Our History

The History of the Florida Sheriffs Association

Founded in 1893, the Florida Sheriffs Association is one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation -- unifying Florida sheriffs in purpose and voice for the protection of Florida’s citizens and visitors. A not-for-profit corporation, FSA membership is made up of the 67 sheriffs of Florida plus 3,500 business leaders and 70,000 private citizens throughout the state who support local law enforcement.


Historical listing: Past presidents of the Florida Sheriffs Association, 1893-present

For more than 125 years, the Florida Sheriffs Association has been at the forefront of many substantial issues affecting our state. Following are a few achievements and other notable accomplishments, all of which directly affect the quality of law enforcement in each community throughout the state:

  • 1955 – FSA created the Florida Sheriffs' Bureau, forerunner to what is known today as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  • 1957 – FSA founded the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, whose mission is to prevent delinquency and develop strong, lawful, resilient and productive citizens who will make a positive contribution to our communities for years to come.
  • 1963 – FSA founded the Florida Law Enforcement Academy, the first statewide training center for city, county and state law-enforcement officers.
  • 1967 – Florida sheriffs were instrumental in the creation of the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission which establishes a training curriculum for law enforcement, corrections and correctional probation officers and serves as the certification body for officers and training centers.
  • 1978 – FSA helped create a way to provide affordable insurance programs for individual Sheriffs' Offices with the founding of the Florida Sheriffs Self-Insurance Fund. The program has saved taxpayers millions of dollars on liability claims and annual premiums.
  • 1979 – FSA helped organize the Florida Sheriffs Explorers Association to encourage young people to "explore" careers in law enforcement.
  • 1989 – FSA created the Florida Sheriffs Task Force to pool resources from the 67 sheriffs’ offices to address specific areas of concern. The first operation addressed the growing crack cocaine problem. It involved more than 1,500 law enforcement officers and resulted in 2,224 arrests. In the years since, the task force has conducted numerous operations including, Operation Sexual Predator, Operation Safe Schools, Operation Felon Sweep, and most recently, Operation Pill Drop.
  • 1993 – FSA began awarding college scholarships to eligible dependent children of full-time sheriffs’ office employees. Ten $1,000 scholarships are awarded each year to those who pursuing a degree in a criminal justice or related program.
  • 1995 – FSA pioneered accreditation in the state and was co-founder of the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation – a program that encourages law-enforcement agencies to maintain the highest standards of professional law enforcement for our communities. As vacancies are created on the commission, the FSA president is responsible for appointing their replacement.
  • 1995 – Florida sheriffs were instrumental in the creation of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute which provides executive level training for criminal justice executives through out the state.
  • 1998 – FSA helped to create the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission and has been a leader in developing "minimum standards" for law enforcement and corrections in the state and nation. FSA was the first to certify Florida Jail Inspectors under these programs and continues to offer the only Jail Inspector Certification course and certification in the state.
  • 2002 – FSA dedicated the Florida Sheriffs Law Enforcement Memorial on the grounds of the FSA headquarters in Tallahassee. The names of every Florida deputy killed in the line of duty is inscribed on the large granite wall at the center of the memorial. Each spring, a service is held at the memorial to honor those who lost their lives the previous year.
  • 2007 – FSA launched the Teen Driver Challenge to help combat the high crash and fatality rate of teen drivers. The program has rapidly expanded and is now available in nearly half of Florida’s counties.
  • 2008 – FSA helped launch the Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association as a means to provide insurance protection, legal benefits and other services to Florida deputies.
  • 2011 – The Perkins-Phillips Building was dedicated as the new official headquarters of the Florida Sheriffs Association. Named for Gary Perkins and Buddy Phillips, past executive directors who played integral roles in FSA history, it replaced the original building that was destroyed in a tragic fire in 2008.
  • 2017 – A bronze K-9 sculpture was added to the FSA Memorial to honor and memorialize all the brave K-9s killed in the line of duty. Over the years, many K-9s have been killed or injured in the line of duty, and this stunning sculpture pays tribute to them in the same inspiring fashion that the rest of the memorial honors their human counterparts.