Lieutenant David Rowe is the Commander of the Operational Skills Unit (OSU), which includes Sergeant Stephen Hayes, Corporal Gerald Hunter, Officer Lynne Valdes, Officer Scott Meffen, and Officer Aaron Wagle. Each member brings numerous years of training experience and qualifications to the unit.
Lieutenant Rowe has been with the Gainesville Police Department since 1991. He was formally a shift commander in the Operations Bureau, and the Executive Officer of District 1 Operations. He was a long time member of the SWAT Team—to include most recently serving five years as the Team Commander. He is a certified instructor in the high liability topics of Firearms and Vehicle Operations.
Sergeant Hayes is a certified instructor in Firearms, NRA Rifle, Taser, and Defensive Tactics. He serves as the department’s Taser Coordinator. He is also a Team Leader on the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team.
Corporal Hunter is a certified instructor in Firearms, PPCT (Defensive Tactics), and Vehicle Operations.
Officer Lugo is a certified instructor in Firearms, Vehicle Operations, CPR and he serves as the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP) Coordinator that includes overseeing the GPD mini-academy for newly hired officers.
Officer Meffen is the newest member of the OSU. He is a certified Firearms instructor. He also is a member of the SWAT team
Officer Wagle is a certified instructor in Firearms, Vehicle Operations, and PPCT (Defensive Tactics). He also is the Reserve and Auxiliary Unit Coordinator which entails recruitment, training and supervision of GPD’s reserve and auxiliary officers.
The primary function of the OSU is to provide Department members with the knowledge and skills to enhance and maintain their abilities to provide the best possible service to the citizens of Gainesville.
The OSU also serves as a liaison with the staff of the Santa Fe College Institute of Public Safety. Unit members assist in coordinating and instructing recruit classes at the police academy. In addition, staff members conduct advanced training courses including Instructor Techniques, Field Training Officer, Hostage Negotiator, Firearms Instructor, Driving Instructor, and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Advanced training courses are offered through the training facility to area law enforcement agencies as specialized training courses. These courses include a series of Community Policing blocks, which is the philosophy in which the Gainesville Police Department operates.
The Field Training and Evaluation Program is a seventeen-week program that all new police officers must successfully complete prior to working in a solo capacity. The officer trainee is assigned to a field training officer/corporal who assists the trainee with combining the knowledge obtained in the police academy with the procedures specific to the Gainesville Police Department. Upon successful completion of the Field Training and Evaluation Program, the new officer is assigned to solo status in uniformed patrol.
The OSU has additional responsibilities that include the issuance and management of Department-owned weapon systems including handguns, shotguns, and OC Spray. Use-of-force incidents are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to identify training issues as well as helping to compile an annual report that is submitted to the Chief of Police.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement mandates that all sworn personnel receive 40 hours of mandatory retraining every four years to maintain officer certification. The OSU strives to provide 40 hours of training per year to all sworn members of the Gainesville Police Department. The in-service training is designed to provide up-to-date, diverse, and effective training with the end goal of providing the City of Gainesville with professional police officers.
The Operational Skills Unit offices are located at the Santa Fe College, George G. Kirkpatrick, Jr., Criminal Justice Training Center, Institute of Public Safety.
Santa Fe College Institute of Public Safety
3737 NE 39th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32609
Phone: (352) 271-2900