Pinecrest Police Sgt. Carlos Villanuevas said he had wanted to wear a uniform to fight bad guys since he was a little boy growing up in Puerto Rico.
Now he wears two. When he is not patrolling the streets of Pinecrest or spending time with his wife and two kids, he is known as Coast Guard intel chief at a post in Miami Beach.
He has worn many uniforms since he joined the U.S. Army when he was 19 and served in the army for seven years. He traveled to Germany and Kuwait during his service. And before joining Pinecrest police in 1997, he worked for the New York City Police Department and the Miccosukee Tribal Police Department.
I joined the reserves from 1992 to 2002. And then in 2008, I joined again. But this time, I went with the Coast Guard Reserve, said Villanuevas, 46. As reservists, our main job is the police department, and my second job is as an intelligence specialist. We target human and drug-smuggling.
Villanuevas is one of a few of the Pinecrest police officers who serve in the military reserves. He recently asked The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize his boss Pinecrest Police Chief Samuel Ceballos, Jr. for his support of reservists.
ESGR Area Chairman Michael Mills, a former South Miami Police major, presented an award to Ceballos at the village council on Feb. 12.
Almost 50 percent of our military are volunteer National Guard Reserve, Mills said. They need to know that they are going to get the support of their community. They need to know that when they are called back to duty, their employers will treat them properly. Chief Ceballos does that.
Reservists have to report for duty for two days a month and two weeks a year. In Pinecrest, military reserve personnel get paid for 30 days while on military leave.
Also, the U.S. Department of Labor enforces the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which protects service members from discrimination.
Im very grateful for the way the village of Pinecrest treats us. They make us feel appreciated, Villanuevas said. We know that 30 days is more than the standard. Some guys are getting 10 to 14 days.
Other reservists in the department include Officer Josue Mangual, who is a sergeant with the Air Force; Officer Vladimir Pepen, who is a staff sergeant with the Army; and Officer Michael Gorsline, who retired as master sergeant of the Air Force Reserve after 30 years of service.
Im extremely proud of these police officers, said Ceballos, the villages third police chief since July. And I will do everything I can to support their service to our country.