Godson of fallen trooper in Ohio receives special badge number

Trooper Velez OHP

New Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper A.J. Torres was given a badge number with a symbolic meaning to him and his family.  After completing his training at the Highway Patrol’s training academy, Torres, 21, was assigned badge number 511, which corresponds to the unit number of fallen trooper Kenneth Velez.  Velez was Torres’ godfather and the gesture by the Highway Patrol was not left unnoticed.  Torres said he was initially assigned a different badge number and completely in the dark about the symbolic gesture until after he was pinned, the day before his graduation from the academy.   “At first I didn’t recognize it, but then when I went back, it clicked and said, ‘man, this is my uncle’s number,’ ” Torres said.  Velez, 48, died in the line of duty Sept. 15, 2016, from injuries suffered in an accident on Interstate 90 in Cleveland while conducting traffic enforcement.  Torres completed his first shift with the Elyria Post and said he was excited to put what he had learned into practice after working hard at the academy.  Torres is assigned to the same post as his father, also named A.J. Torres.  The elder Torres was named Highway Patrol’s retired Trooper of the Year for 2016 and served as a trooper with the Elyria Post for 26 years.  The younger Torres said growing up in a police family had an enormous influence on his decision to enter the academy and become a trooper.  Torres said he admired the memories of growing up in a police family and has always been a part of the police culture.  He said he remembers always seeing his father’s police cruiser in the backyard and the sage advice given to him by Velez.  “My uncle was always a huge influence and just said if you want to do it, just do it,” Torres said.