From time-to-time we like to profile an SCPD employee to give our community a better idea of your police department. Today, we sat down with Officer John Shepard - SCPD's newest hire! Officer Shepard comes to us from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. We're excited to have him with us and here are a few questions so you can get to know him better!
Word on the street is that you're not from around these parts. Tell us about your background:
Officer Shepard: I grew up in South Florida. I was raised boating, free diving, scuba diving and doing many other ocean related activities. I played football, wrestled and ran track in high school. Upon graduation, I attended the University of Florida where I played football. Go Gators!!
We understand that you like to fly. Have you earned your pilot's license?
Officer Shepard: After college I moved back to South Florida and began flight training to obtain my pilot’s license. I trained for 2 years and ultimately received my commercial pilot’s license for both single and multi-engine airplanes. I also became certified by the FAA as a flight instructor. One of the perks of flight training there was the training flights over the Florida Keys and Key West!
So what brought you to Santa Cruz?
Officer Shepard: In 2004, I moved to Santa Cruz so that my wife could begin a Ph.D. program studying ocean science at UCSC. That same year, I started my law enforcement career as a Deputy Sheriff with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office. While assigned to the community policing division, I joined with a teacher and volunteered as a coach for the Aptos High School Rugby Club. One to two nights a week we taught the basics of rugby to students from Aptos and several other neighboring schools.
When you're not working for us or flying planes what do you like to do?
Officer Shepard: When not working, I am constantly drawn to the ocean. I can most often be found exercising along the coast, surfing or paddle boarding. My family and I love to vacation on the north shore of Kauai and on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In future plans, I hope to soon explore the islands of the south pacific such as The Cook Islands or Tahiti.
What music is hiding out on your iPod?
Officer Shepard: My favorite music genre is island reggae! I listen to that most mornings and evenings with a little Jack Johnson sprinkled in. For exercise, my go to is Audioslave! mixed with other early 90’s groups like Pearl Jam and Linkin Park.