FWC dedicates 33 new officers to conservation efforts
Monday, May 17, 2010
Media contact: Katie Fojtik, 850-459-6585
The 33 new officers who make up the Florida Fish
and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) most recent graduating
class are a diverse bunch. But, however unique their backgrounds,
they share a common goal.
When the 14th FWC law enforcement class graduated
Friday at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Tallahassee in
front of more than 350 guests, they pledged their effort to the
state of Florida and to protecting its unique and valuable natural
While 18 of the graduates are native Floridians, 13
are from other states; 16 have four-year-college degrees; 14 are
married or engaged; and nine have children.
Before joining the FWC academy, they were Marines,
teachers, lifeguards, pilots, scuba instructors and professional
athletes. One had previous law enforcement experience.
"The group is diverse," said Lt. Col. Bruce
Buckson, head of the FWC's training section. "But they all want the
same thing. They love working outdoors and have a passion for
protecting our natural resources."
The individuals came together six months ago, when
they began extensive training that included accuracy with firearms,
vessel operation, defensive tactics, all-terrain-vehicle operation,
BUI/DUI identification and a comprehensive study of all Florida
laws as well as federal wildlife and fisheries laws.
The class also assisted in a missing-person case in
Leon County. The recruits traveled to a Georgia landfill, where
they donned hazmat suits and picked through trash to help find
evidence for the case.
The 33 individuals will now join a special group as
they face the challenging and rewarding path ahead. As FWC
officers, they will patrol Florida's lands - almost 54,000 square
miles of it - and Florida's nearly 6,000 square miles of water.
These officers will be protecting the "Fishing Capital of the
World" and one of the largest public hunting systems in the
country. In addition to enforcing all state laws, FWC officers are
authorized to enforce federal fisheries and wildlife laws.
The graduates will now spend three months in their
assigned county with a field-training officer as follows:
Akos - Collier
Jesse Alford - Glades
Brian Barringer - Collier
Joshua Bembry - Taylor
Michael Bibeau - Collier
Bernard Bresie - Indian River
Luke Davenport - Hernando
Ted Davis - Collier
Antonio Dominguez - Dade
Gabriel Fernandez - Dade
Ammon Fisher - Manatee
William Freemon - Manatee
James Gay Jr. - Okeechobee
Michael Haney - Collier
James Holcomb - Wakulla
Bryan Loureiro - Dade
Brent McCarthy - Monroe
|James Payne - St.
Jason Richards - Monroe
Chris Rutherford - Monroe
John Santerfeit - Glades
Robert Scholl - Dade
Timothy Shearer - Nassau
Heidi Simons - St. Lucie
Ryan Smith - Hillsborough
Scott Smith - Pasco
Robert Spanier - Palm Beach
Chris Thurkettle - Collier
Raymond Vegter - Brevard
Aja Vickers - Monroe
Glen Way - Monroe
Kelsea Wiernicki - Martin
Kathryn Wright - Palm Beach