Michael Fowler, who has served with the Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Department since 1992, took the Oath of Office to be sworn in as Director of Public Safety on Friday, Oct. 14. Fowler succeeds Stephan Dembinsky, who retired earlier this month.
Director Fowler followed in his father’s footsteps to become a law enforcement officer and started as a part-time Daytona Beach Shores Public Safety Officer in 1992 after graduating from police academy in St. Augustine. He has been full-time since 1995 and rose through the ranks over the years, serving most recently as captain for four years.
“Of all the functions a city carries out day in and day out, nothing is more important than keeping our citizens safe and protected,” said Daytona Beach Shores Mayor Nancy Miller. “The Shores is blessed to have an excellent Public Safety Department with fire, rescue and police services all combined into a well-run operation. The professionalism of the Public Safety Department is a credit to the leadership, and Michael Fowler has been a leader in our department for many years.”
“I can think of no one more perfect to serve as our PS director than Michael Fowler,” Mayor Miller said. “We look forward to this new era under his leadership. Congratulations, Director Fowler. We know you will continue the legacy of integrity, professionalism and excellent public safety that defines Daytona Beach Shores.”
State Attorney R.J. Larizza of the 7th Judicial Circuit also spoke, paying tribute to Dembinsky, praising the city’s selection of Fowler to succeed him, and pledging his support of the Public Safety Department under Fowler’s leadership.
“You’re lucky to have the quality and caliber of a man like him to take over the reins, and I want to say personally to Director Fowler, congratulations and I look forward to working with you,” Larizza said. “God bless you and your family.”
The Shores’ Public Safety Department is a unique model that combines fire/rescue and police services, and Fowler is triple-trained as a law enforcement officer, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and firefighter. The Public Safety model allows greater coverage during emergencies, providing quicker response times that save lives.
Fowler earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a Master of Public Administration, both from the University of Central Florida. A graduate of the FBI National Academy, Fowler is a member of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Volusia/Flagler Police Chiefs Association, the Volusia County Fire Chiefs Association and the FBI National Academy Associates.
He trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is a big advocate for incorporating Jiu-Jitsu in policing as a defensive tactic. He also delivers Meals on Wheels once a week. Fowler and his wife, Kristin Fowler, have five children and two grandchildren.
City Manager Kurt Swartzlander administered the Oath of Office at Friday’s ceremony, and Mrs. Fowler pinned the Director’s badge. Daytona Beach Shores Lt. Michael Schoenbrod served as master of ceremonies and also offered remarks.
Director Fowler thanked his family, city officials, former Director Dembinsky and his colleagues in policing and fire service. He told the community he understands their backing and trust. “I promise you that under my leadership, this department will always strive to deserve and protect that trust,” he said.
Fowler shared his vision, mission and core values for the department and honored the city’s Public Safety Officers, who serve and protect day in and day out.
“I have so much respect for what you do every day,” he told his officers. “It takes a special person to become a firefighter and put yourself in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of others and treat people when they are at their sickest, most seriously injured and vulnerable time. But you have also chosen to serve and protect your community as law enforcement officers. You risk your own well-being to be society’s guardians. You are truly our community’s bravest and finest.”
The vision, mission and core values announced by Fowler are:
It is our department’s vision to be a progressive leader, working in partnership with our community to create the safest city possible.
It is our department’s mission to improve the lives, safety, and wellness of all citizens by providing the highest levels of police, fire, and emergency medical services.
The core values are:
We conduct ourselves with honesty and ethics in everything we do. We value the public’s trust and act in an honorable manner.
We act selflessly to improve the quality of life of those we serve. We treat all people fairly, impartially, and with care.
We accept responsibility for all actions and decisions we make. We assume ownership of our roles and responsibilities.
We are sensitive to the needs of others and demonstrate compassion for all people. We treat all citizens with dignity and respect. We hold life in the highest regard.
We aim for excellence in everything we do. We find innovative ways to enhance our service to the community.