Deputy Lionel Conyers was born in Manhattan, NY. At the young age of three, he and his family moved to Miami, FL, where his mom took a new teaching position as an English teacher at an area high school.
Conyers graduated from Miramar High School, and was accepted to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. He minored in Juvenile Justice and majored in Criminal Justice. Because some of his classes were not available at FAMU, he spent some time on the campus of Florida State University as well.
Although he had a plan to go on to law school, Conyers soon realized that he was ready to get into the workforce and start making money. The idea of building up years of debt while obtaining a law degree made him reconsider his options. It was then that he enrolled at Lively Criminal Justice Academy in Midway, FL, and earned his law enforcement officer certification. He would still be helping his fellow man, but just in a different capacity.
Deputy Conyers quickly found a job with the Miami Beach Police Department where he worked for approximately two years. He then moved to Miami-Dade County. He worked as both a road patrol deputy and a School Resource Officer (SRO) at Miami Norland Senior High School. During this time also he worked on the gang unit called Multi-Agency Gang Task Force (MAGTF), and he was a training officer for new SRO’s as well as road patrol officers. Perhaps one of the most difficult times in his career due to all of the violence and negative situations, Deputy Conyers is proud to say that he still communicates with many former students from the high school via Facebook. He was able to make a difference for many.
In 2008, Deputy Conyers decided to take some time off from law enforcement. He moved to Georgia so that he could be closer to his son. Conyers admitted he needed to “relax his body, mind and soul.” Working in a high paced, highly stressful job took its toll. However, after about six months of R&R, he quickly realized he was growing bored and was ready to get back to work.
Looking to return to the line of duty, Deputy Conyers was hired by the Douglasville Police Department in Georgia where he worked with the road patrol division and as a training officer for nearly three years. He explained that this time in his career was “a real eye-opener because it took him some time to learn how to change from working in the big city to working in a small town.” He was part of the ‘D-Team’ (nightshift), and this is when he learned how much his fellow officers as well as the members of the community meant to him. He stated that they “were a tight knit family.” To this day, he still stays in touch with many of these people who hold a special place in his heart.
Moving on to a different position, Deputy Conyers joined the Special Ops Team. Again, being a much smaller unit than he was used to, he welcomed the familial atmosphere of a very challenging job. He credits Lt. ‘Wink’ with teaching him how to balance family and career.
In 2013, Conyers underwent a major back surgery that put him out of commission for some time. Living alone, he was humbled by how the department stepped up and helped take care of him in his time of need. They would stop by to check on him, bring him food and make sure he was staying on top of his meds. In his words, his friends “were a blessing.”
Although he loved the department in Georgia as well as all of the community members he had come to know and love, Deputy Conyers made the decision to move back to Florida because he needed a better retirement. It wasn’t an easy choice, but a necessity.
Now in Florida, Conyers took a job with a security company while he began applying with various agencies around the state. He got a call from the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) asking him to come and work for their department. After finding Hendry County on the map and realizing that he enjoyed the small town way of life, he accepted a job. Filling in for a deputy who was going on maternity leave for the remainder of the school year, Deputy Conyers was hired as a temporary SRO at Central Elementary School in Clewiston. Over the summer, he worked as a HCSO road patrol deputy.
When school started in August, Deputy Conyers moved from the East Coast to LaBelle so that he could be closer to the area. He was assigned to LaBelle Middle School (LMS) as their SRO. He took over the Cadet program that prepares young ladies and gentlemen for a career in law enforcement. It is also a steppingstone for entering the Explorer program at LaBelle High School. During regular meetings, the young cadets learn about the laws, practice communication and social skills, perform building searches, act out scenarios, and observe traffic stops. Deputy Conyers wants his cadets to understand that there are two sides to law enforcement. Along with being in a position of authority, he teaches the kids that “this job has a human side to it and it’s not all about car chases.”
As the SRO at LMS, Deputy Conyers begins his day by monitoring traffic at the drop off loop. He then walks around the campus a couple of times making sure all kids are in class and that there aren’t any issues that need to be addressed. When he finally makes it back to his office, he catches up on paperwork and emails. He then likes to take another stroll around the campus just to make sure everything is ok. During lunch, he spends his time in the cafeteria which gives him the opportunity to talk to the students, and let them know that he is there if they need him. At the end of the day, Deputy Conyers goes back to his office for conferences, meetings and perhaps more paperwork. When dismissal finally rolls around, he is again outside monitoring the students and the flow of traffic. Once the buses have gone, he watches the kids who walk home to ensure their safety.
When talking with Deputy Conyers, it is quite apparent that he is right were he is meant to be. It is easy to see the positive relationships he has built with the staff, parents, and students at LaBelle Middle School. Given that his mom was a devoted teacher for nearly 40 years, there is no doubt that education is a top priority for this officer. Although he is not an educator in the traditional sense of the word, Deputy Conyers is a teacher at heart whether it is through his officer training instruction or guidance as a mentor. He is glad his mom instilled the values she gave him because now he “can pass them on to the next generation.” Isn’t that part of what teaching is all about?
Deputy Conyers recently remarried and is the father of two sons, one who lives in Tampa and the other who will graduate from high school this year in Georgia. Sports and video games are his stress relievers when he’s not working. He is a devout and die-hard University of Miami and Miami Dolphins fan.
His commitment and compassion for our local youth and community shine bright. He stated that “it’s a fun and rewarding job because I work at a great school, with a great squad and great administration.” Hopefully, retirement isn’t anywhere in the near future for Deputy Conyers.