Our CCSO & Alumni Historians

 Tom in Uniform at Museum (June 2004)-d.jpgRetired Captain Thomas Smith, ID #212

The CCSO's "Unofficial-Official Historian" is Captain Thomas Smith, who retired April 1, 2009.

During over 31 years of service to the CCSO he amassed volumes of historical documents and information. Establishing archives with over 10,000 photos, drawers of documents, old 8mm & 16 mm movies and conducted many biographical life-stories about the agency's past members, going back to 1923.

Much of today's known history of the Agency was discovered and documented by Tom Smith during his career. Links on this page will open some of these documents and photos depicting CCSO's History for you to enjoy.



Retired Deputy Gary Young, ID #281author[1].jpg

Gary served with the CCSO for many years and also with the Naples Police Department (including time as Chief of Police in the 1970's). Gary has a unique style of creative writing and for many years has collected stories of policing in this area; which he shares often. 

Gary is in the process of writing a book about his police experiences and has a Blog site which is extremely informative and funny.

It is regularly updated with short stories and is well worth visiting.

Go to:   E-mail:


Dave Johnson-2.jpgRetired Captain David Johnson, ID #194

Dave Retired from the CCSO in May 2009. Dave joined the CCSO in May 1974! As one of the rare members with 35 continious years with the agency; he surely qualifies as a "True Lifer".

As a near life-long resident of Marco Island, Dave not only knows the history of the agency, he has been a part of much of the agency's and county's growth. He remembers the dirt roads, which are now paved multi-lane roadways and the now long-gone fisheries, beer joints and smuggling hideouts on Marco and the tall-tales of some of our long term outlaws and notables.

We are pleased that Dave has also volunteered to be the second driving force behind the CCSO Alumni Association as we move forward to create an outstanding association for current and past agency members.


The CCSO History

The CCSO has a relatively short history as compared to many other law enforcement agencies in the United States. Created in 1923, Collier County was a small fishing community in the southern portion of Lee County.

On July 7, 1923, before there were air conditioners or major roadways, Collier County was created. The need to patrol the citizens living within the newly established 1,276,160 acres of land became eminent. Everg Sub.jpg

Collier was dubbed “Florida’s last frontier” and CCSO’s first Sheriff, Capt. W.R. Maynard and his family proved this to be true.  In December 1926 while Maynard was away, his wife, accompanied by her two-year-old son, led a posse to pursue and successfully capture three fugitives in the Everglades.

The Southwest Mounted Police (now recognized as CCSO deputies) was established after the completion of the Tamiami Trail in 1928.  Also completed in 1928 was the first Collier County jail.  Officers were stationed with their wives within every ten miles of the Tamiami Trail as it ran through Everglades to Miami. Each officer mounted their Harley Davidson motorcycle and patrolled their areas while their wives remained at the station helping to meet the needs of travelers.

Two of these SMP officers had fallen in the line of duty and are recognized on our line of duty page.

Louis J. Thorp took over after Maynard resigned in 1928 and kept the frontier feel with his expertise of a bull whip.  Thorp served until his death in 1954. Chief Deputy Roy O. Atkins was appointed as Sheriff and served until E.A. Doug Hendry was elected in 1956. Sheriff Hendry hired Aubrey Rogers, who he had previously worked with at the Fort Myers Police Department, to work in the Everglades jail and eventually became Sheriff Hendry’s Chief Deputy.  Rogers replaced Hendry and served until his retirement in 1989. Rogers was succeeded by his former Chief Deputy, Sheriff Don Hunter, who was elected in 1988. Sheriff Hunter was re-elected in 1992, 1996, and 2000. When Sheriff Hunter decided to not seek re-election, his Undersheriff Kevin Rambosk sought the post. Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk was elected in August, 2008, taking office officially on Tues. Jan. 6, 2009.


One of the first Badges worn by Deputies
of the Collier County Sheriff's Office - circa 1924


Time Capsule

75th CCSO.jpgDid you know that on July 7th, 1998 the CCSO created a "Time Capsule" to celebrate the agency's 75th Anniversary? The Capsule is scheduled to be re-opened on July 7, 2023 to commemorate the agency's 100th Anniversary.

The Time Capsule is really a military foot locker with a large Sheriff's Star on the lid. The Time Capsule contains sealed bags with photos, letters, forms, brochures, and lots of things offered by members and different bureaus of the agency. The items donated for the Time Capsule's contents are things that when opened years from now will offer significant memories to those still around and relevance to those employed by the CCSO and those interested in the continued history of the agency.

So mark your calendars for July 7, 2023! Don't let anyone forget. The Time Capsule is being stored at the Collier County Museum.

Clich Here to Join the CCSO Alumni to 
Access an Enhanced CCSO History Website

A more complex History Site is available once you become an Alumni Member. Read stories dating back to before the CCSO started in 1923, read old news articles, read personal accounts, life stories from agency members in the 30's, 50 and 70's, see time-lines and charts showing the first members in 1923, read about the unique Tamiami Trail motorcycle patrol  called the "Southwest Mounted Police" and view lots of photos by becoming a member of the Association.


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Our Mission is "Connecting the Past with our Future"

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Information on this website is made available to the public and law enforcement in the interest of its members.
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