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They’re the officers where parents don’t mind if their children know their name.
Who are they you may be asking?
They’re school resource officers.
The Haines City Department has six school resource officers and one sergeant who see to the well-being of the local youth in our schools. School resource officers or SROs are often tasked with mentoring or providing a positive presence in the city’s schools.
Duties for SROs include monitoring school events such as lunch or pep rallies. They investigate all crimes that occur at school to ensure student safety, enforce traffic and work details for school events such as football games or plays. SROs also oversee the agency's Explorers program.
Without further ado, here are your Haines City Police Department school resource officers:
Sgt. Tishelle Payne
Sgt. Tishelle Payne has been a member of the Haines City Police Department since January 2010 and was promoted to sergeant in 2018. A school resource officer at Ridge Community High School for about eight years, Payne now oversees that division. The Haines City Police Department has officers at Haines City and Ridge Community High Schools, Boone Middle School and Daniel Jenkins Academy. A native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Payne spent four years at the Florida Department of Corrections before joining the Haines City Police Department. In her spare time, Payne enjoys the beach, shopping and traveling.
Officer Ron Adams
Officer Ron Adams is a 14-year veteran of the department. Adams has been at Haines City High School since October and saw becoming a school resource officer as a way to give back and make a difference. During his tenure, Adams has worked patrol, traffic and as a detective. Prior to being a law enforcement officer, Adams worked in construction. A native of Polk County, Adams is a graduate of Lake Gibson High School. When he’s not at work, Adams enjoys spending time with his wife and children. Adams is also a skilled artist. His sister is Haines City's Community Redevelopment Agency's Project Manager, Jane Waters.
Officer Gelisa DeSouza
A 10-year law enforcement veteran, Officer Gelisa DeSouza has been a member of the Haines City Police Department since January and is the newest school resource officer. Prior to coming to Haines City, DeSouza spent six years with the Lakeland Police Department and three years with the Lake Wales Police Department. After a short stint on patrol, Officer DeSouza has been a school resource officer at Boone Middle School since November. DeSouza sees moving on campus as an opportunity to mentor the youth and to serve as a role model. A native of Brazil, DeSouza is fluent in Portuguese. DeSouza also has a leg sleeve tattoo.
Officer James Garrison
A member of the Haines City Police Department since March 2009, Officer James Garrison has been a school resource officer for eight years and has served the students of Haines City High School since August 2018. Garrison worked patrol before moving on campus. Prior to serving the residents of Haines City, Garrison served the citizens of the United States as a member of the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard. Garrison has about 18 total years in law enforcement, having spent time with the Key West Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Corrections. Garrison also worked as a reserve for the Fort Walton Beach Police Department, Kissimmee Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol. When he gets time off, Garrison likes vacationing in South America.
Officer Dave Heptinstall
Prior to serving the residents of Haines City, Officer Dave Heptinstall served the citizens of the United States. Heptinstall spent 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, working his way up to sergeant before a three-year stint as an adviser for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A certified crisis negotiator, Heptinstall joined the Haines City Police Department in June 2015. Heptinstall worked patrol and as a K9 officer before becoming a school resource officer at Ridge Community High School in March. As for Heptinstall’s former K9 partner, Fenix, he’s now his pet.
Officer Daniel Hicks
Born and raised in East Polk County, Officer Daniel Hicks has worked in law enforcement for four years and has been with the Haines City Police Department since November 2018. Prior to coming to Haines City, Hicks was a member of the Lake Hamilton Police Department. Since March, Hicks has served as a school resource officer -- first at Boone Middle School and now at Ridge Community High School. A father of seven himself, Hicks saw it as an opportunity to positively impact the youth. Being from the Sunshine State, Hicks has never seen snow. He's also never seen the inside of an IKEA.
Officer Andre Stoudemire
A Lake Wales native, Officer Andre Stoudemire has been a member of the Haines City Police Department since April 2015. Stoudemire got his start in Code Compliance before going to the academy at Polk State College where he was the top driver. Stoudemire started his sworn tenure on patrol before becoming a school resource officer at Daniel Jenkins Academy. Officer Stoudemire is known to some students as the “Candy Man” for the abundance of sweets and snacks in his office that he gives to students who excel in certain areas. This school year, Stoudemire plans on bringing the SAVE program to the school, which teaches students ways to combat school violence before it begins. Stoudemire is the cousin of former NBA All-Star, Amar'e Stoudemire.