The son of the first female Sergeant for the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Jim Leavens comes from a legacy of law enforcement including his grandfather, Leroy Reutter, a captain at Rikers Island Correctional Institute as well as his uncle Pete (Reutter) and brother Joe (Leavens), who were also officers with Suffolk County Departments, to name a few.
Jim, the youngest of three boys, was born and raised in Queens, New York before saying “goodbye” to the bitter winters of the north and burying roots in SWFL in July of 1986. Shortly after, in April of 1988, he established his extensive Lee County law enforcement career as a Correctional Officer (CO) and completed the Correctional Officer Training Academy.
After three years as a CO in the Lee County Jail, Leavens entered the Law Enforcement Training Academy and was assigned to Road Patrol as a Deputy Sheriff in February of 1991, spending the next few years patrolling multiple districts in Lee County. Over that time, his commitment to serving and protecting the community did not go unnoticed, as he was awarded “Deputy of the Month” for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office three times, and was named “Officer of the Year” by both the Fort Myers Rotary Club and the Lee County Bar Association. He was even awarded the Meritorious Service Award, Combat Cross and Education Achievement Awards by the Lee County Sheriff’s office.
During his 30-year tenure with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Jim Leavens’ experience didn’t stop at Deputy, later becoming Detective assigned to the Property Crimes, Narcotics, Robbery and Homicide Divisions before being promoted to Sergeant and Lieutenant, serving in Road Patrol, Internal Affairs and Criminal Investigative Divisions.
After being promoted to Captain’s rank, which he held for over 14 years, Jim supervised sworn and civilian personnel as the Commander of Internal Affairs, Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC), East District Substation, Major Crimes (Homicide, Crimes against Persons, Domestic Violence, et al.), not to mention the acquisition and administration of budgets and the equipment related to these Divisions.
Jim finished his expansive career on nighttime Patrol as Watch Commander until his retirement as a Major with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office in 2018. He shared his rich Law Enforcement history with his oldest brother, Major Ed Leavens, who also retired with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office after 27 great years.
Jim even found love in the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, where he met his wife of over two decades, Angela. Angela herself began her Law Enforcement career in the Forensic Unit in 1989, spending nearly seven years with the LCSO before committing 15 years to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Ft. Myers Regional Crime Laboratory. She is now an instructor at SWFL Public Service Academy, teaching forensics to recruits.
In all, Jim and Angela Leavens have led unique and distinguished careers marked by passion, integrity, and excellence. It is easy to see why wide-ranging experience matters. Poised to be a benchmark Sheriff for Lee County, Jim is looking forward to rolling his sleeves up to earn your trust and to prove that Leavens IS for Lee.
Ret. Major Jim Leavens resides on a cattle ranch and currently works for Lee Health as a Public Safety Officer at a local hospital. He spends much of his free time on building projects, traveling, and spending time with his four children and two grandchildren.