June 30, 2022
Saint Leo University President Receives Key to City of Tampa

Photo: Renee Gerstein/Saint Leo University

Tampa Police Department Assistant Chief of Operations Lee Bercaw, and City of Tampa Chief of Staff John Bennett, present key to the City of Tampa to Saint Leo University President Jeffrey Senese, along with Associate Dean of the College of Education and Social Services Rhondda Waddell, Director of Graduate Studies in Public Safety Administration Robert Diemer, and Director, Doctor of Criminal Justice Program Phillip Neely.

Press Release

Saint Leo University President Receives Key to City of Tampa

| 5/17/2022

ST. LEO, FL – Saint Leo University President Jeffrey D. Senese received the key to the City of Tampa on Friday, May 13. Senese accepted the key on behalf of the university, which was a gift from Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. Presenting the key were John Bennett, chief of staff for the city and mayor, and Tampa Police Department Assistant Chief of Operations Lee Bercaw.

Bennett and Bercaw presented the key to Senese following a doctoral hooding ceremony in which both men received their Doctor of Criminal Justice hoods in advance of graduating from Saint Leo University on Saturday, May 14, with doctoral degrees.

Bennett’s dissertation is Mission Impossible: Do Local Law Enforcement Agency Mission Statements Citing “Crime Reduction” Result in Lower Crime Rates? His dissertation chair was Dr. Jorey Krawczyn.

A former assistant chief of the Tampa Police Department, Bennett as chief of staff for the city is responsible for coordinating and integrating the efforts of all departments and agencies to implement the programs directed by the mayor and the policies developed by the City Council. He earned his associate degree in 1995 from the then-Saint Leo College, and his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2000 from Saint Leo University.

Bercaw’s dissertation is The Phenomenon of Sex Trafficking at the Super Bowl and his dissertation chair was Dr. Daniel Negersmith. Bercaw joined the Tampa Police Department in 1997 and has become known for his proactive crime reduction initiatives and his management of large scale events in security and transportation for the Super Bowl, Republican National Convention, IIFA (International Indian Film Academy aka Bollywood), Gasparilla, and the College Football National Championship.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic universities in the nation, offering 62 degree programs to more than 15,800 students each year. Founded in 1889 by Benedictine monks and sisters, the private, nonprofit university is known for providing a values-based education to learners of all backgrounds and ages in the liberal arts tradition. Saint Leo is regionally accredited and offers a residential campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, 16 education centers in five states, and an online program for students anywhere. The university is home to more than 100,000 alumni. Learn more at saintleo.edu.

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