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Florida Technical College Awards First Scholarship Honoring Kissimmee Police Fallen Officers

Posted on March 14th, 2018 by Noelle Spence

Sgt. Richard Howard and Officer Mathew Baxter were killed in the line of duty last year. KISSIMMEE, Fla., February 16, 2018 – Florida Technical College announced today that Sgt. Omar Berrio, of the Kissimmee Police Department, has been selected as the first recipient of the Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard and Matthew Baxter Memorial Scholarship. Berrio, an U.S. Marine Corps Iraq veteran who has served at KPD for 19 years, will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with Emphasis in Homeland Security. Sgt. Berrio will officially receive the scholarship this Friday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. at the Kissimmee Police Department headquarters, located at 8 N. Stewart Ave. in Kissimmee. The scholarship honors the civil service legacy of Sgt. Howard and Officer Baxter, who were killed last year in the line of duty. “Sgt. Berrio embodies the values of service to the community and to our country that we want to promote and perpetuate with this scholarship,” said FTC President Dr. James Burkett. “Like his fallen colleagues, he’s also shown selflessness and valor throughout his public service career. We welcome him to the FTC family with open arms. It will be an honor for our school to be part of his academic and professional development.” Berrio grew up in the Bronx in the 1980s and 1990s. The neighborhood, he said, was violence and drug ridden. He credits his mother with keeping him grounded and making sure he focused on his education. “My mother taught me that we are all responsible for our own destiny,” Berrio said. “We can’t use the circumstances around us as an excuse not to develop our individual talents. Throughout my law enforcement career and my military service in the U.S. Marine Corps, that has been my guiding principle and I have strived to share it with others.” Berrio will pursue a bachelor’s degree to be better equipped to compete for a management position in law enforcement, he said. Chief Jeffrey O’Dell, of the Kissimmee Police Department, said that Berrio has a bright future in leadership with the agency. “Sgt. Berrio has a very diverse law enforcement background, having worked in patrol, criminal investigations, and internal affairs and currently in our traffic enforcement unit,” O’Dell said. “I look forward to observing his development into an outstanding police commander.” Berrio would start attending classes tentatively in the next start of March 5th. FTC is an academic unit of National University College (NUC), a higher learning institution headquartered in Puerto Rico which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)*. NUC and all its academics units have a combined total of 28 campuses in Puerto Rico and Florida, reaching 20,000 students. *National University College (NUC) is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267) 284-5000. NUC’s National University College – IBC Institute (NUC-IBC), National University College – POPAC Institute (NUC-POPAC), Florida Technical College (FTC), The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (The DAVE School), and LaSalle Computer Learning Center (LCLC) are included in this accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) is a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. February 2018

The Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter Memorial Scholarship

Posted on December 18th, 2017 by Florida Technical College

The scholarship will be bestowed to law enforcement personnel interested in furthering their education. KISSIMMEE, Fla.– Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter, of the Kissimmee Police Department, fell in the line of duty earlier this year. They left behind young families and an entire community that loved them and appreciated their service. Florida Technical College is making sure their sacrifices are not forgotten by creating a scholarship that honors and carries on the officers’ civil service legacy. “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself,” said FTC Kissimmee Campus Executive Director, Gabriel Garces. “That is a definition that applies squarely to these two officers. They paid the ultimate price to keep our community and families safe. FTC wants to make sure that something positive comes from this tragedy so that the officers’ legacy may live on and they may continue touching lives.” The Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter Memorial Scholarship will cover in full the Bachelor’s Degree program in Criminal Justice with Emphasis in Homeland Security, available residentially or online at the Kissimmee campus. Howard, 36, and Baxter, 27, where shot last August while performing a routine check into three suspicious people near the intersection of Cypress and Palmway streets in Kissimmee. At some point during the check, one of the subjects opened fire. Baxter died almost immediately while Howard succumbed to his injuries the next day. To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must meet all the following criteria: Be an active Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) in Florida Have completed a State of Florida law enforcement academy program Submit a letter of recommendation from the Chief of Police or Sheriff from their respective agency. Write an essay of no less than 150 words detailing their contributions to the community and how a degree would help further their career. Applications and accompanying materials will be evaluated by a board comprised by representatives of Florida Technical College, Kissimmee Police Department and the families of the fallen officers. Scholarship applications are available at FTC Kissimmee campus Financial Aid Department. Completed applications must be submitted to the Financial Aid Department by January 15, 2018.  The recipient of the Memorial Scholarship will be determined by January 31, 2018.   Honoring Fallen Kissimmee Officers Through a Full Scholarship for Students     About Florida Technical College: Founded in 1982 to provide private, post-secondary education in specialized fields, FTC is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. FTC offers associate and bachelor’s degrees and diploma programs in a range of professions, including healthcare, computer networking, web design, criminal justice, culinary arts, and cosmetology. FTC campuses are located in Orlando, Lakeland, DeLand, Kissimmee, Pembroke Pines, and Cutler Bay. Program availability varies by campus. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify. For graduation rates, median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit