Police chiefs honor legislators, award outstanding police efforts and elect new board

Police officer badge on a dark background, 3D rendering, illustr
The law enforcement association met in Ponte Vedra to dole out laureates and induct new leadership.

Attorney General Ashley Moody and Senate President Pro Tempore Dennis Baxley were among those the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) honored this past week for championing law enforcement aims.

Representatives of the association, which counts more than 1,300 of the state’s law enforcement agencies’ top leaders among its membership, also recognized its Legislators of the Year, honored top employees among the blue and elected a new slate of officers as it met in Ponte Vedra for the 72nd Annual Summer Training Conference and Exposition awards banquet.

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association is honored to recognize those public servants who have proven themselves to be dedicated, battle-tested supporters of law and order and the law enforcement profession,” said FPCA President and Tampa International Airport Police Department Chief Charles Vazquez.

Vazquez was chosen at the same meeting to succeed Clermont Police Department Chief Charles “Chuck” Broadway as FPCA President.

Moody is the FPCA’s “Law Dog — Lawyer of the Year.” She received the award because she devoted her entire career to enforcing laws and preserving community safety, according to an FPCA news release. In particular, the association cited her “Be A Florida Hero” officer recruitment initiative and “#BackTheBlue” officer recognition program, among other shining

Baxley of Belleview, along with Deputy House Majority Leader John Snyder of Stuart, were singled out to receive FPCA’s Guardian and Warrior Executive Director Awards. 

Baxley, a Republican who can’t be re-elected due to term limits, “has long championed FPCA’s priorities,” the award announcement says.

Snyder, a former Marine who served in Afghanistan before his 2020 election as a Republican, was recognized for shepherding public safety bills through the process and sponsoring legislation on probation and community control.

Republican Reps. Keith Truenow of Tavares, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and Taylor Yarkosky of Monteverde, a licensed security officer and firearms instructor, were singled out as the FPCA’s Law Enforcement & Public Safety Champions for the bills they sponsored. Truenow’s bills addressed fentanyl, retail theft and street racing, while Yarkosky’s focused on child trafficking, firearms training and law enforcement operations.

Other legislators earning special recognition were:

— Republican Sen. Jay Collins of Tampa, an Army Special Forces combat veteran, for numerous bills that focused on law enforcement issues, such as first responder exposure to fentanyl, cybersecurity, and peer support for correctional officers.

— Republican Rep. Danny Alvarez of Hillsborough County, U.S. Army veteran and lawyer, for his bills involving compensation and retirement benefits to encourage the reemployment of retired law enforcement to help fill the recruiting and retention gap.

— Republican Rep. Chuck Brannan III of Macclenny, a former Baker County Sheriff’s Office chief investigator and former deputy U.S. Marshal, for his anti-swatting legislation and his role securing training funding for new police chiefs.

Awards for the blue

In addition to legislators, law enforcement and civilian awards were given out, with agency-level awards and honors for those occupying positions ranging from chiefs to awards for administrative assistants.

Among the awards:

— Two Rocky Pomerance Excellence in Policing Awards, recognizing innovations in policing, were given out according to size of the agencies, with Clermont Police Department winning in the large agency category and Marco Island Police Department winning in the medium agency category. 

— The William B. Berger Outstanding Chief Executive of the Year went to North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison. The command officer of the year award of the same name went to the Tallahassee Police Deputy Chief Michael Suleski.

— Two Lee McGehee Police Officer of the Year Awards, recognizing individual officers for outstanding police work, were awarded according to agency size with Miami Beach Police Department’s Detective Matthew Aiken winning in the large agency category and Palm Beach Police Department’s Sgt. Kendall Reyes, the medium category.

— FPCA’s President Award, recognizing exceptional service to the association, went to Karen and Doug Monda, who started Survive First, a Cocoa Beach-based non-profit offering resources to first responders facing mental health challenges.

— Three Civilian Employee of the Year awards were given out in according to the size of the agency with Palm Beach Gardens Police Department employee Melissa Clanton winning the large agency award; Marco Police Department employee Katherine Hofmeister, the medium-sized agency award; and Clewiston Police Department employee Ashley Smith, the small agency award.

— Three Administrative Assistant of the Year awards were given out according to agency size with Clearwater Police Department’s Kelly Adkisson, winning the large agency award; Stuart Police Department’s Lisa Scott, the medium agency award; and Orange Park Police Department’s Stefani Kuhn, the small agency award. 

Dispatcher of the Year went to Mandy Lorenz of the North Port Police.

FPCA’s Public Private Partnership Committee’s (PPPC) Operation Cooperation Award also gave out a round of awards, recognizing excellence in private sector partnerships with law enforcement agencies working together to address community needs and enhance public safety.

Those awards were:

— A general public-private partnership award went to the Elks Lodge No. 2159 partnership with the Largo Police Department.

— The PPPC Glen Mowrey Pillars of Success Award, which recognizes retirees who have transitioned to the private sector, went to former Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina who started the consulting firm, Jorge Colina Group, LLC.

— The PPPC Fallen Hero Award, recognizing private sector security officers who die in the line of duty, was given to Ed Mead, 81, who died last October while protecting High Point Homeowners Association in Brooksville.

New leadership Inducted

In addition to Tampa International Airport Police Chief Vazquez becoming the new FPCA President, the association inducted a new slate of officers.

“I am in awe of the responsibility and faith that I have been entrusted with to lead the Florida Police Chiefs Association for the next year,” the newly designated President said in a prepared statement. “I endeavor to build on the work my predecessor did to provide for the health and overall wellness of our state’s most valuable asset, the officer on the road.”

Joining him on the FPCA Board are:

— Vice President and Fort Walton Beach Police Chief Robert Bage.

— Second Vice President and Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey.

— Third Vice-President and Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell.

— Secretary/ Treasurer: Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan.

— Immediate Past President and Clermont Police Chief Broadway.

— Past President at Large and Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal.

— Parliamentarian and Satellite Beach Police Chief Jeff Pearson.

Another 17 district representatives joining the FPCA Board are: Northport Police Chief Todd Garrison; St. Augustine Police Chief Jennifer Michaux; Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak; Casselberry Police Chief Larry Krantz; Stuart Police Chief Joseph Tumminelli; West Melbourne Police Chief Greg Vesta; Ormond Beach Police Chief Jesse Godfrey; Marco Island Police Chief Tracy Frazzano; Springfield Police Chief Barry Roberts; Davie Police Chief Steven Kinsey;  Treasure Island Police Chief John Barkley; Florida Atlantic University Police Chief Sean Brammer; Haines City Police Chief Greg Goreck; Perry Police Chief Jamie Cruse; High Springs Police Chief Antoine Sheppard.

Two district representative seats remain vacant.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].

One comment

  • Law Dog

    June 24, 2024 at 3:51 am

    Utterly lacking from Moody’s award recognition is any sort of lawyer win. Recruiting and recognition is what gets her the prize?

Comments are closed.


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