Sheriff Mark Hunter began his law enforcement career in 1994 as a patrol deputy, then school resource deputy with the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office. He served with the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office until 1998. During that same time, he became a state certified law enforcement instructor in firearms, defensive tactics, vehicle operations and general subjects and became an instructor coordinator for North Florida Community College Law Enforcement Academy.

In 1998, Sheriff Hunter furthered his law enforcement career by becoming a special agent with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. In 2004, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and held the position of district supervisor for the Gainesville field office.

From 2005 to 2006, he served as the Undersheriff for the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. In 2008, he was elected Sheriff of Columbia County. He was re-elected in 2012 and ran unopposed in 2016 and again in 2020. Sheriff Hunter holds a business degree in organizational management, is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Chief Executive Seminar, Class 43, and of the FBI National Academy, 256th Session. He served as the co-chair for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Pill Mill Task Force, and is a past president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. Sheriff Hunter is currently a committee member of the Florida Model Jail Standards Committee and a board member of the Florida Sheriffs Risk Management Fund. In addition to his law enforcement career, Sheriff Hunter served in the Florida Army National Guard for 30 years, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel.  

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