ACADEMY GRADUATES BECOME FWC LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TODAY
April 18, 2003
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has 39 newly trained law enforcement officers ready to take assignments all across Florida. Officers completed 26 weeks of training and received badges and diplomas at a 10 a.m. ceremony in the Tallahassee Community College auditorium.
FWC Chairman Edwin P. Roberts delivered the commencement address, then executive director Kenneth Haddad and law enforcement director Col. Julie Jones joined him to hand out diplomas.
“We are proud to pin this dedicated group of new officers. They have a strong desire to protect Florida’s natural resources, and now they possess the skills and training to do a top-notch job,” Jones said.
Jones said the class’ academic average was 93.5. About half have college degrees (14 have bachelor’s degrees and 6 have associate’s degrees); 16 graduates have military backgrounds. The ages of the new officers range from 22 to 53.
Charles Erishmann, 35, of Boynton Beach, graduated top of the class, a ranking derived from a combination of academic scores, physical fitness and leadership evaluation. By graduating top of the class, he gets to choose his work assignment, and he has picked Indian River County. He also was elected by his classmates to deliver the graduation speech.
Erishmann attended Miami Dade Community College and later joined the United States Coast Guard, where he graduated as honor-graduate from boot camp and spent the next five years working as a radioman, boarding team member, Spanish translator and public relations Petty Officer. He graduates from the academy with a 96.4 GPA, and he held a leadership position of videographer.
Kevin Larson, 43, of Jacksonville, attained the highest
academic score in the class, with a 97.6 grade point average.
Larson retired from the U.S. Navy after serving 22 years. He and
his wife, Mary, have three children and four grandchildren.
Christopher Colon, 29, of Ft. Lauderdale, was named class leader by the academy training staff because of the leadership abilities he exhibited during training. Colon is a commercial pilot who served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
The new officers will take a two-week break and report to their work assignments May 9. Seven graduates are planning to get married during this break.
Five officers are following in their fathers’ footsteps by choosing a career in law enforcement. Zachary Clark, 26, Elizabeth McCoy, 26, Brian Parkton, 25, Gregory Shuler, 24, and Michael Stanley, 26, all have fathers in law enforcement.
Andrew Webb, 27, of Tallahassee, has a brother who is an FWC Officer in Okaloosa County.
Today’s graduates began the process by applying for, and being selected to attend, the FWC Training Academy. They had to pass a physical fitness assessment, reading comprehension, math and language skills tests. There also was an oral interview, a background investigation, a medical checkup and an eye exam. Successful applicants received employment offers with the FWC and notices to report to the academy for 26 weeks of intensive training. The first 19 weeks focused on the State of Florida basic recruit curriculum.
The last seven weeks stressed the unique requirements of conservation law enforcement, including:
FWC officers may still focus their work in a particular area for routine patrols, but when the need arises for concentrated law enforcement at any location, the FWC has the flexibility to deploy officers to any freshwater, saltwater or land operation.
“FWC law enforcement is the largest resource law enforcement contingent in America. We have officers on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Jones said. “I encourage anyone interested in a law enforcement career to consider the FWC.”
People interested in becoming an FWC officer can mail a completed standard State of Florida employment application to the FWC Training Academy, 29 Academy Drive, Havana, FL 32333.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Graduates and Their Cities of Residence