Florida’s second annual induction ceremony to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame took place inside Florida’s Capitol Saturday. Together with four other honorees, FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen presented an induction commendation to former St. Johns County Sheriff, the late Neil Joseph Perry; accepted by his wife Syd, son Keith, daughter Michele and Melissa Perry May.
A Selection Committee considered all nominations and forwarded their recommendations to the Florida Cabinet for approval. Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s Cabinet approved five current and former law enforcement officers recognized during the ceremony.
“Our family is very honored that Neil is being recognized for his selfless dedication to his county, his state and his country,” Syd Perry said. “We are also very proud of his love and commitment to the law enforcement community.”
Perry began his career as a reserve patrol officer with the St. Augustine Police Department in 1968 and later a member of the St Johns County Sheriff’s Auxiliary. In 1974 he completed his law enforcement certification, and, along with other Auxiliary deputies, organized the county’s first fully certified Sheriff’s Reserve.
Perry 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.
The inductees were nominated by the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Police Benevolent Association, Fraternal Order of Police and the State Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association.