At Tuesday’s city commission meeting, Key West Police Chief Bill Mauldin introduced eleven new officers who just graduated from the basic law enforcement academy at the Florida Keys Institute of Criminal Justice at Florida Keys Community College.
“We are proud to introduce to you these fine new Key West police officers, Mauldin said. “We are all looking forward to working with them protecting the peace and safety of our community.”
An aggressive recruiting campaign, including financial assistance, helped persuade them to become Key West Police officers, Recruiting Officer Al Citelli said. Eight of the recruits signed sponsorship agreements under which the department paid their $2,900 tuition for the academy.
The 672-hour program fulfills basic training requirements of the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Instruction topics included law enforcement, defensive tactics, legal issues, investigations, first responder to medical emergencies, communications, weapons, law enforcement driving and interpersonal skills.
The new Key West police rookies the department sponsored are:
Thomas H. Anglin, IV, 31, a Warwick, R.I., native and U. S. Army veteran who was in an airborne unit. He brings to the department extensive specialized training and was even an Eagle Scout back home. He chose Key West for its diversity saying, “It is like a new city every day.”
Linda Brackin, 34, originally from Cleveland, Texas, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Houston. She worked for six years as a juvenile probation officer and has over 200 hours of training in investigating, interviewing and supervising sex offenders. “I chose to become an officer because I feel every individual has an obligation to contribute to the protection and development of our community,” Brackin said.
Christine Coker, 28, chose Key West police because she feels she will be able to make a difference and help the community, plus, she said she intends to make Key West her home. She enjoys SCUBA diving, dancing and gymnastics.
Melissa Hadas, 32, is a registered nurse, trained at FKCC, who enjoys amateur boxing. She said what she likes best about being in law enforcement is making the streets safer for kids.
Thomas Neary, 44, came to Key West police after 26 years in the Ridgefield, N. J., Police Department where he served in numerous capacities, including crime prevention, D.A.R.E., recruit training, traffic crash reconstruction and dive team. The diving and fishing enthusiast chose Key West police “because they are a community-oriented police department and pro-active.”
Kelly O’Callaghan, 27, came to Key West police from the U. S. Coast Guard and remains in the Coast Guard Reserve. Her hobbies include playing the piano and guitar and writing short stories. “The best thing about law enforcement is to help people in troubled situations and maintain peace,” she said.
Mark Rauen, 24, also came from the Coast Guard and attended classes at Indiana University and Purdue University. He said he would like to serve in the department’s Marine Unit or as a motorcycle officer in the Bureau of Traffic Safety.
David Swanson, 35, a Massachusetts native, worked for the Mass. Department of Corrections and was in the Mass. Air National Guard. He is also a certified marine mechanic who enjoys boats, motorcycles and trucks. He said he wants “to be an active member in the community, to help people and to be a part of something he considers to be great.”
Three of the officers introduced put themselves through the academy. They are:
Randy Smith, 26, had worked as an insurance fraud investigator, mostly in Florida and is trained as an emergency medical technician. He said he chose to pursue a law enforcement career in Key West because of its diversity and the “great citizens.”
William John Mader, 22, a Panama City, Fla., native who graduated from the academy in 2003 and worked for the Sheriff’s Office as a road deputy before coming to Key West police. He says he wants to stay in this are, which he considers home.
Darnell Seeley, 21, has lived her since he was a baby. Seeley grew up in Key West and graduated from Key West High School in 2002. He said he joined the Key West Police Department for the opportunity to serve his community.
Key West Chief of Police Bill Mauldin introduced 11 new police officers at the recent City Commission meeting. They are, top row, from left, Mark Rauer, Tom Neary and Randall Smith; second row, William Mader, Christine Coker, Thomas Anglin; third row, to Mader’s right are Melissa Hadas and Daniel Swanson; in front, Kelly O’Calloghan, Linda Brackin and Darnell Seeley.