The Beacon of the University of Florida’s Safety has a National Talent Search
Public Safety employees at the beautiful University of Florida (UF) say that Gainesville is a nature lovers paradise. From nature trails, local natural springs and family friendly activities like Gator sporting events, there are always activities to enjoy in sunny north-central Florida.
The UF Police Department is recruiting top talent to fill many different roles, from administrative to law enforcement who are committed to providing safety and security for a community that consists of all social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. This commitment is reflective of the UF Police Department’s (UFPD) development of innovative policing solutions and creative strategies that position UFPD to be a leader in the field of campus law enforcement.
Organized as a department of 90 plus sworn law enforcement officers and 49 civilian employees, UFPD’s family-friendly environment, mentoring opportunities, and continued education options provide fulfillment and a work experience that allows for collaboration, growth, development, and shared perspectives while providing a full range of police services. The UFPD embraces values of various cultural experiences and the University is deliberate and intentional in their hiring process.
As one of the nation’s top public research universities, UF is dedicated to elevating employee benefits to support teams and to be responsive to a range of individual and family needs. Benefits that come with being employed at the UFPD include:
- No State Income Tax
- Competitive Salary
- Florida Retirement System Pension Plans
- Florida Retirement System Investment Plan
- State Health Plans
- Life Insurance
- Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts
Another benefit included with employment at the UFPD is the Employee Education Program, which allows employees to take advantage of personal educational growth. They can apply to UF for a degree program and have it covered by the university depending on which selected program. All employees of the UFPD are required to have a degree, but all for a good reason.
Sergeant Chad Holway shared that UFPD differentiates themselves by requiring other Law Enforcement agencies by requiring all law enforcement officers to obtain a higher education degree so that way each officer can relate and empathize with students at the top-five public institution. They want to be able to understand the students and what they are going through. “Being a Gator graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CALS), I can say I never set out to be in law enforcement, but being in the right place at the right time made me realize being a UFPD Officer would be a great career,” said Sergeant Holway. He grew up in Gainesville prior to obtaining his degree. When he graduated and was searching for work, he bounced around to a few different jobs before being presented with his dream opportunity, to work in law enforcement, and at his alma mater, The University of Florida.
“I came back from a day of fishing and saw a dog running in the parking lot in front of my condo. I was able to get hold of the dog and assisted another “Good Samaritan” that was also trying to catch the dog and keep the dog out of harm’s way. I worked with the “good Samaritan”, and we together were able to find the owner of the dog and reunite them. To me, I was just doing the neighborly thing, the right thing. Afterwards, I began talking with the “good Samaritan” and the subject of what I did for a living came up. I explained that I was currently in-between employments and looking for something more permanent. The next day, I got a call from the UFPD and it was the “good Samaritan.” She was the Chief of Police at UFPD. I had no idea. She said that she wanted me to be a police officer for the University of Florida. She said that she would make sure that I received the proper training and eventually I would come to work for her at the UFPD as an officer. I have been here ever since,” said Sergeant Holway.
Sergeant Holway lives a couple of blocks from his childhood home. Now, he is raising his family in Gainesville and can share his childhood memories with his family.
Lieutenant Jeff Moran has been at UFPD for over 20 years. He worked at UFPD for two years then left due to his hometown Police Department having an opening. After one year he was back in Gainesville. He wanted to raise his family in Gainesville.
“The ability to be in an academic environment and have so many activities for my growing family in driving distance is great. You can drive one was and be in Orlando, drive the other and pass many natural bodies of water for fishing, boating, tubing, diving and of course Gator sporting events,” said Lieutenant Moran. He mentioned one of his favorite memories while working for UFPD is working during the 2008 Gators football National Title game. Being a Gators fan, he was overjoyed.
Another Officer, Kendall Graham, is a double-Gator graduate as well as a former collegiate athlete for the University of Florida Women’s Soccer Team. She leads the recruitment effort for UFPD and has designed a unique vehicle wrap that has transformed one of the UFPD’s 2022 Ford Interceptor Hybrid vehicles into an eye-catching recruitment mobile billboard. With black and blue gator scales and the word “Recruitment” in reflective orange vinyl on both sides of the vehicle, this is no ordinary police vehicle. The recruitment vehicle also features a QR code on the back hatch that allows potential applicants to scan the code, redirecting them to UFPD’s recruitment website to obtain more information on how to join the team.
Officer Graham fell in love with Gainesville in 2009, and with each year that went by, she continued to fall more in love with the Gainesville area and the people within the community. Officer Graham knew that once she graduated, she did not want to leave. Officer Graham worked with several teams and departments within the University of Florida Athletic Association before landing her career at UFPD. “I chose a career in law enforcement, especially at the University of Florida Police Department, because the diversity of work available is extremely dynamic, and no two days are the same. We have the opportunity to make a difference in our community while continuing to cultivate a positive police presence. Another benefit she loves about her job is how welcoming and helpful the team has been. “When called into action, or just dealing with a personal crisis of some type, our fellow officers are there for us. There is great comfort in knowing that if something happened, there would be someone to lean on and help me through difficult times. The team is so diverse which has helped me feel even more welcome,” said Officer Graham. UFPD encompasses employees from all over the country as well as locals, which makes for many with different views, perspectives, and backgrounds. UFPD has many teams within their department, but they collaborate and work as one team, one family.
Officer Graham encourages those interested in a career at UFPD to apply for our Community Observer Program on the UFPD website. The Community Observer Program gives those a first-hand look at what team members of the University of Florida Police Department do on a day-to-day basis.
UFPD has many teams within their department, but they collaborate and work as one family. They are the heartbeat of Gator Nation’s safety. Not only do they enjoy what they do, but they are passionate about being there for Gator Nation.
If you are interested in learning more about Gator Nation’s UFPD, visit: https://police.ufl.edu/recruitment/ for more information. If interested in pursuing a career with the University of Florida Police Department, call Recruiting Officer Graham at (352) 273-3307 or email UPD-Recruiter@ad.ufl.edu.