Sheriff's captain retires 37 years
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“Uzi Does It”
Since: Nov 08
#1 Apr 4, 2010
Is it that there's so many corrupt cops out there that when an cop actually makes it to retirement after an unsullied career, it makes the news?
#2 Apr 5, 2010
TAVARES -- Capt. Leroy Oliver retired Wednesday after 37 years in law enforcement, but clearly remembers the role of blacks deputies in the Lake County Sheriff's Office when he entered law enforcement in 1973.
That was about a year after Willis Virgil McCall had just served seven consecutive terms as Lake sheriff before narrowly losing his re-election bid. That same year, McCall was indicted by a grand jury on charges of beating and kicking to death a black prisoner.
Oliver said that McCall's reputation for being rough with minorities had placed a blemish on the sheriff's office, leading him instead to join the Leesburg Police Department in 1973 for his first law enforcement job -- becoming the first black officer in that department.
"Black deputies only patrolled black neighborhoods then," said the 59-year-old Oliver, who added as a Leesburg police officer he could patrol the entire city.
Oliver later joined the Mount Dora Police Department before coming to the Lake sheriff's office in 1983, where at the time he was one of two black deputies. But by then, there were no restrictions on where blacks could patrol. Since then, Oliver has run through a number of positions, including the first black pilot and first black on the sheriff's command staff.
Oliver credits current Sheriff Gary Borders with continuing to move the department forward; Borders promoted the department's first Hispanic deputy to captain and female deputy on the law enforcement side to lieutenant.
"It's very professional now," said Oliver of the department. "The tide has changed."
The father hopped out and stood at the rear of the vehicle with the officer and had his son hit the brakes -- and the lights came on.
The officer just jumped in his squad car and left.
At that point, Oliver said he knew he was going to be in law enforcement.
"I knew you didn't have to carry on in that manner to carry out your job," said Oliver, who has fired his weapon only once in his career.
He credits his mother's prayers with sustaining him in law enforcement. In fact, during a retirement party on Tuesday, he presented bouquets of flowers to sheriff's staff who he held weekly prayer circles with.
"Who says law enforcement and religion don't mix," said Bob Whitworth, a chaplain with the sheriff's office, praising Oliver during the party.
In a count from last year in the sheriff's office's division of law enforcement and corrections, there were 514 officers -- 444 whites, 36 blacks, 26 Hispanics and three who identified their race as "other."
In an earlier interview, Oliver said during his attempts to help the department recruit, he's discovered that blacks have not been knocking down the door to get hired at the sheriff's office. He said many blacks who are interested in joining law enforcement seek jobs with city police departments because they usually pay higher.
"I wouldn't say it's discrimination, just a lack of interest among blacks," Oliver said.
At least one deputy at the retirement party credited Oliver for giving him inspiration to join law enforcement, Chief Deputy Peyton C. Grinnell. He said as a student at Leesburg High, Oliver would regularly come to the school's football and basketball games.
"He definitely got me into it," Grinnell said.
Borders also spoke highly of Oliver at the retirement party, which appear to have about 200 law enforcement officers, including those outside the sheriff's office
"He's been a example for officers to follow," Borders said.
Oliver plans to spend his retirement traveling, including to Panama and Africa.
#3 Apr 5, 2010
Let me get this straight now, Oliver said he entered law enforcement in 1973 and because Sheriff McCall's reputation had placed a blemish on the Sheriff's Office he decided not to go there and instead went to the Leesburg Police Department. The records say McCall was indicted in June 1972 something about the death of a prisoner in his custody. He was suspended at this time and a temporary Sheriff was appointed. McCall was found not guilty of any crimes in September 1972 but apparently never reinstated to office even though he was found not guilty. McCall was defeated by Guy Bliss in November 1972.
All of this occurred before Mr Oliver went into law enforcement and had no bearing whatsoever on his law enforcement career. In 1973 under Sheriff Bliss' command he had at least two black deputies, Randolph Ward and Earl Gooden. They were under no control as to who they policed or what area they policed in. Mr. Oliver would have been afforded the same opportunity as these gentlemen were. The situation with Mr. Oliver was simply, he was afraid of what his fellow blacks would think of what they considered a turn coat in their race. This is the same reason for his remarks about the lack of interest among blacks in law enforcement in general. Captain Oliver was afforded a sweet deal in exchange for all the good words of the great acheievements made By Sheriff Borders, he was allowed to keep the black Tahoe he drove along with the sheriff's gas credit card for his personal use. In exchange the sheriff wants him to escort a black funeral every now and then. It seems the public perception of the Lake Sheriff's Office towards blacks and hispanics has become priority number one. I wonder if Captain Oliver will take the county's Tahoe traveling to Panama and Africa on vacation? It is such a shame people can't just tell the truth. I guess the truth just isn't rosie enough. I wonder how these people feel when they know their entire careers have been placated by their race? Everyone likes Leroy, its not about Leroy. It is about people like Borders using people like Leroy to say "hey, look at me and how great I am." When everyone knows that to be the biggest lie in Lake County.
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