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Five nominees slated for Law Enforcement Hall of Fame

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

As many as five people – including a former FDLE head and two late county sheriffs – will likely be added to the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame, according to documents filed for the next Cabinet meeting.

Cabinet aides meet today to prepare for the next meeting, set for next Tuesday.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen will present Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam with the latest nominees. In alphabetical order:

Richard M. Beary. He served more than 39 years in state and local law enforcement, including the Altamonte Springs Police Department, the Lake Mary Police Department, and the University of Central Florida, where he is now chief. Beary also was president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “He has been a national voice on community-oriented policing and served on the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, a group dedicated to develop community-involved solutions for bias-free policing,” the nomination says.

William B. Berger. He’s spent 42 years in “public service and public safety,” starting with the Miami Police Department and later as chief of police for North Miami Beach Police Department. In 2004, he was named as the chief of police for Palm Bay Police Department, “where he continued to create and implement new programs and use technology to enhance policing.” Berger is now U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Florida.

James T. Moore. He began his career with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 1973, and was named FDLE Commissioner in 1988 by Gov. Bob Martinez and the Florida Cabinet. Moore then served under Govs. Lawton Chiles, Buddy MacKay (in office after Chiles’ death for less than a month) and Jeb Bush until his retirement in 2003. His focus included “involv(ing) the public in the recovery of missing children and the identification of sexual offenders and predators.” After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 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,” his nomination says.

Neil J. Perry. He began his career as a reserve patrol officer with the St. Augustine Police Department in 1968, then was a deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in 1974 before being sheriff in 1984. Perry was re-elected five more terms until his retirement on Dec. 31, 2004. Perry was 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,” the nomination reads. He died in 2012.

J.M. “Buddy” Phillips. He served 45 years in law enforcement in Florida, starting as a deputy sheriff with Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office in 1963. Phillips was elected sheriff there in 1968, later joining FDLE, where he became director of mutual aid. He became executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Association in 1988, retiring in 2002. “Due in part to his ability to bring stability to an agency, he was appointed by two different governors to serve as sheriff in several counties between 1983 and 2004 and was the only person to serve as sheriff in seven different Florida counties,” his nomination says. Phillips died in 2008.

Current Hall of Fame members are Willis D. Booth, who served more than 40 years in law enforcement, including the Clearwater Police Department and FDLE; Larry Campbell, a 53-year law enforcement veteran who died in office in 2014 as Leon County Sheriff; Thomas D. Hurlburt Jr., an Orlando Police Department chief, Orange County’s director of public safety, and U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Florida before retiring in 2011; James F. Medley, who served more than 35 years with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and was the longest continuously certified deputy sheriff in Pasco County history; and Leonidas George Mavro Thalassites, who served on the Metro-Dade Police Department, Hialeah Police Department and Tampa Police Department, and is the oldest-serving law enforcement officer in America, according to the International Police Association.

The Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame, created by the Legislature in 2014, “recognizes and honors law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of Florida’s citizens and visitors through their works, service and exemplary accomplishments,” its website says.

Nominations were accepted from the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Police Benevolent Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the State Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association.

Members’ photos hang on a wall in the Capitol’s plaza level rotunda.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at

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