published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Benton elected head of Sheriff's Association
TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) has its first female president -- ever -- and it's a familiar face.
Tuesday, Highlands County Sheriff Susan Benton was named president of the FSA, one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the country.
She is the first woman to hold this post.
Being the first, however, is not new to her. In 2004 she was elected sheriff, the first woman in Florida elected in her own right. While a few women had served as sheriff before, they were widows serving following the deaths of their husbands in office.
Benton was re-elected in 2008 and is currently running for a third term in office.
As president of the FSA, Benton will be responsible for working with the organization's staff and board of directors to guide the efforts and direction of the 118 year old non-profit organization and its 67 sheriffs, according to a FSA press release.
Benton has served as chair for the FSA Board of Directors, in addition to holding the positions of treasurer, secretary and most recently, vice-president.
"Sheriff Benton was selected for this position because of her extensive experience in various roles within law enforcement." said FSA Executive Director Steve Casey. "She brings nearly 40 years of experience, a highly successful tenure as a leader as well as multiple honors and awards."
"A fifth generation Floridian, Benton was born and raised in Miami-Dade County. She followed in the footsteps of her great grandfather who served as Chief of Police in St. Augustine during the early 1920s. She has served shoulder-to-shoulder with her fellow deputies, rising through the ranks by gaining the respect and trust of her colleagues, superiors, agency members, and community.
"Benton holds multiple degrees from various colleges and universities including a B.A. in Administration of Justice from St. Thomas University and a Masters in Public Administration from Troy State University," the FSA press release said.
Benton will take over presidential duties previously held by Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson. Benton was out of town attending a conference of the FSA and was unavailable for comment before press time on Tuesday.
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