With a growing community comes a growing police department and ZPD added six new officers to its ranks.
In a special swearing in and pinning ceremony prior to Monday’s City Council meeting, Zephyrhills Police Chief Derek Brewer issued the oath to the six new officers who will serve and protect the residents of Zephyrhills.
The new patrol officers are Juanita Gonzalez, Karly Crews, Colton Nelson, Mariah Hamilton, Philip Martin and Paul Gonzalez.
Juanita Gonzalez was a member of ZPD serving as a crime scene investigator and was recently voted as ZPD Employee of the Year. Her law enforcement career started in 1995 as a school crossing guard.
Crews, who was born and raised in Zephyrhills, is a second generation member of ZPD. Her mother was a member of the dispatch team and she followed that path before graduating from the PHSC Police Academy.
Nelson is another second generation first responder. His father was a member of Zephyrhills Fire Rescue and serves currently with Pasco County Fire Rescue. His mother has been a police dispatcher in Zephyrhills since 2005. Before graduating from the polcie academy, Nelson attended West Zephyrhills Elementary School, Stewart Middle School and graduated from Zephyrhills High School.
Hamilton, who was born in Tampa and raised in Plant City, graduated from the Florida Department of Corrections Training Academy. She aspires to be a K-9 Officer and a detective at ZPD.
Martin, a Sussex County Delaware native, is a military veteran. He has a history of service as a firefighter/EMT before becoming a police officer. He served as a deputy sheriff and a Park Ranger in Missouri. He is also a certified aircraft pilot and drone pilot.
Paul Gonzalez, a native of the Bronx, NY, relocated to Florida in 2014 and later graduated from the police academy at Hillsborough State College. He previously worked for the Clearwater Police Department. He is currently enrolled at St. Petersburg College working on his BA in Criminal Justice.