UCF police officer honored for responding to 100 crisis calls: 'He's part counselor, part detective'
February 28, 2019
In 2010, the University of Central Florida Police Department detained 30 people under the Baker Act, a state law that allows law enforcement to temporarily hold those who are deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Detective Luis Rivera (left) shakes hands with Chief Carl Metzger during the University of Central Florida Police Department Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Rivera won CIT Officer of the Year, and Officer of the Year. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)
By 2017, that number was 118.
Whether that increase is due to the proliferation of social media or typical student stresses, campus police officers are routinely expected to juggle being a cop as well as a therapist. The stakes are high: in December, a 24-year-old student took his life on campus. During two other incidents in the past year, students faced charges after illegally possessing or modifying high-powered weapons.
In response to that demand, the department recently assigned Detective Luis Rivera to be UCFPD’s first “Persons of Concern” detective.
Rivera — who has handled more than 100 cases over the past year for students who have been suicidal, mentally ill or even homicidal — was honored as UCFPD’s Officer of the Year during an awards ceremony Wednesday. He was also named the Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year for the entire Central Florida region.
“He’s part counselor, part detective — in some cases he has prevented individuals from hurting themselves, and in some cases he’s prevented individuals from hurting other people right here at UCF,” Chief Carl Metzger said. “ … We’re going to take a sample of his blood and clone him, because we need about three Luises.”
Others honored at the ceremony include a group who went to the Florida Panhandle to assist with Hurricane Michael recovery efforts; an officer who developed a bond with a student who posted a picture holding a gun to his head on social media; and Officer Victoria Scott and Sgt. Anthony Chronister, who saved the life of a student who threatened to jump off a parking garage last year.
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