Meet Our Chief

Chief Michelle Morris was born in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Sebastian in 1984. She is a graduate of Vero Beach High School, Indian River Community College with an Associate of Arts, Warner Southern College with a Bachelor of Arts, and the University of Central Florida with a Masters of Science. Chief Morris is also a graduate of the University of Louisville’s Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course, class #114.

 

Chief Morris began her career with the Sebastian Police Department in 1987 starting as a patrol officer. During her tenure she has worked in various divisions to include: investigations, training, road patrol, professional standards and administration. She was appointed to the Chief’s position on June 25, 2009. Chief Morris was the agency’s accreditation manager from 2000-2009 and served as an assessor and team leader for CFA. Chief Morris was appointed to the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation by the Florida Police Chief’s Association in 2014.

 

She is a member of the Executive Roundtable of Indian River County, Juvenile Justice Advisory Board for the 19th Circuit, Substance Awareness Council, and Racial and Ethnic Disparity Committee.

 

Chief Morris and her husband Dane have been married for 25 years and have two grown sons. Chief Morris is active in the Sebastian community and her church.

Deputy Chief

Operations Commander

Deputy Chief Witt has been with the Sebastian Police Department since September 1985, and has served in many different capacities during his tenure. He has served as a Road Patrol Officer, Detective, Road Patrol Sergeant, Training and Special Operations Sergeant, Support Services Division Commander, and Operations Division Commander.

 

Deputy Chief Witt also has the distinction of graduating from the FBI National Academy located in Quantico, Virginia in 2005.  He is also a graduate of the FBI Florida Executive Development Seminar (FEDS), the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar (LEEDS#65) and the Florida Chief Executive Seminar (CES#49). He served as an area representative for the Florida Chapter of the FBINAA from 2006 until 2014. In 2014, he was elected to the Florida Chapter FBINAA Executive Board, which is a five year commitment, and will serve as the Florida Chapter President in 2018.

 

In 2009, Deputy Chief Witt was selected to sit on the board of directors for the South Eastern SWAT Association as the Florida representative, and served a two year commitment. He has also worked as an adjunct instructor for Indian River State College. Deputy Chief Witt holds an Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice from Indian River State College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Barry University.

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Support Services Commander

Commander Dan Acosta serves as the Support Services Commander, which includes the Criminal Investigations Division, the Communications Center, the Records Division, School Resource and Community Policing Enforcement (COPE). He obtained an Associate in Science degree for Criminal Justice from Brevard Community College and earned his Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Administration from Barry University.

 

Commander Acosta began his law enforcement career in 1995 when he attended the Police Academy in Brevard County and worked for the Fellsmere Police Department prior to being hired at Sebastian Police Department in 1999. His experience includes working as a Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Detective, Shift Corporal, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, tactical member of the Special Response Team (SWAT) and as a Hostage Negotiator. He has also served as the background investigator for all positions hired within the Police Department and as a Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) operator for both investigative and employment selection purposes.

Commander John Blackledge serves as the Operations Commander, which includes Road Patrol and the Marine and Traffic Units.

 

He started his law enforcement career as a reserve officer with the Florida Game Commission in 1979.  He retired in 2013 as the Deputy Chief of a police department after 33 years. His experience includes worked in patrol, field training, wildlife and marine enforcement, undercover narcotics, internal affairs, training, patrol supervision and senior command. He served as the Tactical Incident (SWAT) Commander for more than 100 hostage, high-risk warrant services and barricaded subject incidents.  He has authored several international articles on law enforcement innovations, joint public-private partnerships and leadership.

 

Commander Blackledge has been the Lead Legal Instructor for more than 25 years at Eastern Florida State College-Public Safety Institute and has instructed in the legal section and various areas advanced training programs, including Crisis Intervention Team training, instructor training, supervision and management.  He serves as subject matter expert for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and is a key member in the development of the legal portions of the Florida Basic Recruit Academy curriculum, Crisis Intervention Program and instructor trainer curricula since 1992.

 

Commander Blackledge is a graduate of the FBI-National Academy 193rd Session and of the U.C.F. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies.  He is a certified trainer in Incident Command by F.E.M.A. from the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Md and has trained over 1,500 public safety personnel in ICS principles using hands-on exercises.

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