Nelson swaps patrolling streets for protecting SHS

STANDING GUARD: Ex-detective Nelson Alicea proudly points to the Staples logo on his iconic car. While he used to investigate homicides, he now spends his days patrolling and protecting Staples.

Caroline O'Kane '16

STANDING GUARD: Ex-detective Nelson Alicea proudly points to the Staples logo on his iconic car. While he used to investigate homicides, he now spends his days patrolling and protecting Staples.

Francesca Truitt , Staff Writer

After Nelson Alicea’s extensive career of fighting crime, he has retired his police badge for Wreckers logo wear. And after his experience in the criminal infested streets, he has no trouble successfully securing Staples’ campus.

For 32 years Alicea worked as a detective for the Norwalk Police. Through his extensive career, he investigated homicides and serious accidents.

He once investigated the case of a man who had been set on fire, and another case where a woman had been dead, rotting in her bed, for two years and nine months.

“As a police officer, you see these things, and after a while, it’s like nothing. But if it’s your family it’s a whole different scenario,” Alicea said.

Alicea’s favorite part about being a Norwalk detective wasn’t the thrills or the action-packed day. Rather, his favorite part was the people he encountered. “That’s what I enjoyed a lot when I was a police officer,” Alicea began, “meeting so many people from all walks of life.”

But now, Alicea’s wild sleuthing days are behind him. Today, he works within the Staples community to navigate parking and regulate traffic, occasionally catching the sneaky kid trying to ditch last period.

Alicea also works the football games and makes sure everything goes according to plan. Alicea goes the extra mile when coordinating these events: he stays late with students waiting for parents and will wait with them. He won’t leave until everyone else has.

“We used to do that when I worked in Norwalk; it’s just a habit,” Alicea said. “I don’t feel comfortable necessarily leaving a kid here before their parents pick them up. You don’t know what kind of hiccup can happen.”

Elisabeth French ’15 recognizes Alicea’s importance to the Staples community. “He’s always there trying to protect us,” French said. “I know he’s there for the better of us.”

Additionally, Alicea has a very likable personality that helps make students’ days better and helps make the parking ticket process less taxing. “He’s really friendly and nice. He’s someone that you can just joke around with,” Gwyneth Mulliken ’15 said.

Even though Alicea misses his close-knit groups of guys from working as a police officer, he was happy to leave behind the taxing hours and chaos of investigation.

“There is more to life than working as much as I did,” Alicea said. “That’s why I welcome this. There’s the beginning of the year and the end of the year, just like you guys.”