We had the good fortune of connecting with Rich Best and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rich, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Being true to our word. For years we have heard families of fallen Law Enforcement Officers told at funerals that they will never be forgotten. All too often though we hear from loved ones that they feel like they have been forgotten. Being a small 100% volunteer non-profit organization, we have to remain focused on being able to accomplish all of our initiatives and goals on a limited budget. We are only successful for three reasons: 1) Being afforded the honor, privilege, and opportunity families and co-workers provide to us so we can assist in any small way possible, 2) Because of the hard selfless work our volunteers provide, 3) Because of the kindness and generosity of our supporters enabling us to accomplish so much.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
This is a difficult question to answer in a short amount of time. I am originally from the East Coast and became hooked on being a Police Officer after my very first ride along during freshman year of college. I couldn’t believe we handled a residential burglary, a stabbing, a domestic violence call, had time for a traffic stop, and conducted several business checks in such a short period of time. Not having any experience in Law Enforcement, I was completely naive to how much went on in the city I resided. I faced some adversity applying for very limited openings along with very qualified applicants. I never gave up and just kept trying. I was fortunate to become a member of a large metropolitan agency in Nevada shortly after college. I took everything in and was even more fortunate to have phenomenal supervision and field training officers. I never stopped learning and just kept moving forward. 2009 was a difficult year for the entire agency. We lost FOUR heroes that year alone in the line of duty. It rocked us but did not break us and we kept pushing forward. A few years later I transferred to South Florida where I continued to serve. Looking at todays current events and thinking about the past 13 years in Law Enforcement, I am at a loss for words. When you ask about challenges, yes, without a doubt there have been challenges. I would say the biggest challenge is encouraging others not to give up, not to quit, and to continue signing up to risk so much for often so little in return. To answer the rest of your question, where I’m at today is happy. I’m happy personally, professionally, and in general. It wasn’t easy to get here but we all have choices and we control the next chapter in our book. If you’re unhappy, turn the page, and start over.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being in South Florida, this is an easy one. We would go out on a boat or jetski and check out Peanut Island and the intracoastal. There’s no shortage of waterfront restaurants and in my opinion, thats one of the best parts about South Florida. It’s critically important in this line of work to de-stress and relax once and a while. The ocean is a great way to do just that.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There would be no ‘story’ or Team South Florida had it not been for the selfless sacrifice James Manor made when he was tragically killed in the line of duty in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2009. Mike Brambila, a veteran Law Enforcement Officer who has now since retired, was our Academy Instructor. Mike introduced me to Rich Strader, another veteran Law Enforcement Officer who has also since retired. Through Mike and Rich, as a younger Law Enforcement Officer, I gained an invaluable amount of experience, knowledge, and strength focused on learning the importance of honoring our fallen Law Enforcement Officers, supporting their families, and taking care of each other. As I answer this question, I can’t help but think Jamie’s incident was 11 years ago. His Family has been tremendous each and every year allowing Jamie’s peers to do their small part in honoring Jamie’s legacy. I can’t thank them enough.
Team South Florida