Sheriff Campbell Marks 50 Years in Law Enforcement

UPDATE 1-5-2011 by Julie Montanaro

Larry Campbell has been wearing a badge for 50 years. The longest serving law officer in Florida. These eyes have seen plenty of mayhem and murder ... but back in January 1961 ... it was this fresh-faced Leon High grad who reported for duty ... working overnights at the jail.

"They said, you know, what do you want to be and I said, I'm a cop."

Campbell has worked for LCSO, FDLE, graduated from the FBI Academy at the top of his class, been past president of the Florida Sheriff's Association, and forged a reputation as an astute interrogator with a sharp tongue and a fast wit.

Campbell says, "I can sit there and cut the fool with you and have a big time and then put you in jail a few minutes later and I have certainly done that. I like people to know that we're your friend. At the same time, I want the bad guys to know, I'll kill you."

Campbell has seen the emergence of pot, heroin, crack, and meth, presided over the evolution of billy clubs, pepper spray and stun guns, he's worked in three different Leon County jails, and worked a seemingly endless list of kidnappings, robberies and murders.

"That's one of the most horrible cases ever,"

The 1967 murders of two teens at Blue Sink and the 1966 killing of the Sims Family haunt him still ...

"We never have been able to clear it."

Campbell has defeated opponent after opponent on the campaign trail, including a recent battle with lung cancer. He's been re-elected four times and will decide in March if he plans to run again.

"Do you think you've made a difference?" - Reporter

"I hope that I have. I hope that a lot of people find out, you don't have to be a stuffed shirt to be an elected official."

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Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell is marking a milestone in his career that few of us ever reach.

Today (1-5) is his 50th anniversary in law enforcement.

Larry Campbell has been solving crimes and locking people up for 50 years. He's also given his name and his time to a long list of community organizations and compassionate causes.

Larry Campbell has been wearing a badge since January 5, 1961 when he worked overnights at the jail ... which was on Gaines Street then.

This is his very first id card issued by the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

He would rise to become head of detectives, become FDLE's first undercover drug agent, and ultimately become a four-term sheriff who still jokes about why he chose law enforcement over his first love ... dentistry.

"I was looking for something that was interesting because of what I was doing at the sheriff's office already. That seemed to be pretty interesting and I started studying it. I didn't have to study it very much and then there was abnormal psychology. I didn't have to study it at all. It just kind of was there, I think, you know, I are one," Campbell said with a laugh.

About 500 law enforcement officers, family and friends from across the state are converging on Tallahassee tonight to honor Campbell.

We'll be live at Tallahassee's Antique Car Museum later tonight to share in the memories.

We want to point out that tonight's celebration is a roast and if you know Larry Campbell, that's just as he'd like it.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by honest cop Location: echols on Jan 6, 2011 at 01:18 PM
    they should name the 80 million dollar courthouse after him.
  • by Haters Location: Locally on Jan 6, 2011 at 11:52 AM
    Why post all of these derogatory remarks? As with anything there is good and bad. I too live on the Southside and have had to call LCSO on numerous occasions. For the majority of any needs we had they met or exceeded. If some idiot or jerk came out all I did was call back and report the fool. I know I can count on them and am appreciative for all their services including Larry Campbell. A negative issue is people call for frivalous claims and expect the police to run to every beck and call thats a waste because just like the lil boy who cried wolf after a while you will go on the back burner. If cleaning up your community means that much to you start a watch group or gather evidence your self. Thats what we did. I say take pride in local officials if you don't like them vote and get involved. You want someone to bring down a hammer but when they come in and start bustin ur chops u will sing a different tune. Nasty? LIAR? I hardly doubt it... Everyones got bones but that?? Exaggerated..
  • by Cindy Location: Tallahassee on Jan 6, 2011 at 11:13 AM
    Congratulations Sheriff Campbell on 50 years of dedicated service. 50 years of service in law enforcement takes a very special person. Thank you for your hard work and may God bless you no matter what your future holds.
  • by Serena Location: Tallahassee on Jan 6, 2011 at 09:49 AM
    His still being around is NOT a good thing for Leon Co. But you people keep electing him....
  • by Anonymous on Jan 6, 2011 at 05:10 AM
    his time to leave is long past. Please mr. cambell, please retire.
  • by shadow on Jan 6, 2011 at 04:22 AM
    Yawn! Gotta find us some new blood in Leon and Wakulla. The nostalgia thing is not what people want to hear. Where is progressive law enforcement in either of these counties? Maybe Governor Scott needs to look out the window and see what is going on between these two agencies and realize what is going on right under his nose. If you want to "get to work" start with Wakulla and Leon County law enforcement and prosecution. The guy before you chose not to do anything and look where he is today.
  • by tina Location: ga on Jan 5, 2011 at 06:28 PM
    i live in georgia. but i see him on the news onse and a while.i just dont get it. but i cant understand why alot of people get elected over and over.
  • by Truthfully?? on Jan 5, 2011 at 06:16 PM
    He did not see the emergence of pot or cocaine. George Washington saw both...personally.
  • by Larry Who? Location: Tallahassee on Jan 5, 2011 at 05:26 PM
    My friends at LCSO like him only because he walks the halls and calls everyone by their first name, making them feel good like he cares. Typical politician. Makes you feel good but does little else. They say he is only in his office for about 20 hours a week so not a bad deal for him. Campbell won’t release his budget to the county commission so he can employ, and pay, his friends. Has numerous lieutenants on salary who do appear for work at all, paid friends. Employees can’t speak out as he will reassign them or fire them as they have no union. Most real cops there hate it as too many supervisors who have no ability and paid friends of Larry and they dictate course of investigation. They hate this as they solve few crimes and are at lowest rank in state which is because everything they do has to run through numerous layers of idiots to proceed forward.
  • by Please Leave Office Location: Tallahassee on Jan 5, 2011 at 05:12 PM
    What a thoroughly embarrassing buffoon this guy is. Typical civil non-serving the public employee Larry is? Just stay in power as long as you can. As embarrassing as Willie Meggs is and Harvey in Wakulla. At least they will be out of office soon and we can join the rest of the forward thinking world or state.
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