When Aurelio DeLaRosa looks back on his 26 years with the Rockford Police Department, he says he's proud.
"The good Lord blessed me with having a really good career," says DeLaRosa. "I was very fortunate to work with some of the greatest officers in the nation."
The Rockford native says his hometown officers made a big impression on him from an early age.
"As a kid, I always wanted to be a police officer. The Rockford officers then, they just commanded so much respect."
In 1991 DeLaRosa put on the Rockford badge for the first time. Over the years he's filled multiple roles including patrol, SWAT, and the training unit. Over time he earned the respect of his fellow officers. Eventually serving as their union president for years.
"With the police camaraderie he knows what the guys go through, it's almost like being the Union President he never forgot where he came from.," says officer Sisomphou Toonsingmouangthong. "The guy would give the shirt off his back. I love him, and I'm very happy for him."
DeLaRosa service to others won't stop here. He plans on going back to school, heading to Rock Valley College in the fall.
"The plan is to work toward a career in the area of counseling for veterans and first responders," says DeLaRosa. "If I can make a difference in the life of another brother whether it be a veteran or a first responder having had my experiences with my demons. After having that training and education I wanted to share and hopefully make their life a better life."
DeLaRosa received Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara's first key of the city.