Adrian Moss-Beasley.

It was 2012 and Brevard was in the midst of what people have said was the most acrimonious election seasons on memory. There was an all out war for the Clerk of the Courts office. The Property Appraiser’s race was full of salacious accusations and counter accusations.

Several of our staff were interviewing candidates for a local radio show. We made a pact not to do any “gotcha” moments or anything like that. We weren’t looking for “ambush journalism” rather than asking questions that would allow candidates to make their points and highlight where they agreed with their opponents and where they disagreed. We wanted to let people see the differences in the candidates and their positions.

There were some races and discussions that afterwards, we wanted to take a shower and hopefully wipe away the mud and the stench that had been slung. There were races that after the interviews, we looked at each other and said “are these the best candidates we have?” It was that bad.

But then there was the race for Brevard County Sheriff to replace the then retiring Jack Parker.

As our interviews were held before the primaries, we had the pleasure of interviewing Wayne Ivey, who had great experience outside of Brevard County Law enforcement, Todd Maddox, who had worked under Parker and was a high ranking officer within the department, and Adrian Moss-Beasley, who was still a “cop on the streets.”

The interviews were solid gold and a breath of fresh air. Each man highlighted his strengths and even talked about their weaknesses. Each man had a different perspective on the position. Ivey with the “overall, organizational” view. Maddox with his “mid-level management” view of how police needed to be led.

And then there was Adrian Moss-Beasley.

Moss Beasley was a big man. He had played football at the University of West Virginia, leading the Mountaineers to an undefeated season in 1988. At 6′ 6″ he was a commanding presence in the room and we remember joking with him whether he played on the offensive line as a tight end or whether he was the offensive line.

Like the other two candidates, Moss-Beasley was a straight shooter with us. He didn’t try and wiggle out of questions. His answers were forthright and had a “man on the street” type view of the world. It was clear that he wanted to focus the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office on policing and interaction with the public. He wanted to upgrade the professionalism of the department and hopefully help deputy sheriffs look at the world from the view of the people they were dealing with rather than just the law and codes of the land.

Moss-Beasely never said a bad word about his opponents in the race. His opinions of them were cordial and professional. He recognized their talents and thought they’d be good for Brevard, just as they recognized Moss-Beasley for his talent and thought he would be good for Brevard.

In that particular election year, it was so refreshing to have three candidates that focused on issues and vision rather than attacking each other.

When the interviews were done that day in 2012, we all looked at each other and said “how do you separate those guys? They were all great. Any one of them would be great for Brevard.”

In the end, Wayne Ivey defeated Todd Maddox in the primary election, and then defeated Moss-Beasley in the general election.

Over the years, we lost track of Moss-Beasley. For a man who was taking the first steps into the political arena and with limited experience, we always thought he’d go far not just in politics if he wanted to, but in life.

It is fair to say that we were shocked to read that Adrian Moss-Beasley had passed away.

Family, friends and community leaders will gather Friday to pay final tribute to Adrian Moss-Beasley, a longtime sheriff’s deputy known for his charismatic smile, his football legacy at Cocoa High and West Virginia University, and his candidacy for Brevard’s top law enforcement job.

Moss-Beasley died Saturday after a lengthy illness. He was 52.

“For those who knew Adrian, you knew he was a gentle giant with a heart of gold who was a great cop, a great friend, and above all else a great man. Adrian was strong in his faith of God and always believed in doing the right thing,” said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey in a statement posted online.

Moss-Beasley, a corporal with the Brevard County sheriff’s office, was a high school football standout for the Cocoa Tigers and earned a scholarship to West Virginia University, where he lettered for three seasons, catching 32 passes for 471 yards and a touchdown as a tight end. He was part of the Mountaineers’ undefeated regular season in 1988.

In a posting, Sheriff Wayne Ivey wrote of Moss-Beasley:

For those who knew Adrian, you knew he was a gentle giant with a heart of gold who was a great cop, a great friend, and above all else a great man!

Adrian was strong in his faith of God and always believed in doing the right thing!

If you never had a chance to meet Adrian you missed an amazing opportunity to see how someone who stood 6’6 could be so kind, friendly, and compassionate about others. You also missed the chance to meet someone who just his mere presence made you want to be a better person!

That was our impression of him too.

(We also think it is telling that Moss-Beasley was still in the Brevard Sheriff’s Department after the election. There doesn’t appear to have been any acrimony between the three candidates even though only one could win. When we met Moss-Beasley, he was a basic patrolman. At his passing, he had achieved the rank of corporal. Think about that for a moment. He was promoted by the guy against whom he ran in 2012. Generally speaking when people run against each other, the loser leaves town. Not only did Moss-Beasley not leave the department, he continued to excel in it, just as we suspected he would in 2012.)

There are some people you meet and the memory of that meeting fades away. Then there are some people you meet who leave an impression on you.

Moss-Beasley was one of those people to us.

From all accounts, we were not the only ones.

We suspect that there are hundreds if not thousands of stories of Moss-Beasley and the impact and impression he left on people. We feel that in some ways, we are part of a very large group who was impressed by a very large man.

We are also part of a very large group that is saddened by Moss-Beasley’s passing.

His passing ends a life, and a light, that was extinguished far too early.

Rest in peace Adrain Moss-Beasley. Rest in peace knowing that you touched thousands and will be remembered for the impact you made upon your community.

One Response to “Adrian Moss-Beasley.”

  1. Scott Hannon says:

    Thank you for this very gracious tribute to what must have been a great man. We should all hope our elected officials and those who aspire to elected office handle themselves nearly as well as Mr. Moss-Beasley. We should all hope to have such descriptions made of us after our passing as what you’ve given him. Dignity and class – traits so missing in today’s local, state, and national political environment. Thanks again.
    Semper Fi.

    W.S. Hannon, Esq.