Criminal Justice Trainers Learn Lessons in Local Seminar

Florida Public Safety Institute Seminar
Posted at 5:00 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-10 18:53:51-04

HAVANA, FL (WTXL) -- Law enforcement agencies from three states are in Gadsden County this week for the Florida Public Safety Institute's 8th annual instructor training seminar.

Two speakers during Monday's opening ceremony shared stories to encourage law enforcement to stay alert and continue to work hard -- because lives depend on it.

October 10 is a day Bill DeMott can't forget. Monday marked one year since his 20-year-old daughter Keri Anne was killed by a drunk driver.

Since her death, DeMott has given several talks about driving under the influence.

"Decisions can cost lives or save lives," he said. "Everybody's got to make a decision, and we just want to make sure they're making the right one."

Miami-Dade police officer Mario Gutierrez had to make a difficult decision three years ago. He said nearly lost his life stopping a man from setting a gas station on fire.

"Fear basically gripped me," Gutierrez said. "I said, 'We're going to die. This is going to explode -- this 8,000-gallon tank."

Gutierrez said the man stabbed him and nearly bit off one of his thumbs. The officer used a taser but was forced to fire his weapon to save his own life.

He was hospitalized for a week in serious condition with multiple conditions.

"It's a tough job, but it's also a calling, so that's what I recommend," Gutierrez said. "You have to have a cop's heart."