Former Sheriff Perry laid to rest

Published On: Jun 28 2012 03:36:58 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 28 2012 03:55:55 PM EDT

More than a thousand people turned out Thursday to pay their last respects to former St. Johns County Sheriff Neil Perry, who died last week at the age of 67.

Services were held Thursday morning at the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Following the service, a procession filled with members of law enforcement led the way to the St. Augustine Memorial Park.

Perry joined the Sheriff's Office in 1974 and spent 20 years as sheriff before retiring in 2004.

The county's Criminal Justice Complex is being renamed in Perry's honor.

Perry was born in St. Augustine on May 19, 1945, and dedicated his life to his family and community. He began his law enforcement career as an auxiliary officer with the St. Augustine Police Department in 1968, and in 1974 became a member of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Perry served as a patrol deputy and detective until 1984, when he was elected sheriff of St. Johns County. He was subsequently re-elected four times, serving a total of five terms as sheriff, retiring in 2004. He remained a part of the SJSO family as a reserve deputy even after his retirement.