The position of Sheriff came indirectly to Florida from England, when Major General Andrew Jackson introduced the office as he took over the territory from Spain, around 1821. In 1845, the first legislature of Florida enacted a law stipulating that a Sheriff would be elected every two years within every county of the state, and in Hillsborough County, the 47 eligible voters elected John Parker, a former military captain in the Seminole Indian Wars, as their first Sheriff. In the ten years following that time, the Sheriff’s Office functioned as a one-man operation. Then, as now, law enforcement was the Sheriff’s business, but he was also required to clean the courthouse, plant trees, and conduct an annual census of school-age children.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has evolved into a full service law enforcement agency comprised of more than 3,400 employees. From 1993 through 2004 the agency was commanded by Sheriff Cal Henderson, who implemented programs that prioritized values of integrity, professionalism, and community-oriented policing as hallmarks of agency operations. On January 4, 2005, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office began an era of new leadership and direction led by Sheriff David Gee.

Today, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is one of less than 20 public safety agencies in the nation to attain law enforcement, jail, and medical accreditation.

Learn more about the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Memorial