Kristy Schott was born and raised in New York. At the age of 17, she and her mom moved to Fort Myers. She attended Cypress Lake High School and later graduated in 2002.
As soon as she was finished with high school, Sgt. Schott felt a connection to the public service industry. Although she had an interest in law enforcement early in life, she also found the area of emergency medical services appealing. She set her sights on becoming a Paramedic. She enrolled at Edison Community College (now Florida Southwestern State College). After two years of hard work and determination, Sgt. Schott received her Paramedic Certification.
Ready to put her new knowledge and certificate to work, Sgt. Schott found a job with the Hendry County EMS in LaBelle. She worked with this unit for nearly two years. Over time, she decided that this branch of the public safety world was not where her heart really was.
Since she was a child, Sgt. Schott also held high regards for the field of law enforcement. In the back of her mind, she always knew it might be a career path she would pursue one day. Her mom’s boyfriend was a New York State Trooper, and she had an uncle who worked in the Corrections Division. They helped influence her desire to work in law enforcement.
In 2006, Sgt. Schott was hired by the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) to work as a Dispatcher. Wanting to obtain her law enforcement certification, she applied for the Brian Haas Criminal Justice Scholarship and received the award. This scholarship paid for Sgt. Schott’s tuition to the academy as well as all of the gear she needed.
She enrolled in the Southwest Florida Public Service Academy, and continued to work full-time as a Dispatcher while in school. After about three months, Sgt. Schott found that the coursework was becoming increasingly demanding. She wanted to focus on her studies so she began working part-time in Dispatch as well as at the front desk of the sheriff’s department.
After receiving her Law Enforcement Certification in 2007, Sgt. Schott was assigned to the LaBelle Middle School to work as their School Resource Officer (SRO). She stayed in this position for about a year and a half. Although she thoroughly enjoyed working with the faculty and students at LMS, she really wanted to give the K-9 Division a try.
In order to increase her chances of moving to the K-9 unit, Sgt. Schott asked to be transferred to a Road Patrol position. After patrolling the roads for a while, a K-9 position opened. In order to apply and be considered, she had to complete a rigorous course that required a great deal of physical and mental strength. Along with the physical test, there was also an oral interview. In the end, Sgt. Schott got the job. She was ready to try her hand at being a K-9 Handler.
Sgt. Schott was soon assigned a K-9 partner named Major. A breed known as Malinois, Major was a 90-pound, highly energetic dog. The duo worked together for nearly two years before she was led back to road patrol and other endeavors.
While once again patrolling the roads of Hendry County, Sgt. Schott applied for a position with the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and got the job. As a detective, she worked criminal investigations ranging from petty thefts to homicides (minor crimes to major crimes). Though she enjoyed working with this unit, she wanted to go back in the schools as an SRO.
After requesting a transfer to work again as an SRO, a position opened at Upthegrove Elementary School (UES) in 2014. Sgt. Schott spent her days patrolling the campus, spending time in classrooms, assisting the school’s administration with any student or parent issues, and completing paperwork such as monthly activity logs and other reports. She also worked as a D.A.R.E. instructor while at UES. Sgt. Schott stated, “as an SRO, you’re not just a law enforcement entity, you’re also a teacher and a counselor.”
While working as the UES SRO, Sgt. Schott started the Family Movie Night program as well as the Manhunt Event (teaches youngsters what it’s like to be part of a law enforcement agency’s manhunt investigation). She collaborated with her coworkers to implement the Shop With A Cop program that took place on both sides of the county. During this time, Sgt. Schott also had the opportunity to assist with some of the necessary SRO administrative duties and responsibilities.
In April of 2017, she transitioned into the Sergeant position within the SRO unit where she continues to work today. As the unit’s new supervisor, Sgt. Schott’s duties now include overseeing all of the Hendry County School Resource Officers. She acts as an additional liaison and mediator between the schools and their SROs by making sure any issues that arise are dealt with appropriately.
Sgt. Schott assists with several community events, makes and returns several phone calls and emails throughout each day as well as handles paperwork such as approving time cards and reviewing SRO reports. She makes every effort possible to spend time on all of the LaBelle and Clewiston school campuses. She stated that she “enjoys staying involved and having student interaction.” When she is in her office, she is often planning future events and programs. She also actively searches for grants to be used in the Hendry County school system.
April of 2017 marked Sgt. Schott’s 10-year anniversary with the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. She stated, “my preference for working with HCSO is that it’s a smaller agency where I know the other deputies and I can have a one on one conversation with the Sheriff.” Larger agencies often don’t afford this type of coworker connection. She loves that her job “allows her the ability to be more close-knit with her coworkers, both professionally and personally.”
In her spare time, Sgt. Schott enjoys spending time with her family and friends. An interesting fact about this law enforcement officer is that she is artistically talented. Don’t let the uniform fool you - she loves anything to do with the arts, especially painting and drawing. In the Fall of 2016 while working as the SRO for UES, she donated a hand-painted Harry Potter themed wooden chest to be raffled during one of their festivals. All of the money raised was donated to the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.
Sgt. Schott also enjoys watching movies to relax and entertains her competitive side by going bowling. She also tries to make it by Bridge Street Coffee & Tea Company as often as possible to get her morning motivation – a caramel latte. She explained that “coffee gets me up and running.”
Know that no matter who the child is, Sgt. Schott will always have that “Mama Bear” mentality. Her mission is to protect and to serve. She wants every child in the county to understand that she is available to help anytime there is a need. Sgt. Schott is a valuable asset to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office as well as to the Hendry County School District. Her dedication and willingness to go above and beyond are prime examples of what it means to be a quality law enforcement officer.
With the ongoing news coverage of police shootings in this nation and the negative attitude toward the police nationwide, the staff of the Caloosa Belle has decided to show our support to the men and women of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Department who protect us every day. In the following weeks we will be introducing you to them and letting you know what they do to keep you safe every day.