Future cops motivated, not scared by recent tragedies

7:02 PM, Feb 23, 2011   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- This week's shooting of St. Pete police officer David Crawford brings the total number of Florida law enforcement officers killed in 2011 alone to nine.

It might leave some people asking, "why would anyone want that job?"

But 10 News found dozens of people who can't wait to get started, even though they know they could be the next Officer Crawford, Jeff Yaslowitz, or Tom Baitinger.

They are the next generation of police officers, training on Wednesday at the Southeastern Public Safety Institute of St. Pete College.

"It just makes you understand that it can happy to anybody," said academy student Joey Fabrizio.

Fabrizio says seeing three fallen officers doesn't scare him from the profession.

In fact, he says he's motivated by it.

"It's becoming a little bit out of control nowadays, and I think if you stick to your training and you listen to what the instructors tell you here, out in the streets you'll have the ability to change some things," Fabrizio said.

If Fabrizio didn't know the dangers of being a cop, he learned quickly.

On his first day in training, two St. Pete officers were killed.

That includes Yaslowitz, who graduated from the same academy 12 years ago.

"I'll never forget about that.  That will never leave my mind," he said.

There are more than 50 students in the academy.

Since the recent shootings, not a single one has dropped out.

"I've got a much stronger desire anytime I see anything like this," said academy student Bill Nobles.

The academy brought in counselors this week to meet with students.

The instructors, who are former or current police officers, encourage all recruits to wear bulletproof vests once they become officers.

Adam Freeman, 10 News

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