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HBPD ‘officer of year’ loves work, community, kids

By Kathy Prucnell, Islander Reporter

HBPD Officer Brian Copeman holds the mascot for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education class he teaches at Anna Maria Elementary School. Islander Photo: Kathy Prucnell

Officer Brian L. Copeman loves his job, the community and the students at Anna Maria Elementary School.

        His positive attitude was so apparent, he was nominated Feb. 22 by the Holmes Beach Police Department for the Manatee County 100 Club Officer of the Year Award.

        Copeman is the department’s Anna Maria Elementary School resource officer. He teaches the school’s fifth-grade Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, and speaks on literacy, safety and at career days, and more.

        His time is evenly split between the school and community patrols, he said. But unlike the people who don’t always want to see him on the regular calls, “the students are always happy to see me.”

        Copeman believes he’s reaching the students about the risks of drugs and alcohol by making learning fun. Sometimes, he said, the “teacher may be cringing in the corner,” due to the noise and commotion we create. But, “it’s OK. I like to make it a fun atmosphere.”

        “I love hanging out with the kids, teaching,” he said.

        Copeman directs traffic at the crosswalk on Gulf Drive with help from dispatchers on most school days, he said. He’s been doing this for about four years, and the students know him by name.

        “Officer Copeman is known for his outstanding attitude and dedication to both the school and our community,” said Holmes Police Chief Jay Romine in his nomination letter to the 100 Club. He added Copeman understands how vital it is to be a positive role model for the students.

        The Manatee County 100 Club annually bestows the award on area law enforcement officers at its spring award dinner. Manatee County law enforcement agencies typically nominate one award recipient from each of their departments, and the club selects a winner.

        Romine said Copeman “has built an outstanding rapport” with students and school staff, and that he often volunteers his own time for school activities.

        Copeman started with the city’s police force in 2005 after serving with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and attending Manatee County Technical Institute’s Police Academy. He is a lifelong Manatee County resident, having attended Palma Sola Elementary, King Middle and Manatee High schools.

        And he’s raising a family of his own.

        About the award, Copeman said, “it’s a very nice surprise.”

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