ZPD sergeants promotions continue a ZHS connection

The trend of Zephyrhills High School alumni becoming sergeants in the Zephyrhills Police Department continued this week with promotions of Dave Dixon and John Oleson.

“You see how some of the newer officers come in and are still learning,” said ZPD Chief Derek Brewer. “You have guys like Dave and John who have been here through different chiefs, and transitions. They impart so much wisdom on the newer officers and now they get to do it as sergeants.”

Of ZPD’s five sergeants, all are graduates of ZHS. The sergeant roster is made up of Ailisa Starnes, David Wainright, Billy Adams, Dixon and Oleson.

“We always like to have staff that understands community dynamics and they have it,” Brewer said. “It always makes me feel good to see the success of people who grew up here.”

Dixon and Oleson were honored in a ceremony before city council where their spouses pinned their sergeant badges onto their uniforms.

Dixon, a ZPD officer since 2009, may best be known as the School Resource Officer at Stewart Middle School for over five years.

When he returned to patrol, he obtained his general instructor certificate, becoming an instructor in Taser, CPR, Less Lethal, Pepper Ball and First Aid. In 2019, he became a field training officer and began preparing for a supervisory role.

Oleson, a Navy veteran, joined ZPD in 2012 and has served as a patrol officer, detective, field training officer and instructor.

Five years later, Oleson was named ZPD Officer of the Year. He has also received the unit citation and distinguished performance awards. He is currently working on his Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.

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