Gone are the days when police officers were sworn in in a corner of the City Clerk’s office – or they are, at least, under Chief Richard Beary’s watch.
With those words, Chief Beary opened up the swearing-in ceremony for three new officers at the UCF Police Department in front of a crowd of witnesses and the media on Thursday.
“In the many years I’ve been in this business, what I have tried to do as chief of police is to always publicly do these swearing-ins, because this is the most important thing that I do, quite frankly,” Chief Beary said. “Without this oath of office, you can’t go out and do the job that you need to do, and at this time in history, it’s even more critical that the public understands what that oath of office really means to the community that we serve.”
Officers Jean Quiles, an Air Force veteran, Maurice Thompson, a former deputy sheriff at Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and Dan Ryley, a Marine Corps veteran, are the newest additions to the UCFPD task force, taking the total of sworn officers up to 72.
Officer Ryley said that, although he can’t bring any law enforcement experience to UCF, his experience working with Marine Corps officers, many of which fall into the same age range as college students, will prove beneficial as he serves his duties on campus.
“Dealing with a younger population will not be anything new for me,” he said.
On the contrary, officer Quiles said that he is most looking forward to the changes that he will experience as he transfers from the Windermere Police Department.
“I am really looking forward to the diverse student body and making contact with new people and a new agency,” he said. “No two agencies are alike, and I always look forward to new experiences.”
For officer Thompson, who previously worked in OCSO’s busiest sector, he said he is looking forward to transitioning from having to be on-guard every single day, to dealing with college students, who he believes to be inherently good people.
As a former UCF student, Thompson said he understands that students can often make mistakes they don’t mean to make.
“I’m really looking forward to doing more community policing,” he said. “Getting out there and relating to them will knock down crime and change police relations for the better.”
Deputy Chief Brett Meade, who is passionately involved in recruiting, said that the officers, having beat out 90 other candidates, are truly the cream of the crop.
“They all have that bind in the community policing aspect that we are looking for,” he said. “We’re very confident in their decision making skills, and we believe that they will be an outstanding fit to our university culture.”
After giving the new officers their badges and oaths of office, Chief Beary offered one final reminder.
“Even though some of you have law enforcement experience, this is a unique place to work,” he said.“The standard of care here is so much higher than any other law enforcement agency I’ve ever worked at, so as you go forward remember that.
"We are responsible for those people that may sometimes not make good decisions, and yet their parents have absolute confidence and faith in us that we will ensure that they’ll get home safely at the end of their time in college.”
Daniela Marin is a digital producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dan__marin or email her at DanielaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.