Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Building's name honors former Hillsborough Sheriff Malcolm Beard

Former Sheriff Malcolm Beard, left, former Sheriff Cal Henderson, center, and current Sheriff David Gee stand in front of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s newly renamed Malcolm E. Beard Sheriff’s Operations Center on Wednesday.


Former Sheriff Malcolm Beard, left, former Sheriff Cal Henderson, center, and current Sheriff David Gee stand in front of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s newly renamed Malcolm E. Beard Sheriff’s Operations Center on Wednesday.

TAMPA — The legion of public officials, both current and retired, gathered under a bright sun Wednesday morning in Ybor City, sweating in dark suits and white, neatly pressed sheriff's uniforms.

They were there to honor one of their own, a man they said left a mark on the county he served as a sheriff and the state he helped lead as a legislator. Amid the fanfare, Malcolm Beard watched humbly as a curtain rose atop the main entrance to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office operations center, revealing his name newly adorning the building.

The 94-year-old former lawman and politician, whose career spanned more than half a century, sat alongside his wife, Mary Ellen, in the front row of about 150 who attended the short ceremony, including Sheriff David Gee and former Sheriff Cal Henderson. Beard spoke little of the honor, saying he was stunned a month ago when he was told the building would be named for him.

"I was totally surprised that it was happening," he said. "I always thought old politicians were like day-old newspapers. They were forgotten about."

But to hear those who spoke at the ceremony, there are plenty of people who remember Sheriff Beard and his lifetime of service.

It began in the 1940s when Beard worked as a Tampa police officer. That led to his election as constable for Hillsborough County in 1957, where he served until 1964 when he was first elected sheriff.

In the 14 years that followed, he shepherded the fledgling agency through a period of immense growth. He watched the Sheriff's Office transform from a largely rural agency to one serving a metropolitan area.

"He's the guy who got it all started," said Sheriff Gee. "There are things we take for granted now that are things he began."

Among those things, Gee said, was the creation of the sheriff's crime scene unit and the establishment of the building that now bears his name.

He left the office in 1978 — the same year Gee began his career — upon his election to the Florida House of Representatives. He later served in the state Senate, retiring in 1996.

Former Sen. John Grant spoke of his colleague as a man of integrity, one who did what he felt was right, no matter the political cost.

"His word was his bond," Grant said. "You didn't need anything in writing from Malcolm Beard."

Building's name honors former Hillsborough Sheriff Malcolm Beard 12/04/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Oh, my God, this is crazy!' The 911 calls as Hollywood nursing home residents died (w/video)


    One by one, the calls for help poured in from nurses at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

    The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, where 14 residents died during an air conditioning failure in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in Hollywood, Fla., Sept. 14, 2017. The police released 911 calls from a nursing home under investigation after some of its residents died in the post-hurricane heat. [Scott McIntyre | The New York Times]
  2. Neil deGrasse Tyson will speak at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday. We talked to him ahead of time. Check out what he had to say. [Patrick Eccelsine/FOX]
  3. Conor Oberst, Johnnyswim concerts moved out of State Theatre over construction issues


    Two more concerts -- including one this weekend -- have been moved out of the State Theatre in St. Petersburg as the venue continues to experience scaled-down crowd capacity following recent construction.

  4. Hillsborough board to vote on new school start times


    TAMPA — The big issue at today's Hillsborough County School Board meeting will be the 2018-19 bell schedule. To save money and get students to school on time, …

    Hillsborough County School Board members tried to work out their differences at a training day in Temple Terrace on Oct. 11. Today, they will vote on revised school start times for 2018-19. [COLLEEN WRIGHT | Times]
  5. McCain condemns 'half-baked, spurious nationalism' in clear shot at Trump (w/video)


    PHILADELPHIA — An emotional Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., launched a thinly veiled critique of President Donald Trump's global stewardship Monday night, using a notable award ceremony to condemn "people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems."

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, accompanied by Chair of the National Constitution Center's Board of Trustees, former Vice President Joe Biden, waves as he takes the stage before receiving the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The honor is given annually to an individual who displays courage and conviction while striving to secure liberty for people worldwide. [Associated Press]