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New Florida Hall Of Fame Inductees Include Late Local Sheriff, US Oldest Serving Officer

Leon County Sheriff's Office twitter

Former Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell is now one of five people recently inducted into the Florida’s first Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen led the Sunday ceremony. He spoke of the late Sheriff Campbell’s more than 50 years in law enforcement.

“He began his career in 1961 as a deputy with the Leon County Sheriff’s office, and then later became a deputy Sheriff,”said Swearingen. “He joined FDLE in 1971, eventually serving as the special agent in charge of the Tampa and Miami offices and later becoming the deputy director of the Division of Criminal Justice Information Systems. He won the J. Edgar Hoover award of excellence at the FBI National Academy in 1973. In 1981, he returned to the Leon County Sheriff’s office and was named Undersheriff in 1993. In 1996, he was elected Sheriff of Leon County—a post he held until his passing two years ago.”

Campbell’s family accepted the nomination on his behalf. Campbell along with four others are the first inducted into Florida’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame, due to a 2014 bill signed into law.

That also included America’s oldest serving law enforcement officer. At 90, the career of Leonidas Thalassites spans over the course of decades.

“Mr. Thalassites began his law enforcement career in 1956 with the Metro-Dade Police Department,” stated Swearingen. “In 1963, he joined the Hialeah Police Department, rising to lieutenant, until he retired in 1990. He joined the Tampa Police Department as a reservist and is currently a reserve officer with the Hialeah Police Department. He earns the distinction of being the oldest serving law enforcement officer, according to the International Police Association.”

Thalassites also joined the Marines at age 14, serving in World War II and the Korean War. He’s served in all five branches of the U.S. military as well. Two former police chiefs, Willis Booth of Clearwater and Thomas Hurlburt Jr. of Orlando, and a former Pasco County detective James Medley were also inducted, during Sunday’s inaugural ceremony.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.