Nicole Stone/Assistant News Director
The University’s Police Department held its annual Promotion and Swearing-in Ceremony on Friday, Feb. 23, where two new officers were introduced to the community and six were promoted to leadership positions.
The promotions and addition of new officers, according to newly promoted Captain Alberto Alberto, means a safer future for the members of the FIU community.
“We have additional officers patrolling the streets and a more rounded command staff that is going to give direction to the younger officers that are here now and were sworn in,” Alberto said.
“This is a way for us to introduce our officers to our community and let the people here at FIU know that we are here to serve them,” Police Chief Alexander Casas said of the ceremony. “We are continuing to improve the way we do our policing by bringing in new officers, but as importantly, is promoting line supervisors and middle managers to shape our leaders of the future.”
FIUPD Officer Kristin Cundle served as a dispatcher for five years before her entry into the police academy, a decision which, she says, the FIUPD was extremely supportive of.
For Cundle, the sense of community at FIU is one of her favorite parts of working with the department.
“FIU is a small community within a big city. We get the benefit of being able to interact with our community members on a more personal basis, where in the bigger city, they don’t really have that luxury of stopping and talking with students, faculty or staff to get their real experiences. I love that,” she said.
Her sister, Morgan Cundle, was also in attendance to the swearing-in ceremony.
“Im extremely proud of her, as a family, we all work in law enforcement. She’s carrying on an extremely proud tradition for us,” Morgan Cundle said. “I couldn’t think of a better person to be here and I couldn’t think of a person more deserving,”
Casas has high expectations for the new recruits, emphasizing the honor of service upheld by the department.
“Serving is a privilege, and it’s a burden at the same time because its a selfless act. You have to understand that. This is bigger than you as any individual. This is about our community. Take pride in that and embrace it, and you’ll be successful,” Casas said.
Major Jeorge Gomez, also newly promoted, attended FIU as a student before leaving to work in another department for 33 years. Coming back in the past year, he said, feels like home.
“I came from a big police dept where I worked for 33 years and I see the commitment and the dedication of the FIU [department] and the great working relationship that they have with the students, the staff and faculty. I am very proud to be here. For me, I’m home. Working in another dept for 33 years, I can tell you: we have a great police department and the members of the University should feel safe.” Gomez said.
The department, according to Casas will continue its mission to protect and reassure the community.
“Our intentions are to leave everything we do better than before we were there. We are here. We are resolved. We are dedicated. We are here to take care of our FIU community,” he said.
Feature Image by Elizabeth Soza/PantherNOW