Ann Becker Alexandrino was 8 years old when her father died in the line of duty.
Hugo Becker, a detective for the Hialeah Police Department and a U.S. Navy veteran, died in a car accident in June 1966 while responding to a call for backup. He is Hialeah’s first fallen officer and one of four men honored Thursday at the department’s annual memorial ceremony.
“We’re very thankful,” said Becker Alexandrino, now 55, noting that she appreciates how the city takes the time to honor her father, along with officers Emilio Miyares and Pedro Cainas and crime-scene investigation technician Rene Mateo.
Dozens of officers, citizens and city officials attended the ceremony, held outside the training facility behind the police department.
Mayor Carlos Hernandez, a retired Hialeah police officer, told attendees that he was grateful for the officers who made “the ultimate sacrifice” while doing their duty.
“Officers never say they’re heroes,” he said. “They just put their uniform on and go to work.”
Police Chief Sergio Velazquez emphasized the dangers that police officers face every day while on the job, noting that they never know what’s on the other side of the door.
“We’re facing the unknown every day,” he said.
He spoke from experience when highlighting the effects of an officer’s work on their home life, sharing that his adult son recently told him that when he was about 5 years old, he worried his father wouldn’t come home from work some nights.
After Velazquez’s comments, a silent audience witnessed a 21-gun salute.
Becker Alexandrino, who is active in support groups for families of fallen officers, said the city has created a wonderful tradition with the memorial.
“Hialeah has set an example in recognizing fallen officers,” she said.
After the ceremony, Hernandez said the yearly event hits home for him because he was on the scene for three of the four men’s deaths.
“Memories come back,” he said, eyes tearing.
For him, the positive side is seeing the families come together.
“The great thing is I get to see their grandkids,” he said.
Follow @joeflech on Twitter.