skip to content

how we serve

Training Program

Commanders Academy

Empowering Florida's Law Enforcement Leaders

Florida is home to some of the finest and well-trained law-enforcement leaders in the country – and that doesn’t happen by accident. Through ongoing training, support, and cutting-edge research, the Florida Sheriffs Association has demonstrated a strong commitment to equipping leaders to better serve their agencies and communities through its prestigious Commanders Academy.

The first Commanders Academy class was held in 2013, but the FSA team began working on the idea of an academy for leaders within Florida’s sheriffs’ offices for years leading up to the inaugural class. Participants from across the state are trained (mostly by sheriffs and key sheriffs’ office personnel) with a carefully chosen, comprehensive curriculum. The training is held at the training center at the Florida Sheriffs Association campus in Tallahassee.

Commanders Academy sitting for a presentation

2024 Commanders Academy Class XIV

Sheriff deputies and personnel representing 36 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.

“In recognizing the achievements of the 2024 Commanders Academy graduates, we applaud their dedication to excellence and their commitment to serving with integrity and valor,” said FSA President and Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper. “Through highly specialized training and a determination to excel, these 36 commanders have honed their leadership skills, fortified their problem-solving abilities, and embraced the highest standards of ethical conduct. Armed with these formidable capabilities, they stand ready to lead with distinction.”

FSA Executive Director Steve Casey said, “The Commanders Academy stands as a beacon of excellence within Florida’s law enforcement community. Devoted to facilitating professional growth, it equips our commanders with the latest strategies and tactics necessary to navigate evolving public safety issues. By instilling the highest standards of conduct and accountability, the Academy empowers graduates to excel in their roles as leaders and protectors. Their ability to apply wisdom from seasoned experts to real-world scenarios not only elevates Florida’s sheriffs’ offices but sets a national benchmark for protection, leadership, and unity.”

In addition to successfully completing the training course, Commanders Academy Class 14 also raised more than $29,500 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.

Commander Academy Class

Congratulations to the Commanders Academy Class XIV

The Florida Sheriffs Association would like to congratulate all of the graduates of the Commanders Academy Class XIV.

  • Lieutenant Latasha Price, Bay County 
  • Lieutenant Michael Sweeney, Bradford County 
  • Captain Jason Tarala, Broward County 
  • Lieutenant Christopher Maler, Charlotte County 
  • Lieutenant Aidan Marshall, Citrus County 
  • Lieutenant James Rood, Clay County 
  • Lieutenant Jimmy Watson Columbia County 
  • Lieutenant Duane Sullivan, Dixie County 
  • Commander George Bender, Flager County 
  • Lieutenant Anthony Boyland, Gadsden County 
  • Lieutenant Gary Johnson, Glades County 
  • Lieutenant Shane Ferrell, Gulf County 
  • Lieutenant David Lewis, Hernando County 
  • Captain John Barcinas, Highlands County 
  • Captain Larry Nusser, Indian River County 
  • Assist. Chief Robert Silcox, Jacksonville  
  • Captain Mark Bonora, Lee County 
  • Chief Ronald O’Brien, Leon County 
  • Captain Andy Ramdath, Manatee County 
  • Captain Brian Peterson, Marion County 
  • Captain Joshua Kloster, Martin County 
  • Lieutenant Keira Velez, Miami-Dade County 
  • Captain Spenser Bryan, Monroe County 
  • Lieutenant Brianna Goethe, Nassau County 
  • Inspector Kyle Lowrey, Okaloosa County 
  • Captain Shannon Peterson, Okeechobee County 
  • Captain Ryan Mugridge, Palm Beach County 
  • Captain Melvin Jackson, Pinellas County 
  • Lieutenant Justin Carr, Polk County 
  • Captain Clayton Silva, Putnam County 
  • Captain Scott Jones, Santa Rosa County 
  • Chief Lisa Kiesel, Sarasota County 
  • Captain Jeremy Russell, St. Johns 
  • Captain Kurt Schoeps, Volusia County 
  • Major Eddie Wester, Wakulla County 
  • Lieutenant Benjamin Dowdy, Walton County

FSA Commanders Academy Archive

Discover previous sessions of the Commanders Academy, showcasing Florida’s finest law enforcement leaders honing their skills to serve and protect.