The Zephyrhills Police Department has added a new member to its force — recently swearing in 21-year-old Gabriella Slater as a patrol officer.
Slater was officially introduced to the East Pasco community and took an oath during a Zephyrhills City Council meeting last month.
Slater — a recent graduate of the Pasco-Hernando State College law enforcement academy —brings a unique background to the city’s police department.
She was born in Colorado and relocated to Florida as a youth through the foster care system. She was eventually adopted and raised by Zephyrhills residents Erv and Jan Slater, a former director of the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2008.
Zephyrhills Police Chief Derek Brewer said of Slater and her family: “The Slaters provided her a loving home and a Christian upbringing. Officer Slater and her family have been active members of the Zephyrhills community for years. Her long-term community involvement is what inspired her to pursue a career.”
Brewer also noted Slater “expressed her excitement for being a Zephyrhills police officer to give back to the community that has provided her so many opportunities throughout her lifetime.”
The freshly minted officer was supported by a slew of family and friends in attendance at the meeting, who served up a heaping of claps, cheers and congratulations upon her acknowledgements.
Zephyrhills Mayor Gene Whitfield also offered words of support to the rookie officer.
“We know you’re going to do a wonderful job, and we’re very excited to add you on board,” said Whitfield.
He added: “I think it means a lot to us to see our new police officers, and I think it gives them a little bit more of an indication that we’re behind them when they can come here, and we can all be here to cheer them on and have their families here. I just appreciate (Chief Brewer) doing that.”
Published January 06, 2021