UCF Police Lieutenant Jerry Emert doesn’t love to smile. He’s more likely to choose constructive criticism over compliments. He’s probably scared a few people.
He’s not your traditional Officer Friendly, but nobody can question Lt. Emert’s passion for helping students. He’s put them first for the past 22 years.
“I do my absolute best to get the job done, and here, it was making my students safe,” Lt. Emert said. “It’s what I was meant to do.”
After more than two decades at UCF, Lt. Emert will move onto a new adventure after this week.
Lt. Emert and his wife—former officer Jeannette Emert, who worked for UCFPD for 25 years before retiring in August—will load their two kids into a 2003 Beaver RV and take off on a road trip around the country.
The idea is to make history come to life for his teen and tween while touring the whole United States.
“I was in the Navy for 20 years. I have seen the world—Europe, Asia, Africa, the near East, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, Japan, Hawaii,” said Lt. Emert. “I haven’t seen a lot of the U.S., so that’s the next thing. We’re going to be in an RV seeing the country.”
Lt. Emert grew up in Syracuse, NY, and joined the Navy two weeks after turning 17. He was among the first crew members on the U.S.S. Nimitz, and he later spent three years as a military police officer.
Lt. Emert trained close to 1,000 Navy recruits as a company commander before retiring after 20 years of service and settling in Central Florida.
He spent some time as a reserve deputy in Escambia County and worked for the Winter Park Police Department. He joined UCFPD in 1994, when campus was a much different place.
“UCF was known as a small commuter school when I first got hired here,” Lt. Emert said. “The growth increased our job immensely.”
Emert created the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Enforcement unit, which is no longer in service but at the time made a large impact in cracking down on DUIs and alcohol and drug-related activity.
When times were tough and budget was limited, he went the extra mile, writing grants for everything from additional officers to new cars to the latest equipment. As he rose through the ranks to lieutenant, he mentored officers along the way.
Throughout the years, he never lost sight of his mission, always jumping in to help people and staying true to who he is.
Lt. Emert says his next mission– retirement– will be a long road full of the doing the things that he wants to do, like traveling and spending time with his family.