Armando Ramirez: Police Officer of the Year
Being a detective for the San Diego Harbor Police Department is no easy task but Detective Armando Ramirez proves that with dedication and determination it can be a gratifying experience.
Ramirez, who will be part of the department for 13 years this upcoming October, said the most rewarding part of his job is being able to serve the victims, as well as bringing criminals to justice.
This year, Ramirez was named police officer of the year for his work as a detective for the department, an honor, which he said was intimidating.
“I’m not a person (who) likes the spotlight but everybody was very supportive that I received (the nomination and award),” he said.
This was not the first time Ramirez was nominated, however, it was the first time he was awarded police officer of the year for his involvement in solving the case of a stolen $10,000 violin, the apprehension of an individual who attacked a couple at the airport, and other investigations.
He specifically recalls the incident with the stolen violin and how he felt returning something with sentimental value to an individual.
“One of the best things that I’ve ever felt in this department was giving back that priceless violin; it was something that that person held very dear to herself and she got it back and she was very grateful and that made me feel very good,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez started out with the Harbor Police as a field training officer, and has been a detective for three and a half years in addition to being a diver.
Prior to working with the Harbor Police, he worked for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department for almost five years.
Originally from Tijuana, Ramirez and his family moved to the United States following the passing of his father.
That transition was not an easy one he said especially when it came to understanding a new culture and speaking a new language.
Ramirez recalls being placed in English as a Second Language classes when he began high school and requesting that he be placed in English only classes because he knew he had to have a full understanding of the language.
He said it was not an easy transition but having his family’s support in the U.S. helped guide him and become the person he is today.
Initially, Ramirez said he had plans of pursuing a career in international business, however, he discovered that the subject did not interest him, so he decided to take a different path.
He said that he had an interest in law enforcement as a kid and jokingly shared that it rooted from watching “CHiPs,” a 70s television series about the adventures of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers.
Ramirez decided to take a class on criminal justice on a whim and never looked back.
“I fell in love with the subject,” Ramirez said “I was really interested in criminal justice and in law enforcement.”
That path of course, like many things in this world that are worthwhile was not easy, he said.
“If you put your time, if you put your effort good things are going to happen to you,” Ramirez said.
He said it took a lot of effort and sleepless nights especially because he came from a humble background so he had to work for a living while studying in college.
“It was never easy, but, luckily, I never lost focus and stuck to my guns, per say, and here I am,” he said.
Ramirez attended Southwestern College and then graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
He plans to finish his thesis in forensic science from National University and has aspirations for his future in the department.
Ramirez said he has been motivated by his family and inspired by the memory of his father, to be the best person that he can be with humility and integrity to contribute to society.
“There’s always room for improvement in your life,” Ramirez said.