A white male dressed in a Class-A Deputy Sheriff Uniform standing in front of an American FlagTALLAHASSEE, FLA— A Lieutenant from Walton County Sheriff’s Office graduates from a prestigious leadership school.

On Friday, Lieutenant Ben Dowdy was one of 36 to graduate from Florida Sheriffs Association’s (FSA) Commanders Academy Class 14.

The Commanders Academy is an exceptionally informative and educational experience vital for the next generation of public safety leaders. The Commanders Academy has become recognized as the premier course of executive study for mid to upper-level criminal justice leaders from around the state of Florida.

The core curriculum focuses on leadership, ethics, discipline, and additional subject matter areas related to upper-level leadership in law enforcement. The remaining curriculum is adjusted according to emerging trends and issues that impact our sheriffs and recent high-profile events.

Each topic is threaded with issues that are unique to the culture of the Office of Sheriff. Throughout the two-week course, the class hears from more than 50 presenters and panelists, many of whom are sheriffs.

“In recognizing the achievements of the 2024 Commanders Academy graduates, we applaud their dedication to excellence and their commitment to serving with integrity and valor,” said FSA President and Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper. “Through highly specialized training and a determination to excel, these 36 commanders have honed their leadership skills, fortified their problem-solving abilities, and embraced the highest standards of ethical conduct.”

In addition to completing the training course, Commanders Academy Class 14 also raised more than $29,500 for the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches. This generous donation will help support the mission of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches in preventing delinquency and developing lawful, resilient, and productive members of our communities.