Our union lost two public safety officers whose names were added this year to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Both were proud public service workers whose commitment to serving their communities is being recognized this week.
They were David Torres Chaparro, a correctional sergeant in Puerto Rico and member of AFSCME Local 3500 (Alianza Correccional Unida), Council 95; and Kevin Haverly, a deputy sheriff in New York and member of AFSCME Local 927, Council 82.
This is National Police Week, when we honor the fallen men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities. AFSCME members in uniform from across the country are in Washington, D.C., to honor their fallen sisters and brothers as well as to meet and build relationships with others who work in law enforcement.
Angel David Torres, the son of Sgt. Torres Chaparro, said it was a “really great honor” to be part of these events, which included a candlelight vigil on the National Mall and a memorial service and a wreath-laying ceremony on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The 21-year-old came to Washington from Puerto Rico with his mother and sister.
“Papi worked hard at his job and that’s what’s being recognized here,” he said. “It’s a mix of emotions – we give thanks, but we feel sad. We feel the sadness of the other families who are here to honor their loved ones. We feel solidarity with them. To think that a correctional officer from Puerto Rico is being honored in our nation’s capital is a really great honor.”
Sgt. Torres Chaparro worked at the former Industrial Women’s Prison in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. On August 17, he was participating in a mandatory training when he experienced chest pains and was transported to a hospital for treatment. He died of a heart attack at age 48.
“Papi loved to work,” said Angel David. “He got up early every day, at 4 a.m., and began his day with a prayer. Then he left for his job so he could get there early. He was very disciplined, and he liked to do things correctly.”
Kevin Haverly was a deputy sheriff in Greene County, New York. Before that, he’d worked as a correctional officer at the Greene County Jail. He’d always wanted to be a deputy sheriff, according to those who knew him, and got to live his dream.
But in late February 2017, near the end of his overnight shift, his vehicle struck a utility pole. He died at the scene of the accident at the age of just 26, leaving behind his fiancée and three young children.
“Deputy Haverly exemplified the courage and sacrifice that is the hallmark of all law enforcement professionals,” AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said in a statement in March of last year. “Despite the risks, women and men like Deputy Haverly don’t hesitate to put the safety of their neighbors ahead of their own. They put their lives on the line, so that others can stay out of harm’s way. Because of their character and commitment – because they never quit – our communities thrive.”