BRADENTON — Jay Romine took over this week as the new director of Manatee Technical Institute’s Law Enforcement Academy. The recommendation to appoint him to the position was approved at Monday’s Manatee School Board meeting. The recently-retired Chief of Police for the City of Holmes Beach brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) requires that the Academy have a full-time director. Romine was selected by a committee from the MTI Criminal Justice Advisory Board, presided over by Palmetto Chief of Police Ricky Wells. Romine replaces outgoing director Mike Rushing, who retired in December 2012.
“I am so pleased to have a graduate of our Academy become our Academy director,” stated MTI director Mary Cantrell, PhD. “Jay’s years of experience on the FDLE Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission (CJSTC) give him the wisdom and insight that will help our Academy grow under his leadership.”
Romine was appointed by both Governors Bush and Scott to serve on the CJSTC, which he did for over 10 years beginning in 2002 He was elected and served as the vice-chair from 2007 to 2008 and as the chairman from 2008 to 2010. The Commission is comprised of 19 members of the criminal justice and criminal justice training community to oversee all aspects of training and discipline on all law enforcement and correctional officers in the State of Florida.
“Education is important to me,” exclaimed Romine. “Being the director of the academy gives me the opportunity to be exposed to a much larger number of new officers forming their policing philosophy. It’s an opportunity to pass on what I’ve spent over 30 years trying to do.”
A Manatee County native, Romine has spent his entire career serving the people of this county, as well as the state of Florida. He started his career in 1979 as a patrol officer for the City of Palmetto. After a year and a half, he joined the Holmes Beach Police Department where he spent 12 years rising through the ranks as a patrol officer, patrol sergeant, detective sergeant, lieutenant, and interim chief of police before becoming the chief in 1994, a position he held for 19 years.
In addition to graduating from the MTI Academy, Romine holds an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Manatee Community College and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the University of South Florida. He spent many hours of specific training through the State of Florida CJSTC in courses dealing with criminal investigation and police management.
He is a Certified Traffic Homicide Investigator, Certified General Instructor and Certified Firearms Instructor. Romine also had the honor of graduating from the FBI National Academy in 1996. Less than half of one percent of applicants from all over the world is accepted there.
Romine credits his policing philosophy to retired MTI Academy director Rushing. Romine spent his 18th birthday riding on patrol with Rushing, who was then a state trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol. In one evening, he was introduced to policing professionally and politely with empathy and compassion.
“Being a law enforcement officer was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” said Romine. He now looks forward to giving back to the Academy where he started his education for his continuing career in criminal justice.