Former Clearwater Police Chief Willis D. Booth and former Pasco County Sheriff’s detective James F. Medley were among the five inductees Sunday in the inaugural class of Florida’s Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame.
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen presided over the ceremony held inside Florida’s Capitol in Tallahassee along Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, who sponsored a bill to create the hall of fame.
The inductees were nominated by the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Police Benevolent Association, Fraternal Order of Police and the State Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association and then were selected by a committee. The inductees were approved by Governor Rick Scott and Florida’s Cabinet.
Booth, 91, served as Clearwater’s police chief from 1957 to 1968. Medley is a current reserve investigator for Pasco County,
Born in Safety Harbor, Booth graduated from Clearwater High School in 1942 and began his career as a patrolman in 1947. Two years later, he became a sergeant. He was promoted to captain in 1953 and became chief in 1957. Booth also served as President of Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Association and as Chairman of the Training and Education Committee, according to clearwaterpolice.org.
Current Clearwater Chief Dan Slaughter was among those in attendance.
“Chief Booth is an important part of the history of the Clearwater Police Department,” Slaughter said in a news release. “It was an honor and a privilege to witness this event. The first class of inductees couldn’t have a more deserving person.”
Medley, was born in Fort Hood, Texas. He moved to Pasco County in 1975 and attended Pasco-Hernando Community College. He graduated from the police academy in 1976.
Medley served more than 35 years with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, where he investigated violent crimes including several high-profile homicides. In 2004, he was named “Detective of the Year.” His investigative work led to the capture of the Dougherty Gang following a 2011 cross-country crime spree that included attempted murder and bank robbery.
At Medley’s retirement ceremony in 2012, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said “I don’t think we’re ever going to find a guy like Jim again.”
Others inductees were former Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, former Orlando Police Chief and former U.S. Marshal Thomas D. Hurlburt Jr. and former Hialeah Police Lieutenant and current reserve officer Leonidas G. Thalassites.