TWO “HOMETOWN BOYS” BECOME NEWEST COCOA POLICE OFFICERS
(Cocoa, FL)—They were both born and raised in Brevard County, one in Merritt Island and one in Canaveral Groves. On Monday, both became the City of Cocoa’s newest police officers. Chief Mike Cantaloupe administered the Police Officer’s Oath to Xzevies Baez and Matthew Houchens in a special swearing in ceremony attended by family, friends and department personnel.
Xzevies Baez, 23, grew up in Merritt Island. After graduating high school he began to pursue a career as a lawyer and planned to also play football for the University of West Florida. Plans changed and he returned to Brevard County where he attended the Criminal Justice Academy at Eastern Florida State College. Baez graduated the academy in April. He is currently working towards completing a degree in political science pre-law from the University of Central Florida. He is of Cuban and Puerto Rican descent. “I’m excited to be here,” Baez said after his swearing in ceremony. “I’m looking forward to contributing and becoming a role model in this community.”
Matthew Houchens, 27, grew up in Canaveral Groves. He graduated from the Criminal Justice Academy at Eastern Florida State College in December 2016. He began his career in the medical field with certifications in dialysis and phlebotomy. Houchens said he was drawn to the Cocoa Police Department because of its community outreach and proactive policing approach. “This is my community and Cocoa PD is very involved in the community and I want to be a part of that,” Houchens said. “I was in the medical field for a while and enjoyed helping people. I just want to help people in a different aspect and this is where it went.”
Both officers will spend the next several months in training where they will learn the department’s policies and procedures. They will be placed with a Field Training Officer (FTO) to respond to calls for service. After successful completion of the FTO program, they will be deployed to solo patrol duties within a designated squad.