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Alton PD welcomes 9-year-old honorary police captain

A 9-year-old boy from Alton battling liver cancer got his wish to become a police officer last week.

Brandon Tadeo Alvarez was sworn in as Alton’s newest honorary police captain Friday, May 3, in a ceremony that was attended by relatives, city officials and law enforcement officers from departments all over the county.

20190503 CaptainBrandonThe ceremony, Alton police Chief Jonathon B. Flores said, reaffirms what the thin blue line in law enforcement is all about.

“When one of our own is experiencing something, they never go at it alone,” Flores said. “No matter what city you’re from, what agency you’re from, you step up to the plate to come together as a thin blue line family and we take care of each other. That’s what you’re seeing here today.”

Alvarez is a former student at Raquel Cavazos Elementary school who withdrew last January due to his cancer diagnosis, Mission CISD spokesman Craig Verley said.

Alvarez, dressed in a police officer’s uniform provided by the Alton Police Department, was sworn in by 389th District Court Judge Keno Vasquez. He was then gifted items from law enforcement officers ranging from stuffed animals to police badges and patches.

Alvarez, who took his oath while standing on a stepladder with his father by his side, swore to protect and serve his community. Many members of the standing-room only crowd at Alton City Hall wiped away tears during the swearing-in.

According to Tanya Alvarez, Brandon’s mother, Brandon was first diagnosed with liver cancer in March of last year and after treatment was declared cancer-free last September. However, last January his cancer returned.

“The doctors have said it has advanced to the point that there are no treatment options left for him,” Tanya said. “He doesn’t know to what extent his disease is. Brandon likes protecting, he’s always liked protecting people and all his younger cousins feel safe around him. Now that he’s gotten sick and is at this stage, he’s said ‘I need protection.’”

It is this sense of protecting others Alvarez possesses that made him want to be a police officer, Tanya said, adding that he regularly watches “Live PD” and other television programs centered on law enforcement officers.

Chief Flores said the idea for a swearing-in ceremony in honor of Alvarez came after a family friend reached out to the police department to tell them about Alvarez.

Police then paid Alvarez and his family a visit days before the ceremony and decided to make his dream of becoming a police officer a reality.

“As the father of two kids, I can’t imagine what the family is going through so it was important for us that his dreams came true,” Flores said. “Whenever he’s up to it he can come here to visit us or we can visit him, take him on ride alongs, anything to keep his spirits up.”

Tanya thanked the members of the public who arrived at her son’s swearing-in ceremony, calling it an inspiration for Alvarez.

“I’m amazed, I don’t have words to express what it feels to see him smiling like that today. It’ll give him more strength to keep fighting,” Tanya said.

Tanya also asked community members to help her family with one simple action: pray for her son.

“He will be that miracle that we will all talk about in the future and think ‘We made this possible,’ she said. “I know God has something special planned for him and that it’s not his time. He’s gonna be here and serve the police of Alton in the future.”

Alvarez, who spent most of the event seated with his parents, was visibly stunned by the support from the community. Despite being silent for most of the event, he said two words that described his emotions.

“I’m happy.”

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