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Sheriff Larry Campbell Honored by Local Law Enforcement Group

May 04, 2015

For a change from the negative news about law enforcement that is a buzz these days, The Committee of Ninety-Nine of Tallahassee/Leon County, Inc., or Committee of 99 as the group is called, held its 34th annual Law Enforcement Officer of the Year/Installation Banquet on Wednesday evening, April 22, 2015 at the Ballroom of the University Center Club at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. 

The Committee of Ninety –Nine of Tallahassee/Leon County, Inc. was organized in 1981 to address the challenging times of the 1980’s when again the atmosphere toward law enforcement officers was very negative. The organization was started by local Tallahassee business leaders from all areas of business and commerce and was to demonstrate to the local city and county law enforcement that the community was solidly behind its law enforcement officers. Patterned somewhat after the “200 club of Miami”, the group wanted 99 members to pay dues and to be prepared to address community issues surrounding law enforcement and to step up to help the family of a law enforcement officer who might be killed in the line of duty.

Both the Leon County Sheriff Mike Woods and the City of Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo were present along with a cadre of past Officer of the Year award winners, nominees for the 2015 award, and business leaders and members from around Tallahassee.  The Committee presents 4 major awards during the night; First the John A. “Jack:” Madigan award was presented by Terry Madigan, former Committee of 99 President, to two outstanding citizens for their involvement in solving active criminal incidents, one in which a homeless man assisted a TPD officer by following and helping apprehend a suspect after the 2nd suspect fled the scene of a high-speed chase. The second went to a local citizen who observed a stabbing in the street and contacted police who were able to apprehend the suspect and assist the victim.

The next award, the Ernest Ponce de Leon Award, named after a TPD officer who was killed in a shoot-out in the 1980’s,  went to a young man whose little brother was fatally attacked by a family member; the young man called his father and ran outside and waited until aid arrived to prevent any further bloodshed. He was recognized for his bravery and cool-headed action.

The Outstanding Career Service Award which normally goes to an officer who has demonstrated a career of involvement, leadership and outstanding service to the community had 2 nominees; The late Sheriff Larry Campbell who had over 50 years of exemplary service in law enforcement as his career grew and TPD officer Doug Clark who again demonstrated years of dedication to law enforcement as he rose through the ranks. The Committee of 99 elected to name the award in honor of Sheriff Campbell calling it “The Committee of 99/Sheriff Larry Campbell Outstanding Career Service Award”; Sheriff Campbell’s son Jack Campbell, a local member of the State’s Attorney’s office and widow Machelle Campbell then presented the actual award to TPD Officer Doug Clark for his career work, in a standing ovation.

The closing presentation normally goes to a law enforcement officer who during the previous 12 months, performed some outstanding service or act of bravery in the community. This year, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Tallahassee Police Department jointly nominated the 4 officers who had actively been involved in a disturbing and potentially disastrous event which claimed the life of a Leon County Sheriff’s Deputy, Chris Smith. Deputy Smith was first on the scene of a house fire set by an individual who wanted to kill first responders; Deputy Smith was killed upon arrival and was then followed to the scene by Deputy Colin Wulfeukul, TPD officers Scott Angulo who was off duty at his home on the same street but heard the shots fired, and TPD officer Mark Lewis who was responding to the call of shots fired. Together they prevented Tallahassee firefighters and others on the street from injury from the shooting, and TPD officer Scott Angulo was able to take down the shooter and end the confrontation. The Committee of 99 awarded the Law Enforcement Officer(s) of the Year to all three surviving deputy/officers and posthumously to the deceased deputy Smith.

It was a very emotional evening presided over by out-going Committee of 99 President Skip Smith and incoming President Fred Dunphy who will oversee the continuing support of law enforcement by The Committee of 99.