In a nation where tensions between police officers and citizens are often spotlighted in the media, the relationship between the Longboat Key Police Department and residents remains positive, according to Sergeant Dave Cooper.
“You can’t drive down the street without people waving to you,” said Cooper, who was promoted to to the rank at a ceremony on Tuesday, June 27.
As Cooper’s colleagues and family, as well as town officials, gathered to watch the proceedings, Deputy Chief Frank Rubino spoke of the new sergeant's qualifications. Rubino said experience is a top attribute when the police department considers candidates for the force.
“Dave is no stranger to that,” Rubino said.
Before coming to the Key, Cooper spent about 20 years as a police officer in New York City, serving the 46th Precinct in the Bronx. There, Rubino said Cooper worked nearly every presidential detail, as well as the aftermath of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Cooper began his career in law enforcement in 1989 as a corrections officer in New York, then joined the city’s police department in 1991. After retiring from his precinct, he began working for the Sarasota Airport Police Department in 2012.
Since Cooper joined the Key's police force in December 2014, Rubino said his work ethic has been exceptional.
“Dave is always willing to assist in any capacity, any time he’s asked from the chief, myself, the captain, or one of the other sergeants,” Rubino said. “He’s always the first person to volunteer.”
The deputy chief noted Cooper’s eagerness to learn. Cooper has participated in a many of the department's training programs, including marine patrol, domestic intervention, crisis intervention and responding to veteran issues. Rubino said Cooper is constantly looking for ways to develop new skills.
“He does bring a lot to the table,” Rubino said. “We’re very fortunate to have Dave.”
Cooper’s mother Maureen, who moved to Sarasota from New York in May, said her son has always been devoted to public service.
“I’m very, very proud of him,” she said.
After Rubino swore Cooper into his new role and provided him with his sergeant’s badge, Cooper made his commitment to the people of the Key clear.
“I will do my best to live up to the high standards of the Longboat Key PD,” Cooper said.