‘Dream’ situation for new MelBeach Police Lieutenant

His resume is impressive.

With combined experience and roles as a supervisor in criminal investigations, both in law enforcement, SWAT, U.S. Army Criminal Investigations and as a supervisory special agent for the Department of Defense – as well as his medical background as an EMT – Jason Epling will soon add another role to the list: Melbourne Beach police lieutenant.

Police Chief Melanie Griswold believes Epling is the perfect person to fill this newly added position because, she said, not only does he have an impressive background of leadership and management in law enforcement, but also with the U.S. Army.

“Lieutenant Epling is full of enthusiasm, eagerness and passion for this profession, and you can’t help it, but it rubs off on you,” Griswold said. “Considering his experience and impressive resume, I anticipate that Lieutenant Epling is up to the job, and I wish him well.”

Epling was sworn into the new position on Aug. 21, with a formal swearing-in to take place during the town commission meeting on Sept. 18. As lieutenant, he will oversee the patrol division to include community policing, training and administrative duties.

“The new lieutenant position will provide an additional leadership position in the day-to-day operations of the department, including scheduling and crime prevention while also actively participating in road patrols,” said Melbourne Beach Mayor Jim Simmons. “This will allow the chief more time to concentrate on and actively participate in county-wide activities, including coordination of emergency operations and response.”

After 13 years with the Indian River Sheriff’s Office, Epling retired so he could travel with his wife, Navy lieutenant and nurse Candice Fox, who was called to active duty up north.

During that time, he volunteered as an EMT and medic. But when Fox was called to Cuba, the couple decided to purchase a nine-acre property in Fellsmere as their home base. Fox is now stationed in Jacksonville and travels home on the weekends.

“Retirement proved to be a little boring,” Epling said.

Just prior to taking the job in Melbourne Beach, he worked as an officer for the town of Indian River Shores.

“The chief knows my background and history and she’s been asking me to come work with her for a while now,” Epling said. “So I visited for several days and drove all around, stopping in several places, getting to know the town, before I said yes.”

Epling started his career in medicine and worked as a flight medic before deciding to go into law enforcement.

“My dream has always been to work in a small town where everybody knows everybody else and you can call each other by name” Epling said. “That’s what Melbourne Beach is to me.”

As lieutenant, he said his goal is to strengthen rapport in community. Some of his initiatives include community outreach – such as officers reading to kids in the library – and supporting the efforts of the school resource officer.

“I want to give him everything he needs for the security of the school,” Epling said. “That will be one of my big pushes.”

Epling has four grown children and 11 grandchildren.

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