Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley was elected to office November 2, 2010, after rising through the ranks from road patrol to Chief Deputy.
He was born February 23, 1966, in Long Beach California, the son of a Navy machinist. After living in various areas around the world during childhood, he graduated from Geneva High School in Geneva, Alabama, and headed to the University of Southern Mississippi where he earned an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice in 1989. He graduated from the Florida State Law Enforcement Academy at Okaloosa-Walton Community College in 1990 and the Police K-9 Patrol/Detector School in 1991 before going on to pursue and obtain a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Troy State University in 1998.
He began his law enforcement career at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in 1990 in the Uniformed Patrol Division. Over the next fourteen years Ashley also served in the K-9/Street Crimes Division, Investigations Division, and as Captain of Field Services. He was promoted to Major and Director of Criminal Investigations in 2004, Major and Director of Support Services Division in 2007, Major and Director of Field Services Division in 2008, Major and Director of Finance and Administration in 2009, and Chief Deputy of Sheriff’s Office Operations in 2009.
During those years of service in virtually all aspects of the agency, Sheriff Ashley also continued his education and specialized training, graduating from the FBI National Academy in Quantico Virginia in 2005. He attended the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Chief Executive Training as well as dozens of specialized law enforcement training courses and seminars.
Sheriff Ashley has earned numerous awards and commendations during his career, including being a nominee for Officer of the Year in 1994 and receiving the Florida Senate Medal of Excellence Award in 2009, the legislature’s highest award for service to the people of Florida.
Sheriff Ashley enjoys serving the community as a youth sports coach and YMCA Board Member, Executive Board Member for the Okaloosa-Walton Homeless Coalition, and Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee at the First Baptist Church of Fort Walton Beach. He says teaching 7th and 8th grade Sunday School is his most rewarding endeavor.
He is married to the former Lanie Lee of Fort Walton Beach. They have three children enrolled in the Okaloosa County School System. He enjoys learning anything new with his children as well as Biblical studies, teaching, fishing and hunting.
His primary goals as Okaloosa County Sheriff are to maintain the agency’s recently acquired Accreditation status (which ensures the OCSO is practicing optimum law enforcement standards), to consolidate communications services, utilize technology to keep citizens better informed of agency operations, and increase physical fitness standards for deputies.