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Retired Hartford police officer turned author and actor shares his story of resilience – NBC Connecticut

Retired Hartford police officer turned author and actor shares his story of resilience – NBC Connecticut
Retired Hartford police officer turned author and actor shares his story of resilience – NBC Connecticut

 


Roberto Alfaro vividly remembers his childhood in New York in the 60s and 70s.

I grew up in one of the most gang and drug infested neighborhoods in the South Bronx, said Alfaro, who lives in Hamden.

At home, things were difficult.

My father was an abusive and violent alcoholic and he would make us run from house to neighboring house, fearing for our lives, Alfaro said.

At school, Alfaro was a shy student and struggled with bullies. He still remembers one student in particular who changed his life.

He ended up beating me so badly after school that I ended up in the emergency room and that's when I said enough was enough, Alfaro said.

Alfaro took up boxing, but that only attracted the wrong crowd and he dropped out of school.

Fortunately, I had mentors who came into my life, Alfaro said.

Alfaro's life began to improve. He was the first in his family to attend college, then moved to Connecticut and became a Hartford police officer.

Everything I saw growing up, all the crimes and all the people killed, and the friends I lost, I wanted to make a difference, Alfaro said.

Alfaro served in the department for more than two decades. First as a patrol officer, then in the mounted unit.

It was my dream to be a police officer my whole life, Alfaro said.

In Alfaros Hamden's house there is a wall dedicated to all the awards he has received. Including a Lifetime Achievement Award for being a founding member of the Hispanic Officers Association, which advocated for the advancement of Hispanics in the force.

Children need to see that in the streets of Hartford, Hispanics are rising up, one day I can be a sergeant, Alfaro said.

As a decorated officer, Alfaro inspired one of his sons to follow in his footsteps.

He will graduate in two days at Bristol PD, Alfaro said.

Beyond the badge, Alfaro held several titles during his life, including salsa instructor, motivational speaker, and professional model and actor. He has appeared in minor roles in around 80 films and television shows.

Being on the big screen, on television, because other people see that and say wow, this guy is on television and wow if he made it, just the visibility part, Alfaro said.

Alfaro published a memoir titled Fighting Through the Obstacles in My Life, hoping to show people that there are other possibilities outside of the circumstances you were born into.

I grew up in a very poor neighborhood, I suffered trauma from all the violence I saw at home and the harassment, but here I am, Alfaro said. So that’s what I’m doing now: sharing my story and hopefully making a difference in the lives of others.

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