General Counsel J.D. Small

Joseph “J.D.” Small has served the Sheriff’s Office for over 20 years as a Deputy Sheriff, Reserve Deputy Sheriff, Reserve Deputy Sheriff Sergeant and current General Counsel. 


  • Responsible for all risk management activities 
  • Manages the Indian River Regional Crime Laboratory
  • Manages the Division of Internal Affairs 
  • Conducts training on important legal issues 
  • Coordinates legislative efforts 
  • Coordinates with outside counsel in the active defense of claims brought against the office 
  • Develops and directs the legal strategy for the Sheriff’s Office 
  • Handles public records requests 
  • Manages the agency’s civil forfeiture program


Sheriff’s General Counsel “J.D.“ Small is a career law enforcement professional with approximately 25 years of local law enforcement and criminal prosecution experience. J.D. was born, raised and attended school in Florida.


J.D. attended and graduated from the University of Florida in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. While attending the University of Florida, J.D. was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and served as Sergeant at Arms. In 1997, J.D. attended Santa Fe Community College Law Enforcement Academy where he received his Florida Law Enforcement Certification with honors in 1998. In 1998, J.D. joined the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff. While serving as a Deputy Sheriff, he attended, and later graduated from, Saint Thomas Law School where he received his Juris Doctorate Degree with honors in 2001.


J.D. joined the 15th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s office as an Assistant State Attorney from 2002 through 2006. Following which, J.D. practiced as a civil trial attorney in the area of complex civil litigation. As a civil attorney, J.D. continued to serve the community as a Special Appointed Prosecutor and Special Advocate to the Commission on Ethics.

J.D. later returned to the State Attorney’s Office in 2013 through 2023. As an Assistant State Attorney, J.D. served in the Organized Crime Unit, Sober Homes Task Force as a Division Chief, Juvenile Direct File Division as a Division Chief, Special Assistant United States Attorney and Felony Trial Division Chief. J.D. is a member of the Florida Bar, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and United States Supreme Court.