I was fortunate to meet Corporal Ben Glass and Master Trooper Michael Stallworth today at the Navy Pensacola Job Fair. I throughly enjoyed the opportunity to interact with such professionals who exhibited the highest degree of professionalism, knowledge and decorum.
I related to them my very long standing appreciation and respect for the FHP starting as a young boy growing up in Destin during the early 60s. Later, in 1981, I completed my law enforcement degree at Auburn University and I recall how the FHP was held in such high nation-wide esteem, in both our text books and from the professors, as the epitome of law enforcement professionalism. Of particular interest at that time, was the recognition placed on the FHP as the forerunner and example to our nation's other state and local law enforcement agencies in attaining high standards of professionalism and service. The legacy of excellence in training and conduct established by the FHP decades ago continues to be exemplified by troopers like Corporal Glass and Master Trooper Stallworth.
In my conversation with them today, I spoke of the comparison between top notch military units in which I have had the privilege to serve and the FHP's fine heritage of professionalism. I have found that exceptional military units, with high levels of training and expectations of conduct, cause any new members to rise up to the high standards and personally become more than they would be otherwise. Even mediocre performers tend to rise up to the challenge of such units and grow professionally making the entire organization stronger.
I was disappointed, however, to learn today that the future of the FHP Training Academy was in jeopardy. I can only guess that this is related to the lean budgetary environments of the times. If this is the case, I would encourage the State executives to reconsider such a move. While reducing costs by such a move may temporarily ease a financial shortfall, I believe the long term potential affects to the FHP's fine heritage of exceptional training and professional standards would be detrimental.
As was evident today, the FHP appears to continue it's fine legacy as a premier law enforcement agency and among our nation's finest. I wish you the best in your endeavors while leading such a fine organization into the future. As I close my career military service, I salute you and the other men and women who serve and protect Florida with such honor and dedication.
Spanish Fort, AL