Fifteen new Key West police officers were sworn into the department in a formal ceremony in front of the police station Thursday.
Interim Chief of Police Captain John Beuth administered the oath of office, repeated in unison by each new officer, swearing to protect constitutional guarantees, maintain the highest level of integrity and respond to the needs of the community. Chief Bill Fortune is on vacation.
Eight of the new officers graduated on July 19 from an intensive, four-months of training at the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at the Florida Keys Institute of Criminal at Florida Keys Community College, said Sgt. Scott Smith, the department’s training officer. The program fulfills basic training requirements of the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Smith said.
“Instruction topics included defensive tactics, legal issues, investigations, first responder to medical emergencies, communications, weapons, law enforcement driving and interpersonal skills, to name just a few,” Smith added.
He said the new officers will begin up to three months of closely supervised, one-on-one field training before they can patrol the streets of Key West on their own.
The department sponsored the eight officers who just graduated by paying their tuition and salaries during the school, Smith explained. Two of the remaining four also attended the local academy earlier and others went to academies elsewhere in Florida.
Key West’s new police officers who just graduated are:
Ashley Clevenger, 27, an Illinois native just out of the U. S. Coast Guard. He has already served as a firefighter and an emergency medical technician;
Janeth Jasmin DelCid, 22, born in the Republic of Panama, who was a Key West police Community Service Aide when she decided to go to the academy;
Francisco Gaete, 26, from Hialeah, but was born in Chile. He also just completed his service in the Coast Guard and said he decided to join the KWPD because he “got really positive feedback” from officers with whom he worked while stationed here;
Matt Haley, 31, another Illinois native and former Coastie has a degree in justice administration and psychology from Southern Illinois University. He said Key West appeals to him because it is “a small city but has all the troubles and excitement of a major city;”
Matthew Klosowski, 20, was a Law Enforcement Explorer and later a reserve officer in his home town of Bay City, Michigan. He wants “to help people and make a difference;”
Brandon Kutner, 29, is a former emergency medical technician and was in the U. S. Navy for nine years. He said he enjoys working in Key West because of its cultural diversity;
Michael Malgrat, 24, is a native Conch and 1998 graduate of Key West High School. He said he “always wanted to give something back to the community;”
John Piskator, 39, originally from Worcester, Massachusetts, earned a Bronze Star when he was in the U. S. Army as a Ranger, Airborne. He has a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering and earned a master’s in strategic intelligence at the Military Intelligence College in Washington, D.C.;
Jayce Joseph Politoski, 27, has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and is a pilot. The Wisconsin native has worked as a juvenile probation officer in Texas and played ice hockey for over 20 years. Welcome to the Southernmost City!
Other officers who recently joined the department and were sworn in Thursday are:
Lisa Caicedo, 30, came to the KWPD after seven years in the Coast Guard, most recently serving in Key West where she got to know and like department members. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminology;
Larry Caruso, 34, is a Florida native from Orange Park and has a pilot’s license. He said one reason he chose a career in law enforcement is to “set a positive example to the community, my son and to the children of the community”;
Eric Defilippo, 26, from Virginia and just completed eight years in the U. S. Navy working in security at NASKW. He said he wanted to be LEO since child and has family living in the area;
Alberto Develasco, 48, retired from 17 years with the Miami/Dade Police Department and came to the Keys because he loves water sports;
Jared Gabbay, 22, calls New York, N.Y., his home town and graduated from high school in London, U.K. He has specialized training in working with computers;
Richard Thomas, 33, has 13 years’ experience as a U. S. Navy hospital corpsman. He graduated from the local law enforcement academy in 2001 and has served as a KWPD Auxiliary Officer. He was decorated for his service in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
In his welcoming remarks before administering the oath, Beuth emphasized the importance of relationships among themselves in the department and with the community. “The relationships you establish now will grow with you as you develop professionally are the foundation – not only in establishing trust in the community you serve, establishing lifelong friendships – personally and professionally – but also in providing for open sharing of information among colleagues . . . .”
Interim Key West Police Chief John Beuth Thursday administered the oath of office to 15 new officers, most of whom just graduated from the local law enforcement academy. They will begin up to three months of closely supervised one-on-one field training which each must complete successfully before being on their own on the streets of Key West. (KWPD photo)