Florida Technical College Awards First Scholarship Honoring Kissimmee Police Fallen Officers

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