Florida Law Enforcement Hall of Fame Official Inductees

                                                        2018 Inductees
 
Robert Blackburn began his career in 1941 as a deputy with the Florida Highway Patrol before being elected Hillsborough County Sheriff in 1952, where he served 12 years. He was a member of the Florida Sheriffs Association serving as president from 1964-1965. Blackburn successfully lobbied for legislation creating the Florida Law Enforcement Academy, established professional standards for law enforcement and standardized the sheriff’s badge and vehicles. He was instrumental in the creation of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. From 1968 to 1978, he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, where he was considered “the voice of law enforcement.” In 1979, he was appointed interim commissioner of FDLE where he showed strong leadership, even though his tenure only lasted only a few months. He died in 1997, and will be remembered as a pioneer in modern Florida law enforcement.
   
   
William B. Berger
Donald Eslinger began his career as a radio dispatcher in 1978 before advancing through the ranks as a patrol deputy, investigator, watch commander and special weapons and tactics team leader with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. He was appointed Seminole County Sheriff on January 1, 1991, and elected in 1992.  He was subsequently reelected until his retirement in 2017. He served 38 years with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, and is the longest serving sheriff in Seminole County history. His tenure as sheriff was marked with drastic reductions in crime, along with advocacy for mental health and youth programs. Contributions to youth include founding Kids House, starting the annual “Shop with the Sheriff” and “Christmas Village” events, assuming responsibility for child protective services from the state and creating a successful civil citation diversion program. Under his leadership, the agency grew from 539 positions with a $25.8 million budget to 1,343 positions with a $123.5 million budget.
   
   
James T. Moore
Ernest George served his entire career with the West Palm Beach Police Department from 1975 to 2005. He was a D.A.R.E. officer educating elementary school children on the dangers of drugs in the late 1980s and was promoted to sergeant in January 1996. He also served as president of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) from 1987 to 2006 and president of the Florida PBA from 1996 to 2006. As PBA president, he achieved numerous legislative enhancements creating uniform guidelines for the use of dart-firing stun guns, creating the FRS Deferred Retirement Option Program and enhancing law enforcement officer death benefits. His passion to raise the standards for law enforcement led him to be appointed to the Criminal Justice and Standards Training Commission in 2001, serving as Commission chairman from 2010 to 2013.
   
   
Neil J. Perry
Frederick Maas is a 43-year veteran of law enforcement, who continues to serve his community today. He began his career with the Miami-Dade Police Department in 1975 and served in multiple roles until he retired in 1998. Later that year, he was hired by Sunny Isles Beach Police Department and promoted to chief in October 1999. He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Violent Crime and Drug Control Council in 2000. After years of receiving the “Outstanding Law Enforcement Leadership Award” from the Dade County Police Benevolent Association, they named the award in his honor. “The Fred Maas Law Enforcement Leadership Award” honors individuals who embody leadership, inspire those around them and make a difference in the lives of those they serve. In 2008, he received the highest law enforcement award from the Vatican being named a Knight of St. Sylvester by Pope Benedict XVI.
   
   
J. M. "Buddy" Phillips
James Smith began his career in 1964 as the first African-American police officer at the Miami Beach Police Department. At the age of 34, he was one of the oldest rookies in his class. He earned the reputation of being professional, sincere and empathetic towards others. He was promoted to sergeant in 1971 and rose through the ranks. In 1989, he was promoted to Major, the position he held until he retired in September 1990. He worked in or supervised every major unit at the department throughout his career and helped create a youth group for at-risk boys in the Liberty City area. In his honor, the Miami Beach Police Department named their community room the Major James W. Smith Community Room. Smith, who died in 2017, overcame the racial divide in America to inspire others with his fair but firm leadership.

2017 Inductees
 
   
Richard M. Beary has served more than 39 years in state and local law enforcement agencies. He began his career in 1977 with the Altamonte Springs Police Department, and in 1992 was named chief of police for Lake Mary Police Department, where he remained until he retired in June 2007. Immediately following retirement, he was named chief of police for the University of Central Florida, where he is still actively serving. He has served as president for the Florida Police Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). He has provided testimony before Congress, the Florida Legislature, and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. His tenure as IACP president (2014-15) was among the most challenging in the history of the organization as law enforcement faced immense scrutiny from federal and state governments, as well as the public, for a number of high profile use of force incidents. As IACP president, he passionately defended the profession and brought attention to law enforcement’s successes and complex challenges.
   
   
William B. Berger William B. Berger has dedicated 42 years to public service and public safety. His career began in 1974 with the Miami Police Department, where he was instrumental in significantly increasing the number of robbery, homicide, and sexual battery cases solved during the turbulent 1980s. From 1989 to 2004, he served as chief of police for North Miami Beach Police Department. Under his leadership, North Miami Beach was recognized as one of the most technologically advanced police departments in the country. In 2004, he was named chief of police for Palm Bay Police Department, where he continued to create and implement new programs and use technology to enhance policing. He has served as president for the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. On December 19, 2010, he was appointed by President Barack Obama as U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Florida. He is a four time recipient of the prestigious FPCA Director’s Award, now referred to as the Law Enforcement Executive of the Year Award. 
   
   
James T. Moore James T. Moore began his career with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 1973. He started in an entry-level position and worked his way through the ranks to ultimately be appointed as Commissioner in 1988 by Governor Bob Martinez and the Florida Cabinet. He served as Commissioner under two more governors until his retirement in 2003. During his tenure as Commissioner, his focus provided more effective service to local law enforcement agencies, brought technology enhancements to the department's forensic and information services divisions, and involved the public in the recovery of missing children and the identification of sexual offenders and predators. His concentration on executive development led to the establishment of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute. Following the tragedy of September 11, 2001, his leadership led to the establishment of Florida's domestic security infrastructure, which continues to provide a framework for managing and reducing potential threats to national and state security.
   
   
Neil J. Perry Neil J. Perry began his career as a reserve patrol officer with St. Augustine Police Department in 1968 prior to becoming a deputy sheriff with St. Johns County Sheriff's Office in 1974. He was elected St. Johns County Sheriff in 1984 and re-elected for five additional terms until his retirement on December 31, 2004. He displayed commitment and devotion to the profession by serving as president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, chairman of the Florida Youth Ranches, chairman of the Commission on Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, and chairman and co-founder of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute. His commitment to create an accreditation program for Florida led to the establishment of an award named after him. In addition to his distinguished law enforcement career, he also served his country with the Florida National Guard, retiring as a colonel. Perry, who died in 2012, will be remembered for his visionary leadership and civic involvement.
   
   
J. M. "Buddy" Phillips J. M. "Buddy" Phillips served 45 years in law enforcement in Florida, beginning his career as a deputy sheriff with Suwannee County Sheriff's Office in 1963. He was elected sheriff of Suwannee County in 1968, where he served one term before joining the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 1973. At the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he became the director of mutual aid, which is vital to Florida's law enforcement community allowing sheriffs and chiefs to share resources and manpower across jurisdictions during emergency situations. In 1988, he was selected to be the executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Association, where he served through his retirement in March 2002. Due in part to his ability to bring stability to an agency, he was appointed by three different governors to serve as sheriff in Flagler, Glades, Columbia, Pasco, Charlotte, and Lake counties between 1983 and 2004, and was the only person to serve as sheriff in seven different Florida counties. Sheriff Phillips died in 2008 and will be remembered as "Florida's Sheriff".
   
   
 
 
 
2016 Inductees
   
Willis D. Booth Willis D. Booth is a career law enforcement professional who served more than 40 years in state and local law enforcement organizations. He began his career in 1947 with the Clearwater Police Department, rising through the ranks to become chief of police in 1957. In 1968, he joined the newly formed Florida Department of Law Enforcement where he had a distinguished career until his retirement in 1984. Following his retirement from FDLE, he became the Executive Director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, a position he held until 1991. His leadership helped shape Florida’s law enforcement community. Perhaps his most important contribution is his mentorship and service as a role model for countless law enforcement executives and agencies throughout Florida.
   
   
Larry Campbell Larry Campbell served 53 years with local and state law enforcement agencies over a distinguished career that began in 1961. He worked his way through Florida State University while serving as a detention deputy with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. After college, he was promoted to deputy sheriff and chief of detectives. From 1971-1981, he worked for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Hired as FDLE’s first undercover agent, he eventually became the special agent in charge of the Tampa and Miami offices, and deputy director of the Division of Criminal Justice Information Systems. He won the J. Edgar Hoover award of excellence at the FBI National Academy in 1973. He returned to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office in 1981 as undersheriff and was elected sheriff in 1996, a position he held until his death in 2014. Throughout his career, he was actively involved in helping youth through the Boy Scouts, Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Special Olympics and Cops for Kids.
   
   
Thomas D. Hurlburt Jr. Thomas D. Hurlburt Jr. began his law enforcement career in 1968 with the Orlando Police Department. Rising through the ranks, in 1992 he was promoted to chief of police. During his tenure as chief, he became known for firm but fair leadership and dedication to the community, actively seeking to diversify Orlando’s police force to reflect the community it served. In 1998, he was appointed Orange County’s director of public safety, overseeing fire/rescue, corrections, emergency management, and the drug-free community office. In 2003, he was appointed by President George W. Bush as U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Florida. He and the U.S. Marshal from the Northern District of Florida established the first Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force. Retiring in 2011, his law enforcement career spanned over four decades, and established a legacy for promoting community policing.
   
   
James F. Medley James F. Medley served more than 35 distinguished years with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. He began his law enforcement career in 1977 as a deputy sheriff. In 1986, he was promoted to detective and investigated major crimes, including many high-profile homicides. In 2004, he was named “Detective of the Year.” His dedication, investigative work, and inter-agency cooperation led to the capture of the Dougherty Gang and other violent suspects, bringing closure to victim families. As a 17-year member of the SWAT Team, he was looked upon as a team leader.  He also served on the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard.  Until his 2012 retirement, he was among the longest continuously certified deputy sheriffs in Pasco County history.  In 2014, he rejoined the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in a part-time capacity, serving as a background investigator.
   
   
Leonidas George Mavro Thalassites Leonidas George Mavro Thalassites began his law enforcement career in 1956 with Metro-Dade Police Department. In 1963, he joined the Hialeah Police Department, rising to lieutenant before retiring in 1990.  Soon after, he joined the Tampa Police Department working in a reserve capacity and is currently a reserve officer with Hialeah Police Department. He is the oldest serving law enforcement officer in America according to the International Police Association. Throughout his life, he has been dedicated to serving others joining the Marine Corps at 14 and serving in World War II and the Korean War. He served in all five branches of the U.S. Military and has been a trainer for law enforcement and military units around the world. He has a special interest in helping U.S. veterans and works with Pinellas County Veteran Services, assisting veterans and their families.