Though each’s path to the badge has been different, five police officers on Monday became united in their mission to protect and serve the University of Central Florida.
The officers were joined by family, friends, UCF Police Department leadership and staff, and others from the UCF community for a swearing-in ceremony.
“These officers will help UCF Police enhance our community-policing practices and deliver on our mission to provide a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said UCF Police Chief Richard Beary. “We are excited to welcome them to our family.”
The five—selected from a pool of 278 applicants—expand UCFPD to 71 officers spread across the main campus and the Rosen, Lake Nona and regional campuses.
The officers will be assigned to the patrol division upon completion of their field-training program, which started in September and consists of five months of classroom training and experience on the streets while paired with a UCFPD officer.
Meet the Officers
Officer Terrell Alexander, 30, is a Navy veteran who served for five years. Originally from Auburndale, Alexander comes to UCFPD from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, where he served as a deputy sheriff.
He’s in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree in health service administration from UCF, and he’s a graduate of the Criminal Justice Institute at Valencia College.
“I’m looking forward to establishing a great working relationship with the university staff and faculty while serving the student population by providing a safe environment so they can excel in their education,” Alexander said.
Officer Jerad Engel, 27, previously served as a staff sergeant for the Florida Air National Guard and also worked security for a hospital in Jacksonville.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Florida in 2012. He’s a graduate of the North East Florida Criminal Justice Center.
Engel said he’s excited about “interacting with the public and making sure UCF students are safe and protected.”
Officer Agustin Gonzalez, 32, did a career 180, relocating to Florida from New York—where he owned a barbershop—to pursue a career in law enforcement.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Gonzalez most recently worked security at a charter school in Kissimmee. He’s a graduate of the Criminal Justice Institute at Valencia College.
Gonzalez said he’s looking forward to being part of a team, having the opportunity to work for an agency known for its professionalism, and helping give back to the UCF community.
Officer Ricky Lopez, 29, first joined UCFPD as an intern while he was completing his studies in criminal justice at UCF.
Lopez earned an associate degree from Seminole State College and then completed his bachelor’s degree through the Direct Connect to UCF program. He’s also a graduate of Seminole State’s Law Enforcement Academy.
Originally from Colombia, Lopez is looking forward to “working closely with international students and educating them about how UCFPD works and the many services the department offers to the community.”
The fifth officer, an Army veteran who retired from the New York Police Department, prefers to let his classmates have the spotlight.
Additional Officer Hirings to Come
UCFPD announced a hiring campaign and debuted a UCF-themed recruiting car in January. Staff from across the department and the university helped review candidates and select officers.
The department anticipates hiring two additional classes with four to five officers each for the next several years. Another group of officers is expected to start at UCFPD in February, and the department will then start recruiting again for positions to start in July.
To learn more about job opportunities with UCF Police, visit https://police.ucf.edu/recruiting.