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Former St. Johns County Sheriff inducted into law enforcement hall of fame

Neil J. Perry honored Saturday

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(Florida Department of Law Enforcement)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A former St. Johns County Sheriff was inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Hall of Fame Saturday.

Neil J. Perry was one of five current and former law enforcement officers from throughout Florida honored at Florida’s second annual Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.   

Perry began his career as a reserve patrol officer with the St. Augustine Police Department in 1968 before becoming a deputy sheriff with St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in 1974.

Perry was elected St. John’s County Sheriff in 1984 and re-elected for five additional terms until his retirement on December 31, 2004. He served 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.

Perry's commitment to creating an accreditation program for Florida led to the establishment of an award named after him. In addition to his law enforcement career, he also served 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 other four inductees are:

  • Richard M. Beary, University of Central Florida Chief of Police
  • William B. Berger, former chief of police for North Miami Beach and Palm Bay Police Departments, current U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Florida
  • James T. Moore, former Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
  • J.M. “Buddy” Phillips, former Suwannee County Sheriff

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 and then were selected by a committee.  The inductees were approved by Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s Cabinet.