Sheriff Tommy Ford Receives 2023 LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award


Gulf Coast State College proudly nominated and congratulates Sheriff Tommy Ford, a distinguished former student of the institution, on being honored with the 2023 LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award.

The LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by The Association of Florida Colleges, recognizes individuals who have attended a state college and have made outstanding contributions on both the state and national levels.

The awards are held biannually and serve as a platform for Florida’s state colleges to honor exceptional alumni whose achievements inspire and uplift our communities. Sheriff Ford’s dedication to public safety, and his distinguished career accomplishments, have rightfully earned him this recognition on behalf of Gulf Coast State College.

“The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a true and lifelong success story in a state or national arena,” said Greg Williams, President of the Association of Florida Colleges. “Sheriff Ford has dedicated his life to serving and protecting his community. He has shown exceptional leadership, integrity, and compassion across the state of Florida.”

Sheriff Tommy Ford’s remarkable journey includes several standout achievements, including an 18-year career with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, during which he specialized as a Special Agent investigating violent crimes, major drug crimes, public integrity issues, and officer-involved shootings. He was elected as Bay County Sheriff in 2016 and reelected in 2020, both times unopposed.

Sheriff Ford has also held other leadership roles throughout his career as Operations Commander and Chief Deputy for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, highlighting his dedication to serving his community.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Sheriff Ford remains actively engaged with the community, serving as a board member of the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Chairman of the Florida Sheriff’s Task Force, member of Governor DeSantis’ Public Safety Transition Committee, and Statewide Opioid Task Force, Co-Chair of the Northwest Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force, member of the statewide Domestic Security Oversight Council, and Chairman of the Florida Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission.

In his nomination letter, Gulf Coast State College President Glen McDonald wrote, “I strongly endorse Sheriff Ford for the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. I believe his professional and community contributions make him the best candidate.” He added, “His professional achievements and civic service embody the values, vision, and mission of Gulf Coast State College. Sheriff Ford has a clear mission of his own that is evident through his commitment to keeping his community safe.”

Sheriff Tommy Ford’s recognition with the 2023 LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award is evidence of his remarkable achievements and his dedication to public service. Gulf Coast State College takes pride in celebrating his accomplishments and is honored to have him represent the institution on this level.