MIAMI (CBS4) – The 24 graduates of the Miami’s Police Academy Class 92 walked proudly at ceremonies Thursday, all fine young men and women.
But perhaps the most remarkable story is that of Ronald Page, a 21 year old who grew up in the rough inner city, a good kid with a big brother, Evan, his hero and father figure.
Ronald’s voice choked as he talked about his brother Thursday with CBS4′s Gary Nelson.
“My brother was a great man. He was the man in our lives. We didn’t have a father. He was the man of the house,” Page said.
Evan Page, the man of the house, was 17, made great grades, got academic awards, was a Police Explorer and in high school ROTC. He wanted to be a cop, but that dream died when Evan died, shot dead by robber at a Checkers restaurant in Opa-locka November 29th, 2005.
His little brother, Ronald, picked up the torch.
“He didn’t get to do that, so I made the decision I was going to live out his dream, at least in the short term, and become a law enforcement officer,” Ronald said.
It wasn’t easy. He found himself tempted by the evils on the mean streets of the city, almost flunked the eighth grade.
“I was fourteen when my brother passed away. I was facing my own demons, you know, I was in the anger stage,” he said.
But the memory of his brother and encouragement from a strong teacher saw him through. Ronald went to the police academy on a full scholarship from the group, Do The Right Thing, that honors young people who work hard to overcome hardship. The scholarship is named for the late Angel Calzadilla, a popular and respected Miami police officer.
The grandmother who raised Ronald could almost burst as she watched him march smartly in his uniform to receive his police officer’s badge Thursday.
“I am so proud of my grandson, I’m very much proud of him,” Louella Page said, beaming.
Police never caught Dean Page’s killer. Crimestoppers has done some re-enactments over the years, and the reward in the case was raised Thursday to $5,000.
Ronald Page said he sometimes thinks about being a police officer and someday capturing his brother’s killer, but he doesn’t dwell on it.
“I didn’t become a law enforcement officer to find the killer. I became a law enforcement officer to make sure that no one has to through the pain that I went through,” Ronald said.
His fondest hope is that his brother will someday get justice.
“I know he’s looking down today, and he’s smiling,” Ronald said.
Ronald Page finished near the top of his police academy class, and is now looking for work as a police officer with a South Florida agency. He also plans to go back to school and eventually become a lawyer.