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Former Sheriff Ed Blackburn, Jr. was inducted into Florida's Law Enforcement Officers' Hall of Fame.
Former Hillsborough County Sheriff Robert Edward Blackburn, Jr. will be inducted into Florida's Law Enforcement Officers' Hall of Fame in Tallahassee on May 19, at 2:30 pm. FDLE Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Pritt will preside over the ceremony inside Florida’s Capitol. Sheriff Blackburn's daughter represented him.
Quickly, Sheriff Blackburn began his quest to reform Hillsborough County. He conducted gambling raids locally and in other counties, with the cooperation of other Sheriffs. In 1955, Sheriff Blackburn spearheaded the homicide investigation of the gambling kingpin, Charlie Wall. Sheriff Blackburn implemented the first marine unit in 1961. The Regional Headquarters for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Tampa was named for Ed Blackburn in 1991.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Release:
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.
Robert Blackburn began his career in 1941 as a deputy with the Florida Highway Patrol before being elected Hillsborough County Sheriff in 1952, where he served 12 years. He was a member of the Florida Sheriffs Association serving as president from 1964-1965. Blackburn successfully lobbied for legislation creating the Florida Law Enforcement Academy, established professional standards for law enforcement and standardized the sheriff’s badge and vehicles. He was instrumental in the creation of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. From 1968 to 1978, he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, where he was considered “the voice of law enforcement.” In 1979, he was appointed interim commissioner of FDLE where he showed strong leadership, even though his tenure only lasted only a few months. He died in 1997, and will be remembered as a pioneer in modern Florida law enforcement.
The Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame was created by the 2014 Florida Legislature to recognize and honor law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of Florida’s citizens and visitors through their works, service and exemplary accomplishments.