To serve as advisor to the Sheriff and to facilitate changes that address disparities in the Black community through service and advocacy.
Throughout history society has gone through cycles of retrogression and progress. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has likewise experienced these conditions. During a time of conflict and community unrest, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Black Advisory Council was formed in January 1977 to help deal with these issues.
Prior to the formation of the Black Advisory Council, many within the minority community did not trust law enforcement. There were others who did not understand the many important roles of law enforcement. After various conflicts, which included riots, there were many within the community and the Sheriff's Office who realized the need for a better working relationship between the community and law enforcement. They recognized that there was a lack of understanding that often prevented a positive working relationship between citizens and those sworn to provide protection. It was at this time that Former Sheriff Malcolm Beard formed the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Black Advisory Council, which was composed of 12 members.
Throughout its existence, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Black Advisory Council has been directly involved with the community and continues its efforts to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the minority community. The Council has a history of hearing complaints, assisting in conflict resolutions, and providing a platform for minority deputies within the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to advance in their careers. The Council has sponsored minority scholarships for academic and law enforcement career pursuits. Outstanding achievements in community and law enforcement are recognized at the annual banquet. The council expects to expand its membership to 25 members in 2005. Of the original founders, two are still active members. They are: Hazel Hargrove Stephens and Robert L. Cole Sr. Today, as in its beginning stage, the purpose of the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office Black Advisory Council is to fulfill their mission statement by accomplishing their goals and objectives.