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For the first time in more than a year, the Haines City Police Department has a fully-staffed Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Unit. The unit serves as a bridge between the department and the community. The COPS Unit is often seen at community events, mentoring local youth and working with community members to solve problems unique to the city’s different neighborhoods. Sgt. Chad Smith oversees the unit, which has an allocation for two officers. Here’s a little more about the officers who make up the COPS Unit:
Sgt. Chad Smith
A member of the Haines City Police Department since 2005, Sgt. Chad Smith has been a sergeant since 2019 and was recently chosen to lead the COPS Unit. In addition to the COPS Unit, Sgt. Smith helped found and currently oversees the agency’s drone initiative. A native of Lakeland, Sgt. Smith worked in patrol, the Traffic Unit and as a school resource and field training officer before becoming a supervisor. Smith is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Warner University and is an active member of Rotary. When he’s not at work, Sgt. Smith raises cattle. He enjoys hunting, fishing and art. He designed the current logo and patch worn by Haines City Police Department officers. In addition to his role at the Police Department and involvement in civic activities, Smith is a husband and a father. Sgt. Smith has four children. He and his wife Melissa, who works as a nurse, have been married for 18 years.
Officer Anastasia Burks
A member of the Haines City Police Department since January, Officer Anastasia Burks became a law enforcement officer for the opportunity to make a difference in the community. A native of Tampa, Officer Burks was previously a teacher in Hillsborough County. Since becoming a member of the COPS Unit, Officer Burks says she enjoys interacting with and meeting people from the many different pockets of the community. She enjoys getting to know the residents and acclimating to the many different settings required of a COPS officer. Officer Burks hold an associate's degree in paralegal studies from Keiser University and in 2012, earned her bachelor’s degree in applied science with a focus on criminal justice from the University of South Florida. When she's not at work, Officer Burks enjoys watching movies, going to the beach, singing and being with her family. She grew up playing basketball and still enjoys sports. She’s a self-proclaimed diehard fan of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Officer Devin James
A member of the Haines City Police Department since September 2020, Officer Devin James previously served as a law enforcement officer in North Carolina and Colorado Springs. Officer James served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2014 and did tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. During his time in the military, Officer James served as a combat medic and a public affairs sergeant. James had photos and news releases published in multiple countries. When James isn’t serving the residents of Haines City, he enjoys cooking and spending time with his family. He also has a scotch collection. Most of all, Officer James enjoys being a husband and a father. He and his wife have two children.