2016 Officer of the Year Award – Officer Aaron Vandenhouten
Officer Vandenhouten began his career with the Plantation Police Department in 1992 as a Police Explorer and part time vehicle service aide. After graduation from SPHS in 1995 he was hired as a Police Service Aide. He was later reclassified, in May 1998, to Police Officer.
Officer Vandenhouten’s personnel file is a reflection of dedicated service to the City of Plantation. Throughout his career, he has volunteered for added responsibilities including SWAT team member, Rappel Instructor, Explorer Advisor, K-9 Team Instructor and FDLE Certified K-9 Team Evaluator. He has been an active member of the Broward County Law Enforcement Memorial Board for the past 5 years. He was also one of the lead instructors for the South Florida Multi-agency K-9 group, which is tasked with the weekly maintenance training of numerous K-9 units throughout Broward County.
Officer Vandenhouten has been a K-9 instructor since 2006 and has taught approximately 10 different FDLE 1198 Basic K-9 patrol schools in Broward County. Each class requires a minimum of 480 hours of instruction and training for each K-9. Some K-9’s require more attention and several more hours are spent training each K-9 and their handler. In 2016, Officer Vandenhouten taught a larger than normal K-9 school. He was instrumental in training eight (8) K-9’s from eight (8) different local law enforcement agencies from February through September 2016.
Officer Vandenhouten’s current assignment with the Plantation Police Department K-9 Unit involves a multitude of responsibilities both internally and throughout South Florida. Whether operating in the role of a K-9 trainer or actively tracking suspects as a K-9 handler, Officer Vandenhouten remains dedicated, approachable and is always available to offer his assistance or advice.
It was his tenaciousness in the apprehension of two individuals for burglary, one armed with a stolen handgun, which earned him “Officer of the Month” for December 2015. His supervisor remarked that Officer Vandenhouten remains a trademark of professionalism and a level of dedication that is truly an asset to the department.
Regardless of his position, or tenure, Officer Vandenhouten’s work accomplishments have repeatedly reflected a high level of service to the department and community. He has been the recipient of two “Unit Citation” awards, the “Distinguished Performance” award, a Commendation Award, a certificate of appreciation and five previous nominations for the “Officer of the Month”, three of which he won.
Officer Vandenhoutens’ consistency and valued service is well deserving of further recognition. We are honored to recognize Officer Aaron Vandenhouten as the Plantation Police Department’s 2016 Officer of the Year.