It’s been a noteworthy few months for Officer Josean Velez of the Apopka Police Department. Chief Michael McKinley named the six-year veteran of the APD the officer of the second quarter last week, and it was for good reason. Take a look at some of the events Velez was involved in.
On June 12, Velez to a call at the Pulse Night Club shooting in Orlando during what turned out to be the worst mass casualty shooting in United States history. Officer Velez, also a member of the Central Florida Metro SWAT team, was one of 35 officers that entered the club and assisted with the rescue and evacuation of the victims who had been shot and severely injured.
Two days later, while on his back to Apopka from an event in Orlando, Velez was flagged down by a family whose son was having a seizure. Velez stopped, got the family immediate medical assistance their son needed, and stayed with them to calm them down.
“We were terrified and borderline helpless…until you came along,” said the boy’s mother in an email a few days later. “Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart, our family can’t say thank you enough. My dad served as a K-9 cop for half of his career and we often say they don’t make cops like they used to, but you sir, proved us wrong.”
Velez also assisted with the arrest of seven felony suspects while utilizing his full service canine, “Honor”. Four of those arrests were for burglary and three arrests were for felony drug possession such as cocaine and heroin. Along with being a member of the APD, Central Florida Metro SWAT Team, he is also a part of the APD’s Honor Guard.
“He is always one of the first to volunteer for special events and public demonstrations,” said Mc Kinley.
A few months back, APD Sergeant Ed Chittenden wrote a letter to Officer Velez’s supervisor expressing his gratitude for his assistance with calls for service.
In the letter, Sergeant Chittenden stated “Officer Velez is a person in which we can always count on. He takes the word ‘team’ very seriously. This week in particular, we were overrun with calls for service. Officer Velez jumped in and assisted with calls without prompting. His efforts allowed us to get back and provide the level of service deserving of the citizens of Apopka.”
McKinley echoed Chittenden’s point that his efforts go far beyond police duties.
“Officer Velez’s abilities, work ethic and willingness to help others make him a tremendous benefit to the Apopka Police Department and an asset to the police profession,” he said. “He is always one of the first to volunteer for special events within the community, even on his days off. He goes above and beyond to provide a high level of service to the citizens of Apopka and that is why he is so deserving of this recognition.”
Note: APD Chief Michael McKinley contributed to this article.
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