Thursday, January 26, 2017

More Hagiography and Idolatry Published Today on the Late Ex-Sheriff, NEIL PERRY

NEIL PERRY was under FBI investigation when he declined to run for re-election. That does not prevent MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS' St. Augustine Record from running malarkey and hagiography, or what Abe Lincoln might have called "idolatry that practices human sacrifice." Notice how this story was on page one of the print edition, leaving the puff piece on the Sgt. GOBER embezzlement to page three? No accident -- Sheriff SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR" cleverly timed the two press releases for the same day, like a hillbilly Nixon from Western Massachusetts.

Posted January 26, 2017 12:02 am - Updated January 26, 2017 04:38 am
Perry headed for induction into state law enforcement hall of fame

Record File Photo Sheriff Neil Perry stands in a cell block of the jail on Dec. 30, 2004. During his tenure, Perry saw the construction of the 131-bed jail in 1986 and its expansion to the 756-inmate capacity it is today. Perry will be inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame. Former St. Johns County Sheriff Neil Perry talks with current Sheriff David Shoar at a ceremony honoring slain beach marshal Ron Parker in January of 2012.
One of the most recognizable names in St. Johns County law enforcement will be added to the ranks of the state’s top names later this year.

Former St. Johns County Sheriff Neil Perry was among those recently announced as this year’s inductees into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame.

His name, and four others from his class, will join the five from the Hall’s 2016 inaugural inductees on a plaque in the state’s Capitol Building. The induction ceremony is scheduled for May.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Sheriff David Shoar, who nominated Perry for the honor, said that it is only fitting that the man whose name graces the Sheriff’s Office complex on Lewis Speedway, should also have it on the Hall’s plaque honoring the state’s top law enforcement officers.

Perry, who spent 20 of his 36 years in law enforcement as sheriff, died in 2012 at age 67.

“Neil was a visionary,” Shoar said, echoing many of the things that have been said about Perry since he left office in 2004. Most notable among those is that he modernized the local agency, taking it from one that served an agricultural or rural county to a more “metro­politan based agency,” Shoar said.

He listed off a number of items Perry accomplished while in office including the creation of the agency’s SWAT team and hostage negotiation team as well as getting the department accredited with the national Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies — a first in Northeast Florida, according to Shoar.

“That’s why we have on our cars to this day, ‘First on the First Coast,’” he said.

“Everything that we are, Neil created,” Shoar said of the department that he has run since Perry left office.

“I always tell people that Neil built this house that we call the Sheriff’s Office, and I just got to rearrange some of the furniture it,” he said. “He truly built the agency in every sense of the word.”

But Perry’s contributions to law enforcement reverberated around the state too, his successor said. Those included being instrumental in the formation of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute — which became an “educational component for law enforcement,” according to Shoar — as well as holding leadership positions in the Florida’s Sheriffs Association and Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. He was also involved in setting up the state’s accreditation agency.

“That really opened up accreditation to a lot of the smaller agencies that couldn’t afford the national accreditation,” Shoar said.

That history, coupled with a 39-year career in the National Guard, made it an easy decision for him to submit Perry’s name for consideration, Shoar said, adding that it was just as much of a pleasure to call Perry’s widow, Syd Perry, and tell her about the honor.

“It made my day when I got to make that call yesterday,” he said.

“Our family is very honored that Neil is being recognized for his selfless dedication to his county, his state and his country,” Syd Perry said in a Sheriff’s Office news release on Wednesday. “We are also very proud of his love and commitment to the law enforcement community.”

She told The Record later in the day that, while her husband would certainly be honored, it was always his honor, while living, to have had the job in the first place.

“He spent a lifetime protecting and serving,” she said. “And he was honored to do that.”

“He would be very appreciative,” she added of the coming induction. “But he would attribute it to everyone involved in law enforcement. He was always very humble and gave everyone around him credit for his achievements.”

Two of his children became law enforcement officers, including his daughter, Michele Perry, who recently retired from the St. Augustine Police Department after becoming the first woman there to achieve the rank of commander.

On Wednesday, Michele Perry credited her dad’s example with leading her to her own career. She echoed her mother’s sentiments as to how appreciative her dad would have been.

“I wish he could have been here to see it,” she said.

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