Major Departs After Sixteen Years of Service


Thursday, July 06, 2017 9:30 AM

Thursday, July 06, 2017 9:30 AM


 (Cocoa, FL)—Major Eric Austin finishes his law enforcement career on Friday after 16-years of service to the citizens of Cocoa. Major Austin is pursuing a full time career as an executive pastor with a local church in Melbourne and superintendent of a private school, but he will stay on with the Cocoa Police Department as a reserve officer. “The City and Police Department are filled with incredible people, who I have called family for more than 16 years,” Austin said. “I will miss the people the most.”

Major Austin joined the Cocoa Police Department in February 2001 at 19 years old. He was promoted to major in December 2015. As major, his duties encompassed all aspects of police support services administration, which included the criminal investigations division, communications center, accreditation manager, records section, training, budget, finance, information technology projects, field training evaluation program, policy development, building maintenance, and recruiting and hiring. During his 16-year tenure with the agency, Major Austin worked in every area of operations. He was a school resource officer, detective, patrol sergeant, community relations sergeant, and lieutenant over professional compliance. He also managed the financial accountability for the Cocoa Community First non-profit. He is considered a subject matter expert, and he is an adjunct instructor at the Advanced Law Enforcement Training and Police Academy at Eastern Florida State College and Daytona State College. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Central Florida, and he finishing his master’s degree in business administration from Webster University.

  Among his more noteworthy recollections was his role as the lead investigator of the 2006 homicide of Darice Knowles, whose body was not discovered until four years after she was buried alive by her captors. The investigation led to a first degree murder conviction and death sentence in 2016. The case garnered international attention due to the graphic nature of the homicide. The investigation lasted more than five years.

 “We are surely going to miss him,” said Chief Mike Cantaloupe. “We are a better, more professional agency because of the work he did here. We know he will have great success in his new endeavors and we wish him nothing but the best.”