News Releases

11 new officers ready to protect state’s people, natural resources

News Release

Monday, December 05, 2011

Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585

The newest additions to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Division of Law Enforcement graduated Friday at the Florida Public Safety Institute near Tallahassee.

Eleven individuals had all taken previous steps toward becoming law enforcement officers, but they added another element to their mission Friday. They not only pledged their efforts to protecting Florida's residents and visitors, but they also vowed to defend its unique and valuable natural resources.

"Everyone in this class was already law enforcement certified before joining us," said Col. Jim Brown, director of the FWC's Division of Law Enforcement. "We are very pleased with the dedication and enthusiasm they already display for the job."

The beginning of each traditional FWC academy teaches basic law enforcement information to recruits. The final eight weeks of each session constitute the breakout portion; this is when recruits learn the unique skills needed to be an FWC officer. Since Friday's graduates were certified previously, they attended only the breakout portion.

Out of hundreds of applicants, only 13 were selected to begin the class, and 11 made it through the intensive training and physical demands to graduate. The training included firearms proficiency, wildlife identification, defensive tactics, vessel and all-terrain vehicle operation, as well as a focus on state and federal wildlife and fisheries laws.

"We are excited about what these individuals bring to the FWC," Brown said. "The group represents a wide variety of abilities and experiences."

Many are well-versed in law enforcement; their backgrounds range from being an FWC reservist and a son of a former Marine Patrol officer, to patrol deputies, a tactical team member and a corrections K-9 officer. Four of these new officers are military veterans, one having served in both Iraq and Kuwait. Several members are active in the National Guard or military reserves, and there are three with bachelor's degrees.

"Another notable characteristic about this group is a love for the outdoors. They are now pledging their efforts to protect the very natural resources they have enjoyed all of their lives," Brown said.

The 11 diverse 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 - more than 34 million acres - as well as over 12,000 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 spend the next three months with a field-training officer and are assigned to the following counties:

Shelton Bartlett - Monroe
Jason Bryan - Clay
James Buckley - St. Lucie
Hunter Caldwell - Dade
Matthew DallaRosa - Pinellas
Asa Dias Jr. - Broward
Joseph Jenkins - Broward
Scott Kellerman - Broward
Rewa Maldonado - Palm Beach
Matthew Nasworth - Glades
Jerry Yates - Lee

FWC Facts:
Bees can see ultraviolet light.

Learn More at AskFWC