Orange County is no stranger to those who proudly serve the community by protecting citizens and fighting crime.
Retired Sheriff Lt. Paul “Spike” Hopkins moved to Orange County in 1970 and has witnessed the tremendous growth that the area has experienced over nearly four decades.
“I grew up here, and for almost 30 years, I devoted my career and risked my life to protect the citizens and tourists,” Spike says. “Orange County is my backyard.”
He began as a firefighter and EMT for Orange County Fire Rescue Division in 1986. Then he became a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, where it soon became apparent that Hopkins had found his passion. He became a full-time Orange County Deputy Sheriff in 1989.
During the early 1990s, Spike served as a driving force behind an expanded effort for bike patrols in the Orange County area. He saw that bike patrols presented a unique opportunity to better serve the people, because he believed that citizens would view bike patrol officers as less threatening and would be more likely to reach out to them for help.
Through his years in law enforcement, Spike has faithfully served his county through various leadership positions. He served as night watch commander for seven years, where he was responsible for up to 340 deputies. Spike also served as SWAT team assistant team leader, lieutenant trainer and tactical anti-crime unit supervisor.
While he was on the job, Spike also served in the criminal investigation division, as an undercover narcotics agent, in the community-oriented policing squad, and he is a graduate of the FBI Leadership Academy.
“A long time ago, I realized there are a lot of great people who live in Orange County and want a safe environment to live, work and raise a family,” Spike says. “My passion has been to protect these people from those who prey on them.”
Spike clearly understands that keeping residents’ families safe is of the utmost importance. That is why Central Florida Lifestyle has teamed up with Spike to give tips and advice to our readers and Facebook followers about how to stay safe this summer.
“When you’re going to and from the car, make sure that you have your keys out and your finger on the panic button,” Spike says in his first safety video. He explains that using the panic button in a dangerous situation where you may feel threatened can be an easy action that can make a difference. “That person does not want any attention drawn to them, and this might be a simple trick to keep a bad guy away from you and to keep you safe.”
Be sure to check our Facebook for weekly videos where Spike will share everything he knows about keeping your family and home safe this summer.