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Former St. Johns County sheriff named to law enforcement hall of fame

Induction ceremony to be held May 20

Former St. Johns County Sheriff Neil J. Perry was approved Tuesday for the Florida Law Enforcement Officer's Hall of Fame
Former St. Johns County Sheriff Neil J. Perry was approved Tuesday for the Florida Law Enforcement Officer's Hall of Fame

Former St. Johns County Sheriff Neil J. Perry was among five nominees approved Tuesday for the Florida Law Enforcement Officers' Hall of Fame by Gov. Rick Scott and the state cabinet.

Perry began his law career in 1968 as an auxiliary officer in the St. Augustine Police Department and in 1974 joined 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 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 until his death in 2012.

Perry earned a bachelor's degree from Nova University and was a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the FBI Criminal Justice Executive Institute’s Chief Executive Course and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. 

Perry was chairman and past president of the Florida Sheriffs Association, chairman of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, chairman of the Commission on Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, chairman and co-founder of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute, chairman of the Northeast Florida Investigative Support Center, president of the Law Enforcement Private Security Council and co-chair of the Northeast Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force.

Perry spent 39 years in the military, retiring as a Colonel from the Army National Guard.

“Our family is very honored that Neil is being recognized for his selfless dedication to his county, his state and his country,” Perry's wife, Syd Perry said. “We are also very proud of his love and commitment to the law enforcement community.”

The Florida Law Enforcement Hall of Fame was created by the state Legislature in 2014 to honor contributions made by exceptional law enforcement professionals and is considered the most prestigious award in Florida law enforcement. 

Perry is joined this year by former FDLE Commissioner James "Tim" Moore, University of Central Florida police Chief Richard M. Beary, former North Miami Beach police Chief William B. Berger and J. M. "Buddy" Phillips, a former Suwannee County sheriff, who also served as the executive director for the Florida Sheriffs Association.

An induction ceremony will be held May 20. Hall of fame members will be honored with plaques on a wall in the first-floor plaza of the Florida State Capitol building.