Today is Jay Romine’s first day on the job as the new director of Manatee Technical Institute’s Law Enforcement Academy. The recommendation to appoint him to the position was approved at last night’s 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.
During his 33 year career, he was an active member and held various positions in many professional associations, including the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the FDLE Criminal Justice Executive Institute Policy Board, the State and International Associations of Chiefs of Police, the Tampa Bay Police Chiefs Association, and the Manatee Technical Institute Board of Governors and MTI Law Enforcement Academy Advisory Board. He was the founder of the Manatee County Law Enforcement Council. As a member of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, he served as the chair of the educational standards and legislative committees.
Romine’s awards and recognitions are many. They start with the Manatee County Officer of the Year in 1988 and include the Presidents Award from the Florida Police Chiefs Association in 2000, 2002, and 2011, the Presidents Award from the Tampa Bay Police Chiefs Association in 2002, 2003, and 2009, the Law Enforcement Champion Award from the Police Benevolent Association in 2010, the Davis Productivity Award for Officer Involved Domestic Violence Training Curriculum Development in 2010. Romine was also the first recipient of the Chief Al Hogle Exemplary Service Award in 2012.
As an active member of the community, he was a founding member of the Manatee County Chapter of Crime Stoppers in 1988. In 2008, the Manatee County Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year Award became known as the “Chief Jay Romine Officer of the Year Award.” He has also been involved in the Gold Star Club of Manatee County, a community partnership to distribute rewards regarding unsolved homicides and crimes against children, and the Manatee County Hundred Club, a community partnership to recognize exceptional law enforcement service and distribute funds to families of officers injured or killed in the line of duty.
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. Romine recalled, “Being a law enforcement officer was the only thing I ever wanted to do.” He now looks forward to giving back to the Academy where he started his education for his continuing career in criminal justice.