Florida State University Police Chief Terri Brown swore in five new police officers and the department’s first two K-9s during a ceremony Jan. 24.
Officers Tiffany Spears, Craig Kistner, Matt Hedges, John Beeman and David Taczak, along with K-9s Tomahawk and Nera, have joined the force.
“FSUPD is excited about the addition of its newest officers as well as the deployment of the K-9s,” said FSUPD Chief Terri Brown. “Each officer and K-9 has gone through many hours of training and will receive many more hours of rigorous training in order to safely and effectively keep the FSU community safe.”
Upon becoming chief in September 2019, Brown wanted to deploy the department’s first-ever K-9 Unit along with increasing police presence in the community.
Tomahawk, a 2-year-old Black Goldador (Labrador/Golden Retriever mix), was donated to FSUPD by Southeastern Guide Dog, a nonprofit organization which trains dogs to assist blind persons.
Nera is a 1 ½-year-old female Labrador Retriever from South America, who was purchased from Southern Coast K9 in Daytona Beach.
Both K-9s were trained by members of the Leon County Sheriff’s Detector Dog School and are certified by the Florida Law Enforcement Canine Association.
FSUPD’s five new sworn officers bring a breadth of experience to the force.
Spears, of Crawfordville, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Southeastern University and spent seven years as an educator before pursuing a career in law enforcement. She previously worked as a deputy with the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office for two years.
Kistner, who earned a bachelor’s in criminology from FSU, is a recent graduate of the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy.
Hedges is a U.S. Army veteran, whose three-year enlistment included a one-year tour in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. He is a graduate of the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy and holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice. Hedges, who previously served with the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, is working toward his bachelor’s degree at Liberty University.
Beeman served 31 years with the City of Tallahassee Police Department before retiring in October 2019. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminology from FSU.
Taczak, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, attended the Florida Public Safety Institute in 2013. He has served on the Florida A&M University Police Department since March 2015.
The Florida State University Police Department was established in 1930. Since its inception, FSUPD has been committed to providing the FSU community with a safe environment conducive to the goals of education and research. The FSU Police Department is a fully accredited law enforcement agency of nearly 80 sworn officers and is responsible for law enforcement, campus access and security services, and emergency management on campus properties.
For more information about the Florida State University Police Department, visit http://police.fsu.edu.