Major Joe Preston serves as Director of Law Enforcement Operations. Preston was previously Emergency Management Director until December 2013 when it was officially transferred to the Walton County Board of County Commissioners. He has served more than 10 years with the Walton County Sheriff's Office. Major Preston previously served with the Clay County Sheriff's Office in Kansas City, Mo. During his tenure as the WCSO EM Director, Major Preston led the Walton County recovery response to the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. He worked with many local, state, and federal agencies to manage the disaster and instil confidence in the WCSO's ability to manage emergencies.
Prior to entering the law enforcement field, Major Preston spent 20 years in the corporate world with the Fairbanks Scale Company as director of service operations. He previously worked for the Hill-Rom Company as executive director of service operations. His experience is focused in managing large, decentralized operations on a national scale.
Major Preston is an experienced Walton County Sheriff's Office deputy, and has served as a sergeant of patrol, sergeant of traffic, and lieutenant of training. He holds various trainer/instructor certifications including: firearms instruction, defensive tactics, communications, DWI instruction, traffic crash investigation, and traffic homicide investigation. In addition, he is an adjunct instructor for the CJSTC Basic Recruit Academy at Northwest Florida State College where he teaches line supervision, middle management, traffic crash and criminal investigations, communications, and firearms courses. He is also an adjunct instructor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the Southern Police Institute.
Major Preston has also completed more than 30 courses related to EM, totalling more than 500 hours or coursework. He recently attended the Southern Police Institute in Louisville, KY for 13 weeks of intense police management training. Major Preston holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.