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What You Missed at the Florida Sheriffs Association 2023 Summer Conference

August 31, 2023

Every year, the Florida Sheriffs Association is the host of two highly attended sheriffs’ conferences. Most recently, the Sheriffs 2023 Summer Conference was held July 23-26 at the JW Marriot in Tampa, with Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister and his team serving as hosts.

The conference is attended by sheriffs throughout the state each year, plus staff, sheriffs’ office personnel, law enforcement agency officials, sponsors, partners, exhibitors, elected officials and guests. The weekend is packed with opportunities for continuing education, association news, important law enforcement updates and networking.

If you were unable to attend this year’s event, here’s a quick recap of what you missed at the 2023 Summer Conference.


Education and Training

Sheriffs at this year’s summer conference received valuable education and training. Highlights included legal updates with FSA general counsel, Wayne Evans, a status update on the Florida Gaming Control and training from the Florida Sheriff Risk Management Fund. In addition, Mickey Osterreicher Esq., general counsel of the National Press Photographer Association, gave a talk, titled: Balancing the First Amendment Right with Operational Challenges of Law Enforcement. Attendees also had the opportunity to attend the Sheriff Innovation Panel Discussion, which provided meaningful insight.

The following leaders also spoke on topics pertinent to sheriffs’ offices today:

  • Sheriff Mark Dannels, Cochise County, AZ
  • Secretary of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Eric Hall  
  • Secretary of Corrections Ricky Dixon  
  • FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass  

Attendees also received legislative updates from FSA Legislative Chair and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. House Speaker Paul Renner, Representative Chuck Brannan, and Representative Juan Fernandez-Barquin were presented the FSA Legislative Champion award for their dedicated work towards public safety.


Important Updates

Another important aspect of the annual conference is the opportunity to receive relevant information from state agencies with which Florida sheriffs often collaborate. This year, attendees heard updates from Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, U.S. Senator Rick Scott and Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson. In addition, Dave Kerner, Executive Director of the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, was the keynote speaker for Tuesday’s lunch, and Attorney General Ashley Moody was the keynote speaker for the Awards Banquet.


Awards and Recognition

The Awards Banquet offers some of the most touching moments of the conference. Each year, awards are presented to individuals deemed to have gone above and beyond in the field. The 2023 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year was Jackson County Investigator Colt Howell after engaging in a shoot-out, disarming a dangerous individual, and administering aid to a wounded fellow officer in a high-stress situation. The 2023 Civilian of the Year was Seminole County Crime Analyst Sean Ryan, after his actions to gather intelligence resulted in tremendous strides to curb gang activity.

In addition to these distinguished awards, new FSA President Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper was sworn in along with the rest of the 2023-2024 board of directors.

Finally, the FSA presented the President’s Award to State Farm and Simply Healthcare for their generous grants. The State Farm grant goes toward the Teen Drive Challenge and Simply Healthcare grant supports the CIT Training program.


Sponsors and Services

Those who attended this summer conference also had the opportunity to meet with vendors and FSA partners. These vendors provide vital products and services to law enforcement across the state. This year’s Premier Diamond Annual Partners were the Florida Sheriffs Employee Benefits Trust and the Florida Sheriffs Risk Management Fund. We are grateful for their ongoing support.


Stay Connected with the FSA

Each year, the Sheriffs Summer Conference brings together Florida’s best in the field of law enforcement to participate in networking, training, and planning. It is a valuable time to reflect on the values and goals of the association, and to recognize those who unite in purpose and voice for the protection of Florida’s citizens and visitors.  

If you are interested in more information regarding FSA’s summer or winter sheriffs’ conferences, please visit this page to sign up for alerts when information becomes available. In the meantime, you can also subscribe to our free weekly e-Newsletter to learn about other upcoming FSA events.