Meet the sheriff

Sheriff Walt McNeil

Walter A. McNeil was elected Sheriff of Leon County in November 2016. In his distinguished 40-year career as a public servant, Sheriff McNeil has led the fight against crime in Tallahassee, has been tapped to lead two state agencies under former Gov. Charlie Crist, and has advised the Obama White House, and other governments around the globe, on law enforcement strategies and tactics.

For 10 years at the helm of the Tallahassee Police Department, then Chief McNeil was recognized for his progressive voice and his effective response to citizen concerns. His community policing efforts to control gangs, drugs and juvenile crime earned him numerous honors, including the Tallahassee NAACP Humanitarian Award, Public Sector Business Person of the Year and the United States DEA Award.

At the same time, he's been a good neighbor - giving his time and talents to organizations that make a difference in our lives. He has chaired the Heart Walk for the county chapter of the American Heart Association, been honorary co-chair of Leon's March of Dimes Walk America campaign, and served on the boards of the local Boys and Girls Town, Chamber of Commerce and Refuge House. The Sheriff and his family are active members of New Mount Zion AME Church.

Far beyond Tallahassee, Sheriff McNeil's experience has been highly sought after by state, national and international leaders. While at the helm of two departments, he produced a record of reform in state government that achieved measurable results. During his three years as Corrections Secretary, for example, he put in place Florida's first prison reentry programs – reducing the inmate recidivism rate by nearly 5%.

A graduate of the FBI National Academy, Sheriff McNeil has been a key adviser to the Obama Administration on homeland security and police morale. In 2012 he was selected to serve on the advisory group that met with Vice President Biden to discuss gun violence.

His voice is respected around the world, as well. As a past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Sheriff McNeil has traveled to foreign countries to discuss ways to combat terrorism, human trafficking, cyber crimes and other 21st century concerns that impact global security and stability.


  • Sheriff, Leon County Sheriff's Office (2017)
  • Chief, Tallahassee Police Department
  • Chief, Quincy Police Department, Florida
  • Secretary, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections
  • Member, Florida Parole Commission Qualifications Committee
  • President, International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Consultant, Intergovernmental Research (IIR)
  • Consultant, United States Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council
  • Consultant, United States Customs and Border Protection Integrity Panel


As a leader in the law enforcement community, Sheriff McNeil has traveled extensively giving voice to issues of concern to law enforcement officers. 

In 2005, he traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland where he engaged Icelandic law enforcement command staff officers in an exchange of ideas concerning best practices in Community Oriented Policing. 

During the summer of 2006, Sheriff McNeil was selected by the Anti-Defamation League to serve as a member of a team of law enforcement leaders who spent a week in Israel receiving briefings on the tactics and strategies of the Israeli Military to prevent acts of terrorism. 

In 2012, as President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Sheriff McNeil traveled to Lyon, France where he met with the Secretary General of Interpol and discussed the framework for a partnership between the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Interpol to work cooperatively to prevent acts of terrorism, human trafficking, cyber crimes, and other global policing issues.

Sheriff Walt McNeil