TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville Sheriff Nathaniel “Nat” Glover was inducted on Saturday into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame.
“I thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for this designation, and the effort has been put into it,” Glover told the crowd. “And having been a sheriff, and having been a college president, education and law enforcement I know how important each is. So, and I think when you look at the state of Florida, you got some of the best law enforcement in this country. Thank you.”
Glover, 78, a law enforcement veteran with decades of experience, rose through the ranks of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and was elected in 1995 as Florida’s first Black sheriff since the Reconstruction era.
He held that office until 2003 and went on to become president of Edward Waters College.
Glover told News4Jax and those in attendance in Tallahassee on Saturday a little run-in with the law when he was growing up in Jacksonville shaped his future as a cop.
“I think it was a significant incident and when you look at my total life it played an important part,” Glover said. “I was arrested after leaving Morrison’s Cafeteria with two napkins in my pocket. Of course, I tried to tell the police officers that we used them as handkerchiefs. They, of course, had other objectives and I ended up in jail.”
Glover thought that arrest caused the JSO to not answer when he applied to be an officer. His brother asked a JSO officer he knew to help. That officer got in touch with the mayor at the time -- Lou Ritter -- who took Glover to the Civil Service Administration and insisted that he be given the test to become a cop.
Glover was one of five 2021 inductees honored during the ceremony.
And most people who are inducted into the Hall of Fame have retired, not Glover.
“As you know it’s hard (for me) to retire because there’s always something else to do,” he said. “And I’ll always be in public service. Which is what I always wanted to do anyway.”
FLDE Commissioner Rick Swearingen presided over the ceremony, which was held at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Capitol Courtyard in Tallahassee. Glover, who thanked his wife for encouraging him to run for sheriff, said it’s a very special honor.
Glover used the stage Saturday to comment on the current state of policing.
“Now you all know, law enforcement is under low scrutiny now. But I’ll tell you this. We got to get through this. We will get through this. We been here before. We met the challenges,” he said. “We met the challenges of minority officers. We met the challenges of bringing females into law enforcement. We met the challenge of profiling, and each time we went through those challenges in law enforcement, we came out better as a profession. And this time, might be a little painful, but we’re going to come out of it. And we’re going to be better.”
Formed in 2014 by the Florida Legislature, the state Law Enforcement Hall of Fame recognizes officers who have distinguished themselves in their careers and the line of duty.