After a combined total of more than 60 years serving and protecting, two top officials at the Alice Police Department are set to retire.
On Friday, Police Chief Rex Ramon and Lt. Luis Barrera will be saying good-bye to the department where they spent most of their careers.
Ramon became police chief in 2014. He has worked with the department for almost 30 years. He started his career with the Robstown Police Department before he transferred to Alice in 1988.
“It's been a journey,” Ramon said. “First and foremost, I must thank my wife and (daughters) who have been my backbone. Thanks for being supportive.”
Ramon's two accomplishments as an officer, in his eyes, are making it to the top of his department and, with assistance, making an arrest in the 1974 murder of Matt Murphy.
Murphy was a police officer killed in the line of duty. No one was ever arrested in his murder, until Nov. 2017 when Roberto Lopez was charged with Murphy's murder. Lopez is serving a life sentence for another crime in an Alabama prison.
Ramon plans to enjoy life with his grandsons; something he missed with his children putting in late hours and climbing the ranks.
“I'd never guess this little boy from Robstown would get here,” he said. “I want to thank those who appointed me (four years ago). Thanks to than Mayor Larry Martinez, Councilman (Raul) Chapa, Yvette Johnson, Michael Esparza and Frank Hinojosa. They saw something in me.”
“I've devoted 30 years and can't give anymore.”
Lt. Luis Barrera had a 34-year career in law enforcement. He joined the law enforcement family expecting a big pay check. When he realized it wasn't much of a check, but the money didn't matter anymore.
“I've dedicated the last 34 years of my life to law enforcement,” he stated. “I have reached a point in my career where it's time to move to the next stage. It's time to go.”
Barrera started with the department as a patrol officer in 1984. He left Alice and joined the United States Border Patrol in 1990 for two years. He came back home in 1992 and climbed the ranks.
He has been a lieutenant with the Alice PD for the last 18 years with four of them in the Support Division where he oversees dispatch, animal control and the Narcotics Division.
“I've seen it all,” Barrera said. “I think the worst part of the job is when there's a death of an infant or child. When I started we didn't have counseling back than, we just had to suck it up.”
Barrera may be retiring, but he doesn't plan to stay home. He will be sharing his leisure years between his outdoor hobbies and his family.
“My eyes are set for public service in 2020,” Barrera stated.
Everyday, since the start of the careers the two top officials at Alice PD have looked forward to retirement. They just can't believe the time as flown by quickly.