Robert Spottswood (left) accepts a plaque honoring his father, former Monroe County Sheriff John M. Spottswood, from Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Richard Swearingen (right) Saturday. John M. Spottswood was inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame. 

Former Monroe County Sheriff John M. Spottswood inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame

Sheriff Rick Ramsay represented Monroe County this past weekend as former Sheriff John M. Spottswood was honored by statewide law enforcement.

“Sheriff Spottswood served this community in so many ways that it’s difficult to know where to start,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “I do know it’s an honor to represent the citizens of Monroe County in honoring Sheriff Spottswood. His dedication to this community will never be forgotten.”

John M. Spottswood was born in Key West in 1920. Prior to entering the law enforcement profession, he served his country in the U.S. Army with the rank of captain during World War II.

He was elected sheriff of Monroe County in 1952, and was involved in numerous efforts with the Florida Sheriffs Association. One of these was the establishment of the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch in Suwanee County, for which he served as chair in the 1950s. Spottswood was named the Association’s president in 1957, served as its legislative chair in 1961, and was also on the Sheriffs Star editorial board throughout the 1950s and ‘60s.

One of his many notable accomplishments while sheriff was his proposal for Florida’s first ever statewide law enforcement standards, which even included standardizing the design of sheriff’s office uniforms and colors throughout the state. When Hurricane Donna struck in 1960, Sheriff Spottswood provided the leadership necessary to guide his shaken community through the disaster on the path toward recovery. His engagement in the community extended beyond law enforcement, however; he was also a fierce civil rights advocate, served as the head of civil defense, and for ten years he was the assistant fire chief for Key West.

In 1963, he was elected to the Florida Senate, and went on to serve for four terms. Spottswood passed away in 1975, leaving behind an incredible legacy of historic accomplishments visible to this day.

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 Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Cabinet.

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.