To the sound of solemn music and 21 shots fired in the air, the Hialeah Police Department paid homage to four police officers lost their lives in the line of duty since 1962.
Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velazquez reiterated the commitment of the police force to never forget the heroics of the deceased agents “who guarded public safety.”
“This is a special day in which we remember those officials who have given their lives while doing their jobs,” Velazquez said. “We can’t forget the sacrifice of these officials, and we dedicate this tribute not only to them but also to all their families.”
Accompanied by high-ranking officials within the police department, Velazquez greeted family members of the deceased police officers, Emilio Miyares, Hugo Becker and Pedro Caiñas, as well as Rene Mateo, who was a forensic technician in Hialeah’s C.S.I unit.
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During the ceremony, Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez — who once served as a commander in the police department — remembered having met three of the agents.
“The message for the families [of these officers] will always be that you sacrificed along with them [...] because you will now go home without your loved ones,” Hernandez said. “We will always be here for you.”
Teresa “Terry” Miyares, the widow of Emilio Miyares, recalled that in November 1986 her husband, a 27-year-old detective, wrestled with a robber who was stealing at a Hialeah shopping center. The robber managed to take Miyares’ gun and shot him dead.
The couple had two small children, 4 and 7 years old, and his widow kept working hard to put them through school. Now, one is an accountant and the other a teacher at a Hialeah high school.
“I couldn’t let myself fall because I had them and if Emilio wasn’t here, I had to do the work for both of us, like a mother and a father,” Terry Miyares said. “For me, this tribute demonstrates that the city of Hialeah Police Department doesn’t forget about my husband.”
Hialeah police spokesman Carl Zogby indicated that Detective Becker was the first agent in the department to die in action. In June 1966, he lost control of his patrol car and crashed into a pole.
In Nov. 1992, agent Caiñas was sent on a call to answer a loud-music complaint. When he knocked on the door, Caiñas was shot multiple times.
Mateo, a forensic technician in Hialeah’s C.S.I. unit, died in 2002. He was on his way to process a crime scene when a vehicle driven by a drunk driver crashed into him. The driver left the scene but was later arrested.
The ceremony was attended by Council members Isis Garcia Martinez, José Caragol and Paul Hernandez.
Former state representative Eddy Gonzalez also attended the ceremony. He currently works as an assistant to Hialeah Gardens Mayor Yioset de la Cruz.
“I met Emilio [Miyares] when I studied at Hialeah High School because he patrolled the area,” recalled Gonzalez, who served as a Hialeah council member for eight years. “This ceremony is very important because it’s a way to pay homage to police officers who sacrificed their lives to keep our community safe.”
Follow Enrique Flor on Twitter: @kikeflor