Board of Directors

President » Ben Tobias

Officer Ben Tobias joined the Gainesville Police Department in 2005.  During his career he has served in Patrol, the Downtown Unit and also spent three years riding horses with the Mounted Patrol Unit.  While working the road, he spent most of his time in traffic and DUI enforcement.  Ben was approached and asked to be the Public Information Officer for GPD in the spring of 2012 which he accepted.  About a month after starting his new position, he handled all media functions for the murder case of UF Student Christian Aguilar, a case that garnered international attention.  Approximately 6 weeks after becoming a PIO, Ben gave a press conference that aired live nationwide.

Ben’s duties include daily interactions with the Gainesville TV, print and radio news outlets and managing GPD’s social media presence.  He also handles a majority of the photography and videography for GPD.  Ben also presents multiple times each year at the University of Florida’s School of Journalism.

In January 2016, Ben finally achieved every social media manager’s dream…the viral video.  A street basketball game between Gainesville Police Officer Bobby White and neighborhood kids has been viewed over 200 million times and created international media attention.  The experience has included meeting NBA Superstar Shaquille O’Neal twice…once at Shaq’s home in Windemere!

Additionally, Officer Tobias serves as a backup Tactical Flight Officer for the agency’s Joint Aviation Unit and is currently in the process of studying for his helicopter pilot license.

Officer Tobias was elected Vice President in June 2015 and assumed the office of President in October 2016 after the past president had to resign.

Vice President » Genevieve Judge

Genevieve Judge serves as the Partnership Policing Communications Coordinator and Media Relations Liaison under the Chief of Police for the Sarasota Police Department.  She’s served in this role since May 2013 and has developed partnerships with her community and media outlets to share the good and bad that come with law enforcement.  Genevieve is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as the sole spokeswoman for SPD.  Before joining SPD, Genevieve spent nearly 10 years as a Multi-Media Journalist for TV stations in Sarasota, Florida, West Virginia, Idaho and most recently Fort Myers, Florida.

Genevieve’s daily responsibilities include interactions with TV, print, and radio outlets in the Tampa and Sarasota media markets.  She also manages all the social media accounts for SPD.  She serves as the person behind the photos and videos seen on SPD’s social media as well.

Since joining SPD, Genevieve has worked with Chief Bernadette DiPino and Command Staff to implement programs such as Coffee with a Cop, Tweet from the Beat, Tea with the Chief, Wanted Wednesday and Flashback Friday.  In 2014, her peers at SPD named her Civilian Employee of the Year for her hard work and dedication.  In 2015, she was awarded the International 2015 ConnectedCops Award of Excellence by ConnectedCOPS.net for her overall use of Social Media with SPD.

Genevieve holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.  She’s been member of FLEPIOA and the National Information Officers Association (NIOA) since 2013.

Genevieve was appointed as FLEPIOA Vice President in October of 2016.

Treasurer » Carrie Eleazer Horstman

Carrie Eleazer Horstman began her career at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in 1999 working for the Law Enforcement Colonel.  Carrie became a Public Information Officer in 2002.  Prior to moving to Polk County, she spent 7 years in the U.S. Air Force as a Cryptologic Arabic Linguist.  Carrie has a Bachelor’s degree from Troy University and an MBA from Southeastern University, both in Criminal Justice. S he also holds a Certified Public Manager certification from Florida State University.  Carrie is the 2007 recipient of the FLEPIOA Internal Crisis award, and was elected Vice President and Treasurer the same year.  She served as the 2008 FLEPIOA President, and has continued to serve as Treasurer since 2007.

 

Secretary » Kaitlyn Pearson

Kaitlyn Pearson is the Communications Director for the State Attorney’s Office, 10th Judicial Circuit. Her office handles criminal prosecutions and advises grand juries for Polk, Highlands and Hardee Counties.

She transitioned to the role of a Public Information Officer for the SAO after spending two years as a newspaper reporter covering crime and breaking news in Polk County. State Attorney Brian Haas saw the need to begin distributing information to the public about what the office does, so he created the communications department in July of 2016 and put Kaitlyn in charge.

Kaitlyn’s daily duties include fulfilling public records requests for various print and television outlets from Orlando to Tampa. She shares the role of spokesperson with State Attorney Brian Haas. In addition to documenting trials and the day-to-day work of the Assistant State Attorneys, she also handles the SAO’s social media accounts by writing content and taking the photos and videos that are posted.

In her spare time, Kaitlyn sings in a jazz duo and plays piano.

Kaitlyn  joined FLEPIOA in 2016, when she was elected Secretary.

State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit  |  kpearson@sao10.com  |  863-534-4944

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