Starting Saturday, the UCF Police Department will have a permanent place inside Florida’s State Capitol.
That’s because Chief Richard Beary has been selected for the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame. Beary is among five officers to be inducted in a ceremony at the Capitol that will start at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20.
Established by the legislature in 2014, the Hall of Fame was created to recognize and honor exemplary law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line for Florida’s citizens and visitors. Each year, inductees’ names and photos are added to a Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame plaque located inside the Capitol Building.
Chief Beary, who celebrates 10 years with UCFPD this summer, was nominated for the honor by the Florida Police Chiefs Association. Nominations to the Hall of Fame are reviewed by a selection committee and approved by the Governor and Cabinet.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized by my peers and the leadership of the State of Florida,” Chief Beary said. “My devotion to community service was instilled in me as a young man, and I hope that during my career, I have inspired others to place service above self.”
His career in law enforcement started 40 years ago, when he first followed in the footsteps of his father, Ray, the chief of Maitland and Winter Park. His older brother, Kevin, was the former Orange County Sheriff, and two of his children also work for local law enforcement agencies.
When Chief Beary graduated from the police academy at Seminole State College at age 18 in 1977, he was the youngest officer in Florida. He had completed the academy before he even finished high school, and at first he was too young to buy his own gun and bullets, so his parents had to.
After first working for the Altamonte Springs Police Department, he went on to become the police chief of Lake Mary before joining UCF as chief.
In October 2014, Chief Beary was sworn in as president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. During the next year, he traveled around the world to advocate for community-oriented policing and to consult with leaders and citizens about policies and best practices. The first university chief to ever serve as IACP president, he led the 25,000-member organization during a challenging time of civil unrest and mistrust in police.
Through it all, Chief Beary maintained his focus on community policing, a philosophy that makes citizens and law enforcement partners in preventing and reducing crime and the fear of crime. It’s a model that’s in place at UCF.
Chief Beary holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Rollins College and a master’s degree in criminal justice from UCF. A graduate of the 143rd session of the FBI National Academy, he also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Seminole State College of Florida and has been a certified law enforcement trainer since 1981.
In addition to IACP, Chief Beary is a member of several state, national and international professional organizations. He’s received numerous awards from civic and service groups, and he’s twice been awarded the Medal of Valor for Performance Undertaken at Great Personal Hazard.
In his spare time—which doesn’t come around all that often—Chief Beary enjoys spending time with his wife, children and grandson and riding his Harley-Davidson.