Police Officer the Year
Officer Gary Herrero
Leesburg Police Department
Officer Gary Herrero is a professional police officer and K-9 handler employed by the Leesburg Police Department. Originally, from Santurce, Puerto Rico, Gary moved to Kissimmee, FL at the age of nine. In 2000, he graduated from St. Cloud High School with a 4.0 GPA and has since received an Associate’s degree from Valencia College.
During his formative years, Gary ventured into show business and became the youngest knight in the history of the popular tourist attraction, “Medieval Times”. His strong work ethic soon allowed him to travel throughout the US and Canada as a professional stuntman and horse trainer. Gary quickly became a key member of show management and has had a major role in the training of over 100 high performance show horses; nationwide.
His attention to detail and commitment to excellence has followed him into a career of servanthood. In 2012, Gary began a career in Law Enforcement as a Deputy for the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office (SC). Gary became the lead K9 handler for the agency and assisted in more than a few high profile cases. As a member of the Blood Hound Tracking Team, he successfully recovered several missing/endanger persons during his tenure.
In 2014, Gary gained employment with the Leesburg Police Department and his contagious work ethic has propelled him within the department. Gary continues to pursue his passion as a trainer and is one of the agency’s top producers and a valued canine handler. Gary is an active member of the Leesburg Police SWAT Team and currently assists with the department’s Honor Guard section.
In 2016, Gary trained with his K-9 “Banner” for more than 650 documented hours. Gary deployed “Banner” over 213 times in search of illicit narcotics and prolific offenders. Gary’s efforts lead to the seizure of 154 grams of dangerous narcotics through the year. In a more recent K9 deployment, Gary was instrumental in the seizure of $43,000 of suspected narcotics funds, leading to the arrest of the offender and the subsequent seizure of his courier vehicle. During 2016, Gary deployed “Banner” on three separate high-risk incidents. One involved a barricaded robbery suspect and two others involved non-compliant, felony suspects; complicated with the threat of a firearm. Through the utilization of “Banner”, Gary significantly decreased the risk to responding officers resulting in no injuries to uniformed personnel.
A family man, Gary is the father of four children and husband to his wife Emily. In his free time, Gary remains a stunt performer at a major attraction in the Central Florida area; a hobby that requires him to remain in exceptional physical condition. Gary is a team player and is consistently relied upon during times of shortages; without hesitation, despite his busy schedule.
It is for these reasons that his peers selected Gary as “Officer of the Year 2016”.
The distinctive accomplishments of Ofc. Herrero reflect great credit upon himself and the Leesburg Police Department.
Congratulations and keep up the good work!