J.C. Brock doesn’t know a stranger. Whether it’s the night janitor or a prominent official, Brock has a smile, a handshake and personal greeting for them all.
After a quarter century of working for and leading public safety and criminal justice programs at St. Petersburg College’s Allstate Center, Brock will retire as Campus Executive Officer on June 30.
“I’ve had a great team over the past 25 years,” said Brock, who began his career in education in 1989, shortly after the Allstate Center opened. “I am very appreciative of all my colleagues. Historically we’ve always had very, very pleasant and professional relationships.”
Since 1960, the Southeastern Public Safety Institute (SEPSI) at SPC has offered specialized training and education for those preparing to enter a public safety profession, in-service professionals and administrators. Today, SEPSI includes in-service training for law enforcement officers and public safety training academies for recruits.
Brock was hired in 1989 as an ethics instructor by former SPC President Carl Kuttler, who wanted to bolster the college’s reputation in applied ethics.
At the time, Brock was a lieutenant for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, having spent 12 years in law enforcement. During that time, he worked in narcotics and undercover investigations, and eventually administered training and personnel programs.
It was in his roles at the sheriff’s office and later at SPC that Brock strengthened the relationship between the two agencies forged by former Allstate Associate Provost Bob Tegarden. In 2000, Brock was promoted to replace Tegarden as associate provost.
“He was a pioneer in law enforcement (training) and I was very fortunate to take over something that he spent almost 30 years building,” said Brock.
Ten years ago, Brian Frank pursued the job of law enforcement academy coordinator at SPC because of the reputation Brock built for it.
“He’s a large part of why I wanted to work here and the reputation we’ve achieved at the training center,” said Frank, who is now dean of the College of Public Safety Administration and training center director. “He’s been a great mentor to me. He’s been able to build an international presence and at the same time fostered great relationships with our local agencies.”
While leading Allstate, Brock helped oversee federal grant funding for law enforcement training through the Center for Public Safety Innovation. At its funding peak, the center was bringing in more than $33 million in grants to train local, state and federal law enforcement officers.
The center is led by Executive Director Eileen LaHaie and today offers training on an international scale. LaHaie has spent her 20-year career at SPC working with or for Brock.
“Once you earned his trust and proved yourself to him, he trusted your judgment and let you run your own shop,” said LaHaie. “He was very big on making sure that all the departments at Allstate knew what the others were doing and making sure we didn’t operate in silos. He also wanted everyone to know how our work fit in with the college overall.”
LaHaie said Brock’s retirement party May 9 summed up his tenure.
“The amount of people who showed up; the breadth and depth of the people who were there, that kind of said it all,” LaHaie said. “It really showed the impact he’s had on so many people’s lives.”
Ask Brock and he’ll tell you his proudest accomplishment was “seeing the growth of so many people moving into leadership roles. We had a very large group of talented people who went on to take leadership roles at outside agencies and here at the college.”
Upon his retirement, Brock will continue to enjoy golfing and all things related to Florida State University.