MEET 2017 TOP HONOREE: OFFICER KEVIN KLEIS
Meet 2017 Florida State Top Honoree: Officer Kevin Kleis
This year, we wanted to illustrate the significance of Mothers Against Drunk Driving State-Wide recognition and, most importantly, highlight the Heroes among us!
For the first interview, we feature Officer Kevin Kleis with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He was the 2017 top honoree for Outstanding Dedication to BUI Enforcement.
Officer Kleis was nominated by FWC Captain Mitts Mravic. His nomination reads:
It is my privilege and honor to nominate Officer Kevin Kleis of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Law Enforcement in Collier County for MADD’s Outstanding Dedication to B.U.I. Enforcement. Officer Kleis was born in Miami Florida and it was there that ignited his interest in B.U.I. enforcement when he loss a close friend to an alcohol involved boating accident.
In 2016, Officer Kleis is credited with 12 operating under the influence of which 5 where for operating a vessel. Bigger than his own accomplishment in B.U.I. enforcement, is Kleis passion to helping his teammates get better at their BUI/ DUI investigations. He has become the Collier County B.U.I. expert that mentors other officers to enhance their B.U.I. detection and enforcement. Officer Kleis takes the time to show other, less confident, Officers that B.U.I. enforcement isn’t difficult. An example of Officer Kleis’ commitment occurred when a new officer completed the FTO program and joined his squad. Kleis took the new officer under his wing and continued his commitment to mentor. Within a couple days the new officer had his first BUI arrest and by day five, three of his team members had BUI arrests.
Additionally, Officer Kleis is a member of the FWC South Region Bravo, B.U.I. Task Force Team and has travel around the state to participate B.U.I. details to include such places as Miami Dade and Fort Walton Beach. Officer Kleis has also taken an active role of working with our partnering marine agencies to include Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Marco Police Department and Everglades National Park during targeted patrols in an effort to detect B.U.I. operators and encourage strong enforcement. Officer Kleis is looking forward to becoming a DRE in the future as he continues his role in B.U.I. /D.U.I enforcement.
There is no doubt that Collier County waters are a safer place to boat because of Officer Kleis’ dedication and enforcements efforts.
We wanted to know more so we spoke with Officer Kleis recently.
- What was the significance of receiving top honoree at the 2017 MADD Florida Recognition Ceremony?
I think, as a whole, FWC is a leader in BUI enforcement so the fact that someone from FWC received the award is pretty awesome. Sometimes, BUI isn’t looked at the same as DUI, but it can be just as deadly. During the week, most people are at work so we don’t tend to see as much boating activity. However, the weekends tend to be busier so our job becomes critical on the weekends. This upcoming weekend is Memorial Day and the start to the summer which is a busy boating season, so we will be very busy and keeping an eye out for BUI’s. For us, summer is busier for BUI’s because there’s more young people who vacation here in the summer and drink while captaining a boat.
- What was your reaction when you found out you were nominated?
My Captain nominated me so I was excited that my efforts had been noticed. It was one of the first MADD events that I attended and the fact that my accomplishments were recognized was terrific.
- What led you to become an FWC Officer and BUI mentor to others?
I’ve always was passionate about outdoors and wanted to be a cop so FWC was a good fit. I’ve been affected personally by DUI’s and BUI’s so when I got the job, I knew BUI enforcement was the area where I wanted to focus. And, once I had had the knowledge, I wanted to pass it on. I was taught that you pass on knowledge, and I’m good at BUI’s so I wanted to share my expertise with our new officers.
- If you could do one thing, leave one mark in the community, what would it be? As a whole, I feel like the people who taught me and who I taught make the community safer. And, I hope that BUI and DUI related accidents will decrease in our community due to those efforts.
- Will you be attending this year’s ceremony?
Not sure yet – I hope so.