August 4, 2016
Contact: Sandi Poreda, APR
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) today announced the recipients of numerous awards honoring law enforcement officers and agencies for outstanding service and acts of bravery. The officers and agencies were recognized during the FPCA’s annual Summer Training Conference in Bonita Springs.
The FPCA presented a total of 14 law enforcement awards, including the Lee McGehee Police Officer of the Year Awards, the Rocky Pomerance Excellence in Policing Awards, a Pillars of Success Award, an Operation Cooperation Award, three Wall of Honor Awards, the FPCA President’s Choice Award, the FPCA Director’s Choice Award and a Fallen Hero Award.
“These awards demonstrate not only the breadth of the FPCA’s membership, but also the extreme talent and dedication of those members – to their communities, to their fellow law enforcement officers and to their state,” said Coconut Creek Chief of Police Albert “Butch” Arenal, the newly installed 2016-2017 President of the FPCA.
The first awards presented were the President’s Choice Award and the Director’s Choice Award, each of which recognizes an individual for exceptional performance and/or his or her support or service to the President, the Association and the advancement of the law enforcement profession. The 2016 President’s Choice Award recipient was Chief Kenneth Albano of the Temple Terrace Police Department and the Director’s Choice Award was given to Marshal Bill Berger of the U.S. Marshals Service.
“Over the course of the past year, Chief Albano has been a constant presence, encouraging our members to support the FPCA and our initiatives,” said Chief Brett Railey of the Winter Park Police Department, the FPCA President for 2015/2016. “I am grateful for his service to our association.”
“Marshal Berger has been a driving force behind the effort to fund our new headquarters and training facility, and for that we owe him our sincere gratitude,” said Amy Mercer, Executive Director of the FPCA.
The Operation Cooperation Award, given this year to the Clearwater Police Department, recognizes a police department that has worked with a private sector partner to solve a police-related problem or enhance a police-related service. Working with the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County (ELC), the Clearwater Police Department established the Office Friendly Book Club and once a month, an officer read a children’s book to a preschool class in Clearwater. The 20 officers who participated helped create a more positive relationship between law enforcement and the community’s children.
The FPCA’s Pillars of Success Award recognizes men and women who previously served as law enforcement officers and who now serve in private sector security-related positions. This year’s award recipient is Retired Major Al Perotti Jr. from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. During his tenure with the Sheriff’s Office, Major Perotti commanded the Intelligence Unit and the Narcotics Squad and served as the Major in charge of the Administration Division, the Services Division and a full Uniformed Patrol District. Ret. Major Perotti now represents TECO Energy Inc. as the Security Department Manager and serves as the company’s Chief Liaison to numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
The Lee McGehee Police Officer of the Year Award was established in 1998 to recognize police officers who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and shown a genuine commitment to their profession, their agencies and the public they serve. The Rocky Pomerance Awards recognize excellence in policing and encourage the sharing of best practices and programs developed to address community problems, enhancing the agencies in the eyes of their respective communities. Both awards are bestowed in categories for small, medium and large agencies.
For small agencies of 30 or fewer sworn officers, the Lee McGehee Police Officer of the Year Award was given to six individuals with the Indian River Shores Police Department – Officers Ken Barrett, Chris Beaumont, Dustin Crouch, Geoff Hawkes and Ted Mooney and Sergeant Tim Dempsey. Last October, the officers responded to dispatch about a possible drowning at the beach and despite Officers Barrett, Beaumont, Crouch and Mooney sustaining injuries from the victim and the heavy surf, the entire team and the victim were guided to shore by Sergeant Dempsey. The Rocky Pomerance Excellence in Policing Award was given to the Fellsmere Police Department for the second year in a row, recognizing the department’s efforts to initiate a partner institution policing model where law enforcement proactively works with other institutions, including faith-based organizations and families, to better serve their community.
The Lee McGehee Police Officer of the Year Award for medium-sized agencies, with 31-75 sworn officers, recognized Officer Rick Shawver of the Wilton Manors Police Department. In addition to numerous acts of leadership, Officer Shawver was recognized specifically for his compassionate response to a resident struggling with code enforcement violations. Officer Shawver recruited members of the department who volunteered their services on their personal time to make the repairs necessary to achieve compliance, providing a great service to a single mother in financial distress. In this same category, the Oviedo Police Department won the Rocky Pomerance Excellence in Policing Award for bringing Bailey the K9 into the Jackson Heights Middle School to work with School Resource Officer Edward Genao. K9 Bailey’s presence breaks down barriers between at-risk students and SRO Genao, and the positive impact Bailey has at the school can be seen on a daily basis.
For large agencies with more than 75 sworn officers, the Lee McGehee Police Officer of the Year Award was awarded to Officer Niel Johnson of the North Miami Police Department. In April 2015, Officer Johnson was fired upon by a suspect who had already shot an innocent bystander. Office Johnson returned fire and subdued the suspect; without his swift and selfless actions, the gunman would have likely injured or killed additional victims. The Rocky Pomerance Excellence in Policy Award went to the Riviera Beach Police Department for implementing a community policing model, driving the crime rate in Riviera Beach down more than 52 percent over the past eight years.
The FPCA also presented three Wall of Honor awards to recognize individuals who have contributed greatly to the association. Recipients are recommended by current or past FPCA members and receive special recognition on display at the FPCA headquarters and training facility in Tallahassee. This year, Ret. Chief Lionel Cote of the Satellite Beach Police Department, Ret. Chief Keith Chandler of the Melbourne Police Department and Ret. Chief Jay Romine of the Holmes Beach Police Department – also the Director of the Manatee Tech Florida Law Enforcement Academy – were honored for their outstanding contributions to the law enforcement profession and for years of service to the FPCA in numerous leadership positions.
On a somber note, the FPCA’s Fallen Hero Award remembers and recognizes security personnel killed in the line of duty. Keith Cox worked as a security guard for 50 State Security in Miami, where he was assigned to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Metrorail Plaza. While on duty on August 25, 2015, Cox was shot and killed by an unknown assailant without provocation. The FPCA presented the Fallen Heroes Award to members of Cox’s family members in attendance at the awards ceremony.
The FPCA is the third largest state police chiefs association in the nation and is composed of more than 900 of the state’s top law enforcement executives. FPCA serves municipal police departments, airport police, college and university police, private business and security firms, as well as federal, state and county law enforcement agencies. The FPCA has members representing every region of the state. For more information about membership and its benefits, please visit
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