Dozens gathered in the Capitol Courtyard on Saturday to welcome 10 law enforcement officers into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame.
Among the inductees included Nathaniel Glover, Florida’s first Black sheriff since the Reconstruction Era, and Donna Uzzell, the state’s first female hall of fame inductee.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen presided over the ceremony.
“These 10 honorees sitting before you have more than 380 years of law enforcement service …” Swearingen told attendees. “They were visionaries. They were champions. And that’s why we’re honoring them today.”
The Legislature created the Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame in 2014 to recognize the police community’s “exemplary accomplishments” within the state.
To be inducted, nominees are first nominated by multiple law enforcement groups and are then selected by a committee. After that, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet review the nominees and make a final determination.
“While some want to ‘defund the police’ in other parts of the country, in Florida, we unapologetically support our law enforcement community,” DeSantis said in a statement.
Glover’s accomplishments, among others, include serving as Jacksonville’s first hostage negotiator. Duval County voters elected Glover as Sheriff of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in 1995.
As Jacksonville’s Top Cop, Glover emphasized community policing, banned chokeholds and displayed officer’s names on patrol cars.
Speaking to attendees, Glover noted the criticism and microscope law enforcement today is operating under.
“We’ve been here before and we’ve met the challenges …” Glover said. “And each time we through those challenges in law enforcement, we came out better as a profession.”
Uzzell began her law enforcement career in 1981 with the Tallahassee Police Department. She later became the Director of FDLE’s Criminal Justice Information Services.
During her 17 years at FDLE, Uzzell helped establish the Florida AMBER Alert, Missing Child Alert and Silver Alert programs. She also helped establish the Florida sexual offender/predator and career offender registration programs.
“This career has definitely been a family affair and I appreciate my family,” Uzzell said.
In all, 30 law enforcement officers have joined the state’s hall of fame.
Other new inductees include:
— John M. Spottswood, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
— Edward M. Spooner, Quincy PD, Gadsden Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
— Sidney R. Klein, Miami-Dade Sheriff’s Department and Clearwater Police Department.
— Irving Heller, Miami-Dade and North Bay Village Police Departments.
— William “Jay” Romine, Holmes Beach Police Department
— William Liquori, Orlando and Altamonte Springs Police Departments.
— James M. Gabbard, West Palm Beach and Vero Beach Police Departments.
— Lawrence W. Crow Jr., Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
A full list of inductees can be found online.