When he visited campus in early November, Kevin Flower stepped back in time – back to the days when he was a student in SUNY Broome’s Criminal Justice – Police program.
He graduated from SUNY Broome in 2002, and soon after joined the Ocean City Police Department in Maryland. And now, he’s on the other side of the desk – recruiting future SUNY Broome alumni to join the force.
“I love to come back to Broome because I really feel like I might be recruiting another version of a younger me,” he said.
The classes he took at SUNY Broome were relevant to his future career, and were often taught by professors with professional experience in the law enforcement field. Some of the most influential for Flower were those that dealt with constitutional law because they are the foundation of many aspects of police work, he said.
“I chose SUNY Broome for many reasons,” he said. “I was able to work full-time hours and attend school full time, allowing me to save on tuition and eliminate room and board. As a result, my student loan debt was extremely low upon graduating.”
Striving for excellence
After graduation, Flower continued to strive for excellence. While attending the academy, he received the physical fitness award and the highest possible pistol qualification, and finished second in his academic class of 35.
Nine months after finishing the academy, he was selected as a K-9 handler and was first paired with Tacko in 2005. Tacko retired in November 2012 and was replaced on the beat by K-9 Uno. Both dogs were responsible for approximately 300 drug arrests and criminal apprehensions.
Flower continued to improve his skills as a K-9 handler, as well. In 2016, he underwent a grueling, three-month K-9 trainer course in western Pennsylvania, becoming his department’s K-9 trainer. He’s also a member of the Quick Response Team (SWAT), a firearms instructor who teachers at both the seasonal and citizens’ police academies, and a member of the Police Honor Guard, frequently representing the department during opening ceremonies, parades and funerals.
SUNY Broome students can take advantage of similar opportunities, if they continue to strive – both in the classroom and in their future career.
“There is no doubt in my mind I am speaking to students that are in the same boat I was, and are capable of doing great things. It doesn’t even have to be with my department,” he said. “I love speaking with students and helping them see their potential, no matter where they want to go.”