ORLANDO, Fla. - As a child, Edgar Malavé dreamed of becoming a police officer, and almost two decades ago, that dream came true.
"Since September of 2000, it's always been my dream to be a police officer," said Malavé, a former U.S Marine.
Malavé, now 44, went through several years and training before he joined the Orlando Police Department. After high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1992, becoming a scout swimmer --performing some of the most crucial and dangerous assignments.
"They'd take the boat as far out so you couldn't see the beach, and you'd swim to the beach and then we would make sure the beach was safe for the rest of the Marines to land," he said, remembering his years as young man.
For four years, he traveled abroad to countries including Japan, Cuba and South Korea, and he was on the front lines in Somalia.
When asked why it was important to serve his country, Malavé said the decision came from his heart.
"I've always had that feeling in my heart ... to give back, to have my job, my career to mean something," Malavé said.
Malavé was born in Puerto Rico and after 10 years, his family moved to Massachusetts. He recalled his passion to become a police officer started at an early age.
"I grew up with relatives several police officers and military," Malavé said.
Although he's enjoyed his career to the fullest and built strong relationships with the community he serves, Malavé also endured pain throughout his years in law enforcement. Most recently, one of his fellow officers, Kevin Valencia, was shot in the head while responding to a domestic dispute call. Valencia is still in critical condition.
"It hits home, you know, my heart bleeds for his family, for his wife," Malavé said.
Despite the dangers of his job, he's sure of one thing.
"I couldn't imagine doing anything different," he said. "The citizens of Orlando, everyone in my opinion, is thankful, you know, when you've helped them in the most traumatic experience they've had in their life."
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