Takeaways: My Time on the School Safety Citizen’s Advisory Group


This past Wednesday, our group had a great learning experience when we went for an orientation and a tour of the Osceola Technical College’s Criminal Justice Training Academy over off Simpson Road in Kissimmee.

This was not a meeting, but our group taking the initiative to further educate ourselves on the training that Law Enforcement Officers and School Resource Officers go through.

The Criminal Justice Academy is certified by the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to deliver all Commission approved curriculum to different types of law enforcement in the state of Florida. 

They are a regional training facility and teach advanced and specialized training for LEOs all throughout Central Florida.

The facility is impressive. It has classrooms, a gym that would rival some local personal fitness gyms, an obstacle course, and a driving course.

We were led on our tour by Training Center Director Guy Samuelson and Instructor Jose Feliciano.

Director Samuelson has been a certified police instructor for over 28 years, and is a former City of St. Cloud police officer and former Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Instructor Feliciano is a former Kissimmee Police Department Corporal and also a Deputy Sheriff at the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department.

They both discussed with us the facility and what the trainees go through when they come to the facility, and discussed the SRO training program.

Both Director Samuelson and Instructor Feliciano had been to our prior meetings, but this was the first time getting to talk to them personally.

Talking with them, you can tell that they both truly like what it is they do there.

We also got the opportunity to talk to 2 different classes of students, one near the end of their time at the academy, and one at the beginning.

The classes were pretty diverse and the students looked to be happy to be there.

We first spoke to the students near graduation. Will Fonseca, who himself was a graduate of the academy, explained to the students why we were there and asked them if they could answer some questions for us.

Tahitiana Chaffin led with most of the questions, as well as a few from JaMice Lewis.

Questions varied, but mostly were in the vein of: “Would you want to be an SRO? Why or why not?” “Do you know what an SRO is?”, “Would you be willing to shadow an SRO as part of your training?”, etc.

The answers from the students made sense to me, as some were former military and had no interest in being an SRO, and others said they would want to because they saw the importance of the position.

It surprised me that 2 of the students were former teachers, one telling us what they saw as a teacher in school and seeing the SRO at his school inspired him to want to train to become one himself.

After talking with the students, Director Samuelson and Instructor Feliciano talked with us about cost, the length of the program, and the expectations of the graduates.

We were also told about the different types of training that they can facilitate at the campus.

After leaving the facility, I was very glad we did this orientation.

It was insightful to be able to see where many of our local Law Enforcement Officers and School Resource Officers train.

I was thinking as I left, “How did I not know this place was here?”

There is very little online about this facility, not that there is nothing, but they should definitely be proud and I figured being such an impressive place they would boast quite a bit about it.

Director Samuelson and Instructor Feliciano, I feel, definitely like what it is they do, so I feel that any student coming out of this facility had instructors that gave the students their best.

Also, getting a chance to see and talk to the students was great and all of the students were respectful.

Not to speak for the entire group, but I think we all gained a lot of knowledge from this orientation.

The education we have been receiving is definitely preparing us well for the task ahead of us.

I look forward to the next time our Advisory Group will get together, which will be March 24.


About Author

Former writer for Osceola News Gazette, current Admin of Save Saint Cloud, Keep Osceola Beautiful, and moderator for Osceola Politics Facebook pages, current Saint Cloud Economic Development Advisory Committee member, current member of the Osceola School Board School Safety Advisory Group, and current candidate for St. Cloud City Council Seat 4.

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