TROOPER AJ TORRES RETIRES
ANNOUNCES RUN FOR SHERIFFElyria – Before the sun rose Friday morning a dozen police cars pulled up in front of a home on the south side of Lorain. It was not a drug bust or a raid – Officers from Lorain and Elyria, Deputies from the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office assisted Troopers from the State Patrol in picking up and escorting Trooper AJ Torres to his last day of work. After 26 years, the last 20 assigned to the Elyria Post, Trooper Torres is hanging up his Stetson.
Torres, a Lorain County native, grew up in Lorain where he attended and graduated from Lorain Admiral King High School in 1980.
In 1982 Torres joined the United States Marine Corps where he rose to the level of Squad Leader in charge of protecting the Naval Weapons Center in London.
In 1985, after receiving an Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps, Torres returned to his home in Lorain and was accepted into the State Highway Patrol Academy. Torres graduated with the 115th class of the Patrol Academy class in 1986 and was assigned to Posts in Defiance, Dayton and Sandusky before his final assignment at the Lorain Post in 1991.
Some of Torres’ Patrol awards include:
• Trooper of the year (three times)
• O.W. Merrell Award for Heroism
• Superintendents Citation
• “ACE” & Criminal Patrol” awards for his work in Stolen Cars and Felony Apprehensions
• Numerous awards from MADD
In 1990 Torres received a Certificate of Recognition for his role in extricating a woman from a burning car and saving her life.
In 2005 Torres received the States “Robert M. Chiaramonte Humanitarian Award” for his countless hours of local Community Service work and for his work in Central America in EL Salvador.
Torres is proud of his 20 plus years of volunteer involvement with “Operation Open Heart” a Lorain County program geared towards mentoring children. Torres is also a lifelong member of Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain and has assisted in numerous church activities including several trips to a small community in El Salvador called Chiltipan.
Lieutenant Travis Hughes said the Patrol is losing a great Trooper. “He’s one of the best and it’s been great working with him. He’s been great with the younger Troops and we’re all going to miss him.” When asked what he would do if Torres came into his office next week and asked for his job back Hughes said, “I’d give it to him.”
Torres was moved by the number of Officers that showed up at his house to escort him into work. “The Lt. told me to leave my car at the Post last night and that someone would pick me up this morning. I assumed maybe the nightshift guys would be here but when I walked out the door and saw everyone from the different departments I really got choked up. I meant so much to me that they did this.”
When asked about his favorite memory of his 26 years Torres recalled the day he pulled a girl from a burning car and helping save her life. “Many years after that a girl walked up to me and said, are you Trooper Torres? It was her and she thanked me for saving her life. She told me that she is now a nurse and helping others – It’s stories like hers that make it all worthwhile.” Torres said he has been honored to work with the other Troopers and other law enforcement officers in Lorain County. “They’re a class act. I have been so fortunate to have worked with such a professional group of men and women. I have truly been blessed.”
What’s next for Torres? “I served the Country as a Marine for 3 years, I served the State of Ohio for 26 years as a Trooper and now I’d like to serve the people of Lorain County as their Sheriff. I have filed all the necessary paperwork and I am running for Sheriff.”
Torres believes the Lorain County Sheriff’s Department is in need of new, fresh and innovative ideas as the County moves forward in tough economic times. “Lorain County is hurting financially like many communities across the United States. Our Sheriff’s Department has been struggling to keep Deputies on the road to protect our citizens and time and time again we see the Sheriff going to the Commissioners requesting additional funds and threatening to layoff Deputies if they don’t receive more funds. We need to understand that like our own citizens we need to work within our budgets and we also need to think outside of the box as to where to get more funds.”
Torres believes a Leader must “lead by example” and as Sheriff he will not be a “behind the desk” kind of Sheriff. “I’ll be out on the road with the Deputies as much as possible. I believe you have to be out there to understand what the Deputies are going through on a daily basis and to know what the needs of the community are – you can’t truly understand the needs by just looking at stats and charts. As Sheriff I will also commit to regular town hall style meetings throughout my administration so I can hear from the citizens from all over Lorain County.”
As for the immediate future Torres said he will spend the night with his family at his parent’s house and just enjoy a quiet weekend.