Officer of the Month for September 2014
Officer Jon Rappa
Ofc. Jon Rappa has been selected by his peers as Officer of the Month!
Ofc. Jon Rappa is the clear choice to represent Shift 4 and the Gainesville Police Department as Officer of the Month for September 2014. Ofc. Rappa has hit the ground running since coming back to GPD in late July 2014. After an abbreviated FTO program, Ofc. Rappa has been assigned to Shift 4, Team 3 in Juliet Zone. Ofc. Rappa has immediately made an impact in Team 3 by making significant drug arrests with his first couple of months solo. Ofc. Rappa is an effective “street cop” with a vast amount of experience in narcotic and gang investigations. Ofc. Rappa has utilized his skillset and superior communication skills to make several great arrests over the course of the month. Furthermore, the department has not wasted any time on using his experience by activating him as an FTO for remedial training. Ofc. Rappa has already been assigned a trainee and together they made some great arrests.
Ofc. Rappa has a great personality and sense of humor which is right at home on Sgt. N. Ferrara’s team. Ofc. Rappa works hard and is very motivated to make a difference in his assigned zone.
The following are status entries for Ofc. Rappa’s arrests for September 2014:
Trespass on Posted Property / Poss of Controlled Substance (Crack cocaine) / RWOV / Tampering with Evidence (Canopy Apts): Ofc. Rappa conducted a citizen contact with a suspect after he was observed cutting through Canopy Apts. After determining he was trespassing, Ofc. Rappa attempted to handcuff the suspect. The suspect resisted attempts to be handcuffed and frantically reached into his pocket in order to destroy the contents of a pill bottle he possessed. After being taken down to the ground, the suspect continued to resist arrest. After OC was deployed, the suspect was able to be subdued. The contents of the bottle was determined to be crack cocaine. ASODOJ
In Progress Burglary (Conveyance) / Petit Theft (Cabana Beach): Ofc. Rappa arrested a suspect after he determined the suspect unlawfully entered a vehicle at the above location and removed a phone and $5. The suspect was located 200 feet away from the vehicle at the time of his arrest and was in possession of other items at the time which he advised he stole from other vehicles in the parking lot. Ofc. Rappa was unable to contact those victims at the time. The suspect admitted to the act and advised he needed gas money to give to his friend for a ride. ASODOJ
Possession of Controlled Substance X 2 (Valium / Oxycontin) / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: Ofc. Rappa was on a separate call when he observed a suspect driving by his patrol vehicle. Ofc. Rappa recently arrested this peson for narcotics and DL related offenses. Ofc. Rappa asked the suspect if there were drugs in the same backpack he kept drugs in the last time he was arrested and he advised he had a bong and handed the backpack to Ofc. Rappa. Ofc. Rappa also located (99) Valium pills, (9) Oxycontins, a cannabis scale, grinder, and the bong. ASODOJ
Aggravated Stalking / Tampering with Evidence / Criminal Mischief: Ofc. Rappa investigated multiple incidents where a suspect made repeated threats to kill his cousin and damage his vehicle and attempted to contact his cousin multiple times at his residence, sometimes armed with a knife. On the third incident, he damaged the victim`s vehicle with the knife. When Ofc. Rappa contacted the suspect, he attempted to conceal/dispose of the knife underneath Ofc. Rappa’s vehicle as he spoke to him. ASODOJ
Warrant Arrest / Poss <20 grams cannabis: Ofc. Cassandra Ballenger and FTO Jon Rappa made a citizen contact. It was determined this person was wanted for FTA for Habitual Traffic Offender. After being handcuffed, the suspect admitted to having two bags of cannabis on him which were located on his person. ASODOJ
Poss of Controlled Substance (Cocaine) x 2/ Poss of Controlled Substance (Vyvanse) / Poss of < 20 grams of Cannabis: Ofc. Casandra Ballenger and FTO Jon Rappa stopped a vehicle for a stop sign violation near the above location. Upon contacting the occupants, they detected the odor of cannabis emanating from the vehicle. A search of the occupants revealed a small baggie of cocaine in the shoe of one of the occupants. The occupant denied owning the cocaine. A backpack was searched in the trunk which located a baggie containing 12 pills of Vyvanse and a baggie containing 15 grams of cannabis. The suspect admitted to owning the backpack and its contents. The other occupant spontaneously uttered the cocaine was his. ASODOJ x 2
Possession of CS with intent (Crack Cocaine): Ofc. Casandra Ballenger and FTO Jon "Blad" Rappa stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation at the above location. The vehicle just left a high crime area and had a delayed response to their emergency light. Upon contacting the occupants, they observed white powder on the jackets of one of the occupants. The powder tested positive for cocaine. A search of one of the occupants located baggies containing 15 rocks of crack on him which he admitted to trying to eat as the vehicle was being stopped. His plan backfired and he decided to hide the bags in his crotch area. ASODOJ
It is evident based on Ofc. Rappa’s monthly statistics, he has an affinity for making narcotics arrests. As of October 2014, Ofc. Rappa has been reassigned to Uniform zone where I am confident he will make an equally significant impact on crime, subsequently making the community a safer place to live. For his efforts, Ofc. Rappa should be recognized as September’s Officer of the Month.
Congratulations, Officer Rappa! Keep up the great work!
Supervisor of the Quarter
Sergeant Nick Ferrara
Sgt. Nick Ferrara has been selected as Supervisor of the Quarter. Daily, Sgt. Ferrara demonstrates the qualities our department looks for in a leader. He is a teacher and a mentor. As a former SWAT team member, his tactical knowledge is very high and other officers trust him to make sound decisions.
Sgt. Ferrara’s management style is firm, but easy going. He has high standards for his subordinates, but treats them with respect. Sgt. Ferrara is clearly well liked by all members of midnight shift.
Sgt. Ferrara leads by example. He is the definition of a FIELD supervisor. Sgt. Ferrara works with his team nightly. He responds to hot calls; he’ll take a perimeter position; he backs-up his team on traffic stops; he mentors and teaches.
Sgt. Ferrara believes in our Community Oriented Policing efforts. He has spearheaded both the reboot of the Safety Kiosk concept at midtown and has developed an Alcohol Awareness Detail. He loves to interact with citizens and is a positive reinforcement for how we are perceived by the citizens we serve.
The following are some opinions from his teammates:
“He was very good to work under as a new officer. He was always available and willing to help out. He was a great source of information and a great teacher, whether it be on tactics or legal issues pertaining to the job. He holds all of his officers to a high standard, which, without micromanaging, pushes them to try harder. He treats his officers as equals, and it's something we all appreciated.”
“As a veteran officer, I have worked with and for Sgt. Ferrara. He has outstanding knowledge and a great ability to impart it to others. I still use him as a resource due to his ability. He is an excellent leader and shares any burden that is asked of officers. He is proactive and substantially contributes to finding and solving crimes. He is exemplar by word and deed to the ethos of professional law enforcement.”
Sgt. Ferrara is tactically sound. His prior investigative experience shines through while assisting on major case calls and in the supplements he writes. He also excels at the administrative aspect of supervising. Whether it be handling complaints or dealing with problem employees. Sgt. Ferrara cares about the team and the overall mission of GPD. For all these reasons and many more, Sgt. Ferrara was selected. Congratulations!
Officer of the Year for 2013
Officer Jeff Bailey
Ofc. Bailey is a member of GPD’s Honor Guard, Awards Committee and the Employee Advisory Committee. As the GPD Military Liaison, Ofc. Bailey oversees the GPD Military Assistance Program. He provides assistance to our employees who currently serve in the US Reserves or National Guard, as well as to those who have served in the past. He assists employees who are in the process of deploying, are deployed and those returning from deployment. He assists with various issues that arise and acts as a liaison for the members and GPD. While they are deployed, Ofc. Bailey corresponds with them and ensures they are kept up to date with current events at GPD. When requested, he checks on the well-being of their family members back home. Upon their return, he provides assistance to help solve issues and ensure they have a seamless transition back to GPD. When new personnel are hired, he briefs them all on the GPD Military Assistance Program and provides relevant information. Ofc. Bailey also ordered the GPD Military Service Recognition Pins and facilitated the awarding of that recognition. This past fall, Ofc. Bailey coordinated two presentations at UF football games with UF’s Athletic Association’s program: Saluting those that served. This year, Ofc. Bailey has been working tirelessly on a military policy for GPD.
Ofc. Bailey is a consummate team player. He is perhaps the most humble police officer at our department. His extracurricular work ethic does not overshadow his patrol work:
On 09/13/13, Ofc. Jeff Bailey worked a retail theft at 1515 N Main St. where he identified Glenson L. Duncan as the suspect. Ofc. Bailey arrested Duncan the next day. At the time, Duncan was in possession of obvious stolen goods, still packaged and obviously possessed for re-sale on the streets. The Kangaroo clerks said that Glenson was a habitual thief and had targeted their store many times before. Duncan’s MO (stealing items in bulk) and physical description also matched several other cases worked by GPD officers all over the city on all three shifts. Ofc. Bailey researched only a 5 month window of retail thefts in RMS and narrowed down Duncan as the suspect in many. Ofc. Bailey adjusted his work schedule by coming in on his days off and before work. He obtained and reviewed video surveillance in 7 cases where he himself could identify Duncan as the thief. In collecting these videos, identifying stolen goods and speaking with store employees, it was relayed to Ofc. Bailey that Duncan stole many more times than what was reported to LEO, most likely dozens of times. Some had even nicknamed Duncan the “Red Slippered Bandit.” All the businesses were highly appreciative of his investigation. Duncan had18 felony convictions and 16 misdemeanor convictions. He had 7 theft convictions (4 times for misdemeanor petit theft, 2 times for felony – petit theft and once for felony grand theft.) Again, Ofc. Bailey adjusted his schedule and met with two assistant state attorneys on how to create the mittimus so as to streamline the charging and clerking process. Although he could have kept digging deeper into more cases, the SAO was satisfied with 7 cases and will prosecute all as felonies. Ofc. Bailey ultimately charged Duncan with 7 counts of felony petit theft and scheming to defraud via a 4-page mittimus. As these cases were [seemingly] only misdemeanors, no one would ever have followed up had Ofc. Bailey not connected the dots and put forth great effort and work, Duncan would have continued on with his crime spree.
Congratulations to Officer Bailey for being selected as the GPD Officer of the Year for 2013!