Meet Officer Patrick Adolphe – DeSantis’s First Pardon

Patrick Adolphe is living his dream of being a police officer because he was given a second chance by Florida lawmakers and the incredible community of Delray Beach, who did everything possible to make sure an outstanding person would win. This is a story of second chances, perseverance, and the power of a community to come together. 

Officer Patrick Adolphe was Governor DeSantis’s first pardon. From left, Adolphe’s mother Evodie, Officer Adolphe, Attorney General Ashley Moody, State Rep Mike Caruso, Sergeant John Evans

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Delray Beach local Patrick Adolphe dreamed of becoming a police officer. Adolphe grew up in Delray Beach. He went to Plumosa and Atlantic High School. Still, when applying to the department, he discovered he wasn’t eligible because of a crime over a decade earlier. Some classmates had taken clothing from a store where he worked while attending the University of Central Florida on a football scholarship. He didn’t know that he had committed a crime. During one of his interviews for the police department, Adolphe was arrested because there was a warrant out for his arrest. Adolphe was young and had no idea that a wrong decision made as a kid would follow him since he wasn’t the one who had committed a crime that turned out to be a felony.

As a student at UCF, Adolphe looked away when a few classmates snatched some clothing from the Polo Ralph Lauren store where he was working. The amount in question was less than ten dollars over the felony limit. The kids who committed the crime didn’t get in trouble. Adolphe was questioned; he told the officers exactly what happened, and it seemed like that was that,  but years later, it came back to haunt him when he wanted to join the Delray Beach police department. 

For most, this dream would have been over, and they would have moved on to something else, but Adolphe was determined to find a way to serve as a police officer. The Delray Beach community stepped in and stepped up to help him. They believed in him. Adolphe was sponsored for clemency by State Representative Mike Caruso, R-West Palm Beach, and was the first pardon by Governor Ron DeSantis. None of this would have happened if it hadn’t been for his mentor, John Evans, a sergeant with DBPD at that time, and former Delray Beach Police Chief Javaro Sims, who stood by him and found a way to make this happen. 

State Rep Mike Caruso, Officer Patrick Adolphe, Chief Javaro Sims

Evans was Adolphe’s mentor. Once he found out that a pardon was the one possible way for Adolphe to become an officer, he set out to find a way to make it happen. Delray Beach is a close-knit community. State Representative Mike Caruso had lived there for decades. He has seven children, and when some of those kids overdid it with parties at home, Sergeant Evans was there to tell everyone it was time to go home. Many years later, Evans told Adolphe, “I know someone in office now who may be able to help.” Evans contacted Caruso, Caruso met with Adolphe, and after much hard work and time, Adolphe got his pardon. Caruso said Adolphe’s contributions to the community and volunteer work played a huge part in his decision to help him seek clemency.

Sergeant John Evans, State Rep Mike Caruso, CFO Chief Jimmy Patronis, Officer Patrick Adolphe, Adolphe’s mother Evodie

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Kids make mistakes. Some get away with it. Some don’t. In one of those “life is unfair” instances, a mistake that may not be that bad can follow you and haunt you for years. It can ruin your life, or you can find a way out of it against all odds, and that’s what happened to Officer Patrick Adolphe.

The Palm Beach Post reported on the story in 2020;

“I’m very grateful,” he said Wednesday. “I feel like there’s a huge weight off my back. …

“It was a really humbling experience. I was really overwhelmed, and I cried because (becoming a police officer) is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Adolphe said. 

The Cabinet’s vote to pardon Adolphe was unanimous, said State Rep. Mike Caruso, R-Delray Beach, who sponsored the clemency bid and attended Wednesday’s hearing along with Sims.

“Patrick is just a real special person, and I’m so excited that he can move on with his life and begin a new chapter as a Delray Beach police officer,” Caruso said.

“He didn’t know the impact of a felony conviction on his life until later when he went to become a police officer,” Caruso said.

“He mentors people,” Caruso noted.  “He works for Habitat for Humanity on the weekends. … He does volunteer work for seniors in the community all the time.

“He does the right thing. … He deserves a second chance.”

Delray Beach is an unusual place. The community as a whole loves and trusts the police department. When asked why the community loves the department so much, Adolphe attributed it to Michael Coleman, who is now the Chief of the Riviera Beach Police Department. He said that Coleman encouraged lifelong relationships with people in the community. When a kid gets in trouble in Delray Beach, there’s a good chance that the officer knows the kid’s parents. Those relationships build trust. The kids know who they’re dealing with. This shows that any community that can encourage kids who grow up in the community to stay and work where they grew up is ahead of the game.

State Rep Mike Caruso, Office Patrick Adolphe, Fl Jolt Editor at Large Tracy Caruso

When Adolphe was asked what he would say to anyone who has made a mistake and wants to come back from it, he said,

God and my religious background are why I didn’t give up. God placing John Evans in my life as a mentor made all the difference in the world. The most important thing about making a mistake is to learn from it. Don’t make the same mistake twice. You must make sure never to be placed in the same situation again. Learning from it is the most important thing. I also hang out with people who are successful and older than I am. Know your crowd. You are who you spend time with. You hang out with knuckleheads; you do knucklehead things. It would be best to be with people you want to be like. That’s who you emulate. I have a nine and a twelve year. I remember wearing my uniform, and my son saw me in uniform for the first time; he was so proud of me. I was Superman. I’m never going to let him down. Finding people who will give you a chance is essential; you must do the same for others in return. Your community is everything. Choose wisely. 

Adolphe’s “against all odds” story shows the power of community, and it is the story of a man with an incredible work ethic and strength of character who has been able to overcome adversity. 

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