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Florida Sheriffs Association Announces the 2023 Commanders Academy Graduating Class 13

September 14, 2023

Sheriff deputies and personnel representing 34 Florida sheriffs’ offices graduated from the Florida Sheriffs Association’s (FSA) prestigious Commanders Academy. The Commanders Academy is an exceptionally informative and educational experience that is vital for the next generation of public safety leaders. The Commanders Academy has become recognized as the premier course of executive study for mid to upper-level criminal justice leaders.

The core curriculum focuses on leadership, ethics, discipline, and additional subject matter areas related to upper-level leadership in law enforcement. The remaining curriculum is adjusted according to emerging trends and issues that have an impact on our sheriffs and recent high-profile events. Each topic is threaded with issues that are unique to the culture of the Office of Sheriff. Throughout the two-week course, the class hears from more than 50 presenters and panelists, many of whom are sheriffs. No other criminal justice program in the state provides this level of executive training.

“Today we celebrate the hard-earned success of the 2023 Commanders Academy graduates. These commanders have undergone rigorous training to sharpen their leadership skills, problem-solving tactics and business ethics,” said FSA President and Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper. “Having fortified their capabilities, these leaders are now exceptionally well-prepared to set the precedent for protecting and uniting Florida’s citizens and visitors.”

FSA Executive Director Steve Casey said, “The Florida Sheriffs Association has long been committed to providing the most up-to-date training for Florida’s law enforcement officers. Ongoing training offered through the Commanders Academy helps our officers adapt to changing circumstances and ensure that they uphold the highest standard of conduct and accountability. Commanders Academy graduates apply lessons from senior experts to real-world challenges, making Florida’s sheriffs’ offices the national standard for protection, leadership, and unity.”

In addition to successfully completing the training course, Commanders Academy Class 13 also raised more than $28,000 for the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. This generous donation will help support the mission of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches in preventing delinquency and to develop lawful, resilient, and productive citizens.

  • Inspector James Williams, Bay County
  • Lieutenant Beth Griffin, Bradford County
  • Lieutenant Nikki Wagner, Charlotte County
  • Colonel Elena Vitt, Citrus County
  • Lieutenant Tom Orr, Collier County
  • Lieutenant Keith Spradley, Columbia County
  • Captain Charles Dickin, Escambia County
  • Commander Bernard Woodward, Flagler County
  • Lieutenant Frances Messer, Franklin County
  • Lieutenant Patrick Willis, Glades County
  • Lieutenant Rocky Howard, Hernando County
  • Captain William Luther, Indian River County
  • Assist. Chief Edwin Cayenne Jr., Jacksonville County
  • Lieutenant Dan Williams, Jefferson County
  • Commander Karl Albenga, Lee County
  • Lieutenant Mike Narayan, Levy County
  • Lieutenant Chad Smith, Liberty County
  • Captain Michelle Wissinger, Marion County
  • Major Peter Croft, Martin County
  • Lieutenant Joseph Zanconato, Miami-Dade County
  • Captain David Smith, Monroe County
  • Lieutenant Cedric Arline, Nassau County
  • Lieutenant Dale Carter, Okaloosa County
  • Lieutenant John Rhoden, Okeechobee County
  • Captain Daniel Gutierrez, Orange County
  • Major Wiley Black, Osceola County
  • Lieutenant Chris Mantzanas, Pinellas County
  • Deputy Director Nathan Mann, Polk County
  • Captain Brigit Leonard, Sarasota County
  • Lieutenant Robert Smith, Seminole County
  • Lieutenant Byron Harbin, St. Lucie County
  • Captain Bryan Hayden, Taylor County
  • Captain Anthony Curles, Wakulla County
  • Sergeant Joseph Green, Washington County


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About Florida Sheriffs Association:
The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of the Sheriffs of Florida, approximately 3,000 business leaders and 100,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has steadfastly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA has established and funded the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. It has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit [url=][/url].