ..... let me back track a bit... the restaurant was sold in about 71 so about 71 to 72 I worked with Triple AAA emergency road service. After that



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I sold encyclopedias door-to-door. I sold advertising for the Miami Herald. I sold women's wigs. I was in several different selling jobs then my folks went to Puerto Rico from about 73 to about 76 and had a clothing store. I was with them during that time in the clothing business. I returned back to Miami about 76 and from 76 to 79 I worked in another clothing store in Dadeland Mall working for (Unk) clothing store and after doing that 3 years there that's when I came on the Patrol in 79. LP: Okay let's back up I didn't get your parents name your father's name and your mother's maiden name. OEA: My father's name is same as mine, Orlando E Alvarez, Sr. and my mother's name is Josephine Alvarez and her maiden name is Bonilla, B-o-n-i-l-l-a. LP: Okay when you lived in New York did you live in New York with your parents? OEA: Yes I did. LP: Okay, at one point you said your...you came down to Miami with your parents. When you were in college did your parents come to Miami or...?



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OEA: No when I graduated from college in 70 my folks already had been in Miami for 2 years. The last 2 years of college when I completed them I was staying at my aunt's house. LP: Why did your parents decide to come to Florida and why did they pick Miami? OEA: Well because my father wanted to open up another restaurant in Miami. He had had several restaurants in New York and he just decided that Miami was more of a growth area and he came down here during that time period and opened up his place. LP: So you didn't have any relatives or anyone down here when your father decided to move to Miami. OEA: No we didn't have as many relatives here in Miami as we do now. From that time until now several relatives have moved from New York to Miami but when I got here in the early 70's I had very very little relatives living in this area. LP: How many brothers and sisters do you have? OEA: I am the only child. LP: You are the only child? Okay, what made you decide to become a trooper? What gave you the idea?



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OEA: I'd always had in the back of my mind to go into law enforcement but I have gotten like side tracked into a lot of things and I had a lot of experience dealing with people and I decided that it was time to pick a career and I decided to use that knowledge I had gained by dealing with people in selling and being in the restaurant business and my love for law enforcement so I combined the two and came on the Highway Patrol. LP: Why did you choose the Highway Patrol over the other agencies though? OEA: I guess for the visual image the black and yellow, the uniform. When I came on the Patrol I took a cut in pay. It really didn't bother me. I knew I could have been making more money going to another agency but I think the visual thing was very important to me. LP: When you say you took a cut what are your referring to a pay cut what job did you hold at the time you came on the Highway Patrol to compare the salaries? OEA: Well at that time when I came on the Patrol my salary was about $12,000.00 a year and in the clothing store I was working at which was Barron's my commissions were running about $14,000.00 to $15,000.00 a year.



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LP: When you came onto the Patrol what was your first duty station? OEA: The same as it is now, Miami. LP: So you have been in Miami your whole career? OEA: Yes I have. LP: Did you have time adjusting once you got out of the recruit class and onto working the road in really your first year? OEA: Not really because I was working in an area that I knew. I thought often about guys from my recruit class that were being sent to other parts of the state and I would think about how they would have to be learning the new roads and adjusting to new customs. I really didn't have to make that adjustment. I was working where I had been living for the last ten years so it was quite easy really. LP: What was the recruit class like for you? Were you surprised at anything or was it what you expected? OEA: Well I was always envious of those guys that had previous law enforcement experience and would just come out of the military because they I felt had an advantage over me having been in law enforcement through another academy a lot of the



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stuff was something they were familiar with and those guys would just come out of the Marine Corp. or whatnot were still of the mentality of the army and they were able to fit into a military organization like ours very easily. I had to make an adjustment. I had gone through junior ROTC but that can't be compared to serving 2 or 4 years in the service and I had no previous law enforcement experience. LP: When you attended the Academy how many weeks was your class? OEA: It was 12 or 13 weeks. LP: Okay, of the Academy what did you dislike the most? OEA: I never really had anything, I never really found anything I disliked. I mean there were certain inconveniences that I learned to put up with. LP: Okay, what were the inconveniences? OEA: Well, the fact that we would be carrying a badge and a gun and we would have powers of arrest and could make life or death decisions and there were some rules that I found were a little petty and maybe they weren't treating us as men and treating us more like children. LP: In your Academy class did you have boxing?



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OEA: Yes we did. LP: How long did you have to box? OEA: We boxed for about 7 weeks into the Academy once a week. LP: Who was your boxing instructor? OEA: It was Walt Sherman. Sergeant Sherman. LP: I bet you have some fond memories of him don't you? OEA: Yeah, I really don't like the idea that they dropped the boxing. When you were put out there to box in the gym they never mismatched you. They never would put a fellow like me that was 5'8" with some gorilla that was 6'4". They always put someone that was about your weight and the idea was to see what you were made of if you were there to play or to stay. Occasionally someone would get a bloody nose or a broken rib but it was never anything made to hurt anybody and I went a couple of rounds with Walt Sherman. He hit me and knocked me down and I'd get up and I'd get hit again but that was part of what it was all about. LP: If you had anything to change about the Academy besides the boxing what else would you change from when you went through until now?



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OEA: Well I wouldn't change it I would want it put back in. I really didn't find anything that bad about it. To me it was very different. At the time I was single and I didn't have any problems with the wife and children and all that it was just me so there was no big strains on my family. I spent very little money when I was up there. All the money I would get on my check I would just bank it. I wouldn't spend a whole lot. LP: Do you remember who your instructors were while you were in the Academy? OEA: Yes I do, he is now a professor, Ken Katsaris, he was the sheriff of Leon County. The instructors up there at that time was Lieutenant, excuse at that time it was Sergeant, he is now a Major on the Turnpike, Sergeant Vincent, Sergeant Billy Lee, the Captain was Lieutenant Betts and then the Captain I forget who the Captain was he was the head instructor at the Academy. LP: Okay what were your first thoughts or opinions when you first reported to your duty assignment besides what you had explained to me earlier that you didn't have really any problems when you first reported?



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OEA: I thought that I made a good adjustment. I really didn't feel anything....I knew it was right. I didn't feel uncomfortable. I knew that this is what I wanted to do and I felt that there was very little major changes I made in my life. I didn't really have any problems the first couple of months. LP: Okay, do you remember who your supervisors were? OEA: Yes, most of my supervisors are Majors today. There was Major, he is a Major now I believe ..... take a little stroll down memory lane now, um turn it off just a second so I can remember some of these names. OEA: As I was saying most of my supervisors have been or are today very high ranking on the Highway Patrol. There was Captain E. C. Smith, Major Driggers he was my corporal when I came on, Major Gracey at that time was Sergeant Gracey and he was my district sergeant at the time..... LP: What made you become a supervisor? OEA: I had no particular plans to be a certain rank by a certain age. After being a trooper for about 5 years I looked around one day and said I have done everything I can possibly do as a trooper 3 or 4 times over so it was time to look at something different and I decided to be a Sergeant.



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Being a trooper -for 5 or 4 years in Miami is like being a trooper in another part of the state for maybe 7 or 8 years so I figured I'd had plenty of experience to use and go on into supervision. LP: Explain to me why you think being a trooper in Miami for 4 or 5 years is more than say like in Sarasota if I was a trooper in Sarasota for 8 years tell me the difference. Why do you think there is a difference? OEA: The pace. There is a....more of a push for activity you get involved in so many other things other than just basic traffic. The ........ I have made arrests for everything short of murder. I feel that working in a large metropolitan area be it Miami or Orlando or Tampa these are places where a trooper can more rapidly increase his knowledge than in a more rural part of the state. LP: When you stated before you don't have any plans to make any rank any certain period of time, do you have any plans of going further than a Sergeant? OEA: This year I didn't the promotional exam but next year I will because I have done everything I can do as a Sergeant. I was promoted to Sergeant's rank in about October of 84 and it looks as if there will be more Lieutenants positions available in Troop E within the next 2 years or so and I



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want to take advantage of it. I would take a position in another part of the state gladly but my preference is a supervisory position in Miami. LP: You stated to me when I first came into your house that you had plans of getting married soon. Will that interfere with your promotion or anything....? OEA: No, she has told me that she would gladly move to another part of the state with me and she is also one of the reasons I have decided to study. She can motivate me. I don't want to toot my horn but I only took the promotional exam once and I was second in the state last time I took it so I just sit down and hit the books. I don't have to worry about evaluations or personal interviews entering into promotional exams. Sit down and who gets the best score wins. I spent 8 years in the Jesuits so I don't worry about taking exams. LP: When you study for an exam how long in advance do you study? OEA: I study....the last time I took the exam from the beginning of January all through January all through February all through March and then I took off the month of April to review again what I had studied in those 3 months. LP: Do you like study by yourself or like they are starting right now the study groups?



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OEA: I don't believe in study groups just get inside a room there and start memorizing every page, page by page. Study groups turn into basically gripe sessions and goofing off. I've never used them. LP: Okay, you have been involved in a number of automobile accidents in the course of your duties as a trooper. Do you have any thoughts on how these incidents could have been avoided? OEA: Well....I found myself the other day chasing a violator north on NW 2nd Avenue from 36 Street to about 47th. I had a chase on that same avenue about 5 years ago it ended at 62 Street where the violator rear ended somebody and I rear ended him, um, I noticed this time that on that street I was pursuing the violator on was a lot of stop signs and back then on that first chase I was just blowing right through the stop signs like he was doing and now I guess because I am a supervisor I have to look at the big picture so to speak as I would come to the stop signs I would slow down and make sure everything was clear before I proceeded into it and consequently I lost the violator and was not able to apprehend him so I see that now I use a little bit more discretion, more common sense trying to think of the big picture when I am in a pursuit. I don't want to get away from your question but now that we are talking about automobile accidents the question of pursuit kind of comes



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into the picture also. I don't like to terminate pursuits but there are certain situations when I have to because a large amount of traffic or weather conditions but when I am a midnight supervisor and it is 3 o'clock in the morning and there is no traffic and the weather is fine I let the pursuit continue because I hate to use the word practice but that's when you learn how to pursue. That is when you learn about bail outs. That is when you learn about perimeters but getting back to the accidents, my accidents were caused by I guess you know being over zealous not as much maturity and experience but on the other hand I feel that like I have told a number of people if you are not bending some metal you are not doing your job. Show me someone who is never in an accident and I'll show you someone who hangs out at a toll plaza all day long and writes expired tags. LP: In your career with the Highway Patrol do you know how many accidents you have had. OEA: I've had about 5 or 6.....um, when they were chargeable 3 and I was responsible I took my medicine. I have had up to 3 days off on accidents. I've never tried to use all kinds of (unk) and double talk and tried to hide the facts. If I was guilty, I was guilty and I took my time off like I should. LP: How many of your accidents were chargeable?



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OEA: I don't really recall but I believe its 3. LP: Okay, being that....when I was talking to you before about being promoted to Sergeant you were promoted November 16, 1984, how has this affected your career going from Trooper to Sergeant? OEA: Well, its ... you got to see....what I call a more overall picture of everything. When you are a trooper the only thing you worry about is you, your tickets and your weeklys and your accident investigation. When you are a supervisor and you have a squad of 8 or 9 people, there's 8 people that you have to be running after getting them inspected, getting them their equipment, checking their reports, getting their riding assignments, there is a lot more responsibility and a lot more deadlines that I have to make that I didn't have to worry about before. LP: How many troopers are you a supervisor over? OEA: Eight. LP: What area are you in charge of? OEA: My squad will work the District 1 which is the north end of Dade County north of 836 a.m. one month and p.m. shift the other.



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LP: What changes do--you think has the most outstanding during your career on the Highway Patrol? OEA: Well there's been a lot of changes since I came on. When I came on no one had hand held radios. The only people that had hand held radios were supervisors. Everybody got hand held radios and I was very happy to see that. When I came on there were only 5 hispanics on the Highway Patrol in Miami myself, my training officer, Danny (unk), Ray Valdez, two guys that graduated out of my patrol school Carlos Perez and Manny Cardenas, most of those guys have all left and gone to Metro Dade. There are a lot more hispanics on the Patrol and I like that. I like the fact that we all eventually have the option of carrying a 9mm weapon. There has been a lot of good changes. We are slowly getting away from the fact that we are just not out there to write traffic tickets. I was very pleased a number of years ago when they started the interdiction program and our drug seizures have increased dramatically over the years. When I came on the attitude was felony arrests don't count correction cards do and we have gotten away from that and I am happy to see that. LP: Okay, during the interview have I overlooked something that you might like to add or anything in your closing remarks before we conclude the interview.



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OEA: No not really. I think we've been very thorough and covered a lot of different areas. LP: I appreciate you taking your time out to let me interview you. This will conclude our interview with Sergeant Orlando E. Alvarez. The time is 1:40 p.m. cd


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DIVISION OF FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL



50TH ANNIVERSARY ORAL HISTORY PROJECT


Interview with Sergeant Orlando E. Alvarez


Interviewed by Sergeant Linda Perkins



Date Interviewed February 20, 1989.


', ^





i


LP: Today's date is February 20, 1989, and the time is 1:10

p.m. I am interviewing Sergeant Orlando E. Alvarez at a

residence of 1401 139th Avenue. Interviewer is Sergeant

Linda Perkins and this interview is being conducted for the

Florida Highway Patrol oral history project. The FHP will

observe its 50th anniversary in 1989. This interview will

establish your knowledge of and your input into the past

history of the Patrol. Please give me your full name for

the files.



OEA: Sergeant Orlando E. Alvarez.



LP: What does the E stand for in your name, your middle name?



OEA: (Unk)



LP: Okay, what date did you start with the Florida Highway

Patrol?



OEA: September 9, 1979.



LP: Okay, what recruit class would that put you in, do you

remember?



OEA: 58th recruit class.


LP: How many people were in the 58th recruit class?







OEA: We graduated with something like 42 or 43.



LP: Do you remember how many you started out with?



OEA: It was about 51 or 52.



LP: So you didn't really lose too many, did you?



OEA: No we didn't.



LP: Do you know why they dropped out? Did they drop out because

of grades or pressures at home or...?



OEA: It was mostly academic. There were one or two with family

problems but mostly all was academic.



LP: Where were you born?



OEA: I was born in New York City.



LP: How long did you live in New York?



OEA: I lived in New York until I was about 20 or 21. When I

graduated from (Unk) University I moved south to Miami.


LP: When you attended your school you stayed in New York the

whole time until you were 21?


1 4





* r L


OEA: Yes I went to 4 years of college in New York City.



LP: What elementary school did you attend?



OEA: I attended Our Lady of Lords Elementary School and my 4

years of high school were spent at (Unk) High School which

was a pre-ROTC type high school.



LP: When you were in high school were you in ROTC?



OEA: Yes I was.



LP: Did you go....how many years was it?



OEA: Four years of high school and upon completion of the 4 years

in addition to my degree I received a junior ROTC diploma.



LP: Okay you stated you went to university. How did you decide

to go to the particular university that you chose?



OEA: I had spent 8 years with nuns and then I spent 4 years with

Jesuits and when you completed....when I completed high

school I kind of felt the subtle pressure from the Jesuits

to continue my education at another Jesuit institute of

higher learning. At the time there were several in New York

and still are (Unk) University, St. Johns University and I

decided to go with (Unk) University.







LP: What degree did you get?


OEA: I have a bachelor of arts in history.



LP: In history? Okay when you graduated from college what did

you decide to do then?



OEA: Well I decided to come south to Florida to where my parents

were at the time. They owned and operated a restaurant on

Miami Beach and I worked with them for the next 2 or 3

years.



LP: You worked...you learned restaurant business is that what

you did?



OEA: Yes I did. I was in the restaurant business with my

father. It was a spanish restaurant cuban cuisine.



LP: So when you worked in a restaurant how did work from a

restaurant and then decided that you wanted to be a

trooper?



OEA: There was a lot of time in between 73 when he sold the

restaurant until 79 when I came on the Patrol. During that

time I held mostly jobs in sales. I sold encyclopedias

door-to-door. I worked three years..... let me back track a

bit... the restaurant was sold in about 71 so about 71 to 72

I worked with Triple .AA emergency road service. After that







I sold encyclopedias door-to-door. I sold advertising for

the Miami Herald. I sold women's wigs. I was in several

different selling jobs then my folks went to Puerto Rico

from about 73 to about 76 and had a clothing store. I was

with them during that time in the clothing business. I

returned back to Miami about 76 and from 76 to 79 I worked

in another clothing store in Dadeland Mall working for (Unk)

clothing store and after doing that 3 years there that's

when I came on the Patrol in 79.



LP: Okay let's back up I didn't get your parents name your

father's name and your mother's maiden name.



OEA: My father's name is same as mine, Orlando E Alvarez, Sr. and

my mother's name is Josephine Alvarez and her maiden name is

Bonilla, B-o-n-i-l-l-a.



LP: Okay when you lived in New York did you live in New York

with your parents?



OEA: Yes I did.



LP: Okay, at one point you said your...you came down to Miami

with your parents. When you were in college did your

parents come to Miami or...?







OEA: No when I graduated from college in 70 my folks already had

been in Miami for 2 years. The last 2 years of college when

I completed them I was staying at my aunt's house.



LP: Why did your parents decide to come to Florida and why did

they pick Miami?



OEA: Well because my father wanted to open up another restaurant

in Miami. He had had several restaurants in New York and he

just decided that Miami was more of a growth area and he

came down here during that time period and opened up his

place.



LP: So you didn't have any relatives or anyone down here when

your father decided to move to Miami.



OEA: No we didn't have as many relatives here in Miami as we do

now. From that time until now several relatives have moved

from New York to Miami but when I got here in the early 70's

I had very very little relatives living in this area.



LP: How many brothers and sisters do you have?



OEA: I am the only child.



LP: You are the only child? Okay, what made you decide to

become a trooper? What gave you the idea?







OEA: I'd always had in the back of my mind to go into law

enforcement but I have gotten like side tracked into a lot

of things and I had a lot of experience dealing with people

and I decided that it was time to pick a career and I

decided to use that knowledge I had gained by dealing with

people in selling and being in the restaurant business and

my love for law enforcement so I combined the two and came

on the Highway Patrol.



LP: Why did you choose the Highway Patrol over the other

agencies though?



OEA: I guess for the visual image the black and yellow, the

uniform. When I came on the Patrol I took a cut in pay. It

really didn't bother me. I knew I could have been making

more money going to another agency but I think the visual

thing was very important to me.



LP: When you say you took a cut what are your referring to a pay

cut what job did you hold at the time you came on the

Highway Patrol to compare the salaries?



OEA: Well at that time when I came on the Patrol my salary was

about $12,000.00 a year and in the clothing store I was

working at which was Barron's my commissions were running

about $14,000.00 to $15,000.00 a year.







LP: When you came onto the Patrol what was your first duty

station?



OEA: The same as it is now, Miami.



LP: So you have been in Miami your whole career?



OEA: Yes I have.



LP: Did you have time adjusting once you got out of the recruit

class and onto working the road in really your first year?



OEA: Not really because I was working in an area that I knew. I

thought often about guys from my recruit class that were

being sent to other parts of the state and I would think

about how they would have to be learning the new roads and

adjusting to new customs. I really didn't have to make that

adjustment. I was working where I had been living for the

last ten years so it was quite easy really.



LP: What was the recruit class like for you? Were you surprised

at anything or was it what you expected?



OEA: Well I was always envious of those guys that had previous

law enforcement experience and would just come out of the

military because they I felt had an advantage over me having

been in law enforcement through another academy a lot of the







stuff was something they were familiar with and those guys

would just come out of the Marine Corp. or whatnot were

still of the mentality of the army and they were able to fit

into a military organization like ours very easily. I had

to make an adjustment. I had gone through junior ROTC but

that can't be compared to serving 2 or 4 years in the

service and I had no previous law enforcement experience.



LP: When you attended the Academy how many weeks was your class?



OEA: It was 12 or 13 weeks.



LP: Okay, of the Academy what did you dislike the most?



OEA: I never really had anything, I never really found anything I

disliked. I mean there were certain inconveniences that I

learned to put up with.



LP: Okay, what were the inconveniences?



OEA: Well, the fact that we would be carrying a badge and a gun

and we would have powers of arrest and could make life or

death decisions and there were some rules that I found were

a little petty and maybe they weren't treating us as men and

treating us more like children.


LP: In your Academy class did you have boxing?







OEA: Yes we did.


LP: How long did you have to box?



OEA: We boxed for about 7 weeks into the Academy once a week.



LP: Who was your boxing instructor?



OEA: It was Walt Sherman. Sergeant Sherman.



LP: I bet you have some fond memories of him don't you?



OEA: Yeah, I really don't like the idea that they dropped the

boxing. When you were put out there to box in the gym they

never mismatched you. They never would put a fellow like me

that was 5'8" with some gorilla that was 6'4". They always

put someone that was about your weight and the idea was to

see what you were made of if you were there to play or to

stay. Occasionally someone would get a bloody nose or a

broken rib but it was never anything made to hurt anybody

and I went a couple of rounds with Walt Sherman. He hit me

and knocked me down and I'd get up and I'd get hit again but

that was part of what it was all about.



LP: If you had anything to change about the Academy besides the

boxing what else would you change from when you went through

until now?







OEA: Well I wouldn't -change it I would want it put back in. I

really didn't find anything that bad about it. To me it was

very different. At the time I was single and I didn't have

any problems with the wife and children and all that it was

just me so there was no big strains on my family. I spent

very little money when I was up there. All the money I

would get on my check I would just bank it. I wouldn't

spend a whole lot.



LP: Do you remember who your instructors were while you were in

the Academy?



OEA: Yes I do, he is now a professor, Ken Katsaris, he was the

sheriff of Leon County. The instructors up there at that

time was Lieutenant, excuse at that time it was Sergeant, he

is now a Major on the Turnpike, Sergeant Vincent, Sergeant

Billy Lee, the Captain was Lieutenant Betts and then the

Captain I forget who the Captain was he was the head

instructor at the Academy.



LP: Okay what were your first thoughts or opinions when you

first reported to your duty assignment besides what you had

explained to me earlier that you didn't have really any

problems when you first reported?







OEA: I thought that I made a good adjustment. I really didn't

feel anything....I knew it was right. I didn't feel

uncomfortable. I knew that this is what I wanted to do and

I felt that there was very little major changes I made in my

life. I didn't really have any problems the first couple of

months.



LP: Okay, do you remember who your supervisors were?



OEA: Yes, most of my supervisors are Majors today. There was

Major, he is a Major now I believe.....take a little stroll

down memory lane now, um turn it off just a second so I can

remember some of these names.



OEA: As I was saying most of my supervisors have been or are

today very high ranking on the Highway Patrol. There was

Captain E. C. Smith, Major Driggers he was my corporal when

I came on, Major Gracey at that time was Sergeant Gracey and

he was my district sergeant at the time.....



LP: What made you become a supervisor?



OEA: I had no particular plans to be a certain rank by a certain

age. After being a trooper for about 5 years I looked

around one day and said I have done everything I can

possibly do as a trooper 3 or 4 times over so it was time to

look at something different and I decided to be a Sergeant.







Being a trooper for 5 or 4 years in Miami is like being a

trooper in another part of the state for maybe 7 or 8 years

so I figured I'd had plenty of experience to use and go on

into supervision.



LP: Explain to me why you think being a trooper in Miami for 4

or 5 years is more than say like in Sarasota if I was a

trooper in Sarasota for 8 years tell me the difference. Why

do you think there is a difference?



OEA: The pace. There is a....more of a push for activity you get

involved in so many other things other than just basic

traffic. The.........I have made arrests for everything

short of murder. I feel that working in a large

metropolitan area be it Miami or Orlando or Tampa these are

places where a trooper can more rapidly increase his

knowledge than in a more rural part of the state.



LP: When you stated before you don't have any plans to make any

rank any certain period of time, do you have any plans of

going further than a Sergeant?



OEA: This year I didn't the promotional exam but next year I will

because I have done everything I can do as a Sergeant. I

was promoted to Sergeant's rank in about October of 84 and

it looks as if there will be more Lieutenants positions

available in Troop E within the next 2 years or so and I







want to take advantage of it. I would take a position in

another part of the state gladly but my preference is a

supervisory position in Miami.



LP: You stated to me when I first came into your house that you

had plans of getting married soon. Will that interfere with

your promotion or anything....?



OEA: No, she has told me that she would gladly move to another

part of the state with me and she is also one of the reasons

I have decided to study. She can motivate me. I don't want

to toot my horn but I only took the promotional exam once

and I was second in the state last time I took it so I just

sit down and hit the books. I don't have to worry about

evaluations or personal interviews entering into promotional

exams. Sit down and who gets the best score wins. I spent

8 years in the Jesuits so I don't worry about taking exams.



LP: When you study for an exam how long in advance do you study?



OEA: I study....the last time I took the exam from the beginning

of January all through January all through February all

through March and then I took off the month of April to

review again what I had studied in those 3 months.



LP: Do you like study by yourself or like they are starting

right now the study groups?







OEA: I don't believe in study groups just get inside a room there

and start memorizing every page, page by page. Study groups

turn into basically gripe sessions and goofing off. I've

never used them.



LP: Okay, you have been involved in a number of automobile

accidents in the course of your duties as a trooper. Do you

have any thoughts on how these incidents could have been

avoided?



OEA: Well....I found myself the other day chasing a violator

north on NW 2nd Avenue from 36 Street to about 47th. I had

a chase on that same avenue about 5 years ago it ended at 62

Street where the violator rear ended somebody and I rear

ended him, um, I noticed this time that on that street I was

pursuing the violator on was a lot of stop signs and back

then on that first chase I was just blowing right through

the stop signs like he was doing and now I guess because I

am a supervisor I have to look at the big picture so to

speak as I would come to the stop signs I would slow down

and make sure everything was clear before I proceeded into

it and consequently I lost the violator and was not able to

apprehend him so I see that now I use a little bit more

discretion, more common sense trying to think of the big

picture when I am in a pursuit. I don't want to get away

from your question but now that we are talking about

automobile accidents the question of pursuit kind of comes







into the picture also. I don't like to terminate pursuits

but there are certain situations when I have to because a

large amount of traffic or weather conditions but when I am

a midnight supervisor and it is 3 o'clock in the morning and

there is no traffic and the weather is fine I let the

pursuit continue because I hate to use the word practice but

that's when you learn how to pursue. That is when you learn

about bail outs. That is when you learn about perimeters

but getting back to the accidents, my accidents were caused

by I guess you know being over zealous not as much maturity

and experience but on the other hand I feel that like I have

told a number of people if you are not bending some metal

you are not doing your job. Show me someone who is never in

an accident and I'll show you someone who hangs out at a

toll plaza all day long and writes expired tags.



LP: In your career with the Highway Patrol do you know how many

accidents you have had.



OEA: I've had about 5 or 6.....um, when they were chargeable 3

and I was responsible I took my medicine. I have had up to

3 days off on accidents. I've never tried to use all kinds

of (unk) and double talk and tried to hide the facts. If I

was guilty, I was guilty and I took my time off like I

should.


LP: How many of your accidents were chargeable?


.






OEA: I don't really recall but I believe its 3.


LP: Okay, being that....when I was talking to you before about

being promoted to Sergeant you were promoted November 16,

1984, how has this affected your career going from Trooper

to Sergeant?



OEA: Well, its ...you got to see....what I call a more overall

picture of everything. When you are a trooper the only

thing you worry about is you, your tickets and your weeklys

and your accident investigation. When you are a supervisor

and you have a squad of 8 or 9 people, there's 8 people that

you have to be running after getting them inspected, getting

them their equipment, checking their reports, getting their

riding assignments, there is a lot more responsibility and a

lot more deadlines that I have to make that I didn't have to

worry about before.



LP: How many troopers are you a supervisor over?



OEA: Eight.



LP: What area are you in charge of?



OEA: My squad will work the District 1 which is the north end of

Dade County north of 836 a.m. one month and p.m. shift the

other.







LP: What changes do- you think has the most outstanding during

your career on the Highway Patrol?



OEA: Well there's been a lot of changes since I came on. When I

came on no one had hand held radios. The only people that

had hand held radios were supervisors. Everybody got hand

held radios and I was very happy to see that. When I came

on there were only 5 hispanics on the Highway Patrol in

Miami myself, my training officer, Danny (unk), Ray Valdez,

two guys that graduated out of my patrol school Carlos Perez

and Manny Cardenas, most of those guys have all left and

gone to Metro Dade. There are a lot more hispanics on the

Patrol and I like that. I like the fact that we all

eventually have the option of carrying a 9mm weapon. There

has been a lot of good changes. We are slowly getting away

from the fact that we are just not out there to write

traffic tickets. I was very pleased a number of years ago

when they started the interdiction program and our drug

seizures have increased dramatically over the years. When I

came on the attitude was felony arrests don't count

correction cards do and we have gotten away from that and I

am happy to see that.



LP: Okay, during the interview have I overlooked something that

you might like to add or anything in your closing remarks

before we conclude the interview.


. *







OEA: No not really. I think we've been very thorough and covered

a lot of different areas.



LP: I appreciate you taking your time out to let me interview

you. This will conclude our interview with Sergeant Orlando

E. Alvarez. The time is 1:40 p.m.



cd




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