Duties and Responsibilities of the Sheriff:

As a constitutional officer, the Sheriff in Florida is elected for a term of four years and is governed by the Florida Constitution and the law. The duties of the office are specifically laid out in Chapter 30 of the Florida Statutes. Although the nature and scope of law enforcement have evolved with the rising population and changing times, the Sheriff’s core of duties as outlined in Chapter 30 have remained fairly constant over the years.

Primarily responsible for law enforcement and public safety, the Sheriff is chief law enforcement officer of the county – Chapter 30 specifically designates the Sheriffs as the “conservators of the peace in their counties.” Sheriffs are also responsible for service of all legal process (writs, warrants, subpoenas, and other legal documents) directed to them by the courts or the county commissioners, and in many counties are the sole keeper of the county jail and provider of court security. Here in Pinellas County, the Sheriff also provides several other countywide services including Sexual Predator and Offender Tracking (SPOT), Flight, Civil Process, Misdemeanor Probation and Child Protection Investigation.

To aid in executing these duties, the Sheriff employs support staff who work throughout the agency in a variety of positions from computer programmer to fleet mechanic. From deputies to support personnel, the over 2,800 employees at the Sheriff's Office make us one of Pinellas County’s largest employers.

  • Pinellas County Sheriffs

The following is a chronological listing of Pinellas County Sheriffs:


             Marvel M. Whitehurst...................1912 - 1920
             Lorenzo E. Sloat...........................1920 - 1921
             William S. Lindsey .......................1921 - 1925
             Roy Booth......................................1925 - 1929
             Gladstone R. Beattie....................1929 - 1930
             Roy Booth......................................1930 - 1933
             Ernest G. Cunningham................1933 - 1941
             Todd Tucker...................................1941 - 1953
             Sid Saunders.................................1953 - 1958
             Donald S. Genung........................1958 - 1975
             William T. "Bill" Roberts...............1975 - 1981
             Gerard A. "Gerry" Coleman.........1981 - 1989

             Everett S. Rice...............................1989 - 2004
             James F. "Jim" Coats....................2004 - 2011

             Robert "Bob" Gualtieri...............2011 - Present

 
 

Historical Overview:

Voters approved the creation of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department in 1912. The early Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reflected the rough and rural nature of the peninsula at that time. Bootlegging, moon shining, and gambling were daily occurrences and the Sheriff’s Office was kept busy running after a host of colorful criminals. Jail escapes were not uncommon and newspapers reported how inmates sawed their way through the iron bars with tools smuggled in from the outside.

From the early days until the late 1950’s, deputies drove their own cars, wore plain clothes and carried their own weapons. The county was divided into several districts, each of which had a Justice of the Peace, to supervise legal matters. There was no centralized jail system. The Sheriff’s Office enforced the laws alongside the County Patrol and various municipal police departments. When judges ran short of citizens in a jury pool, deputy sheriffs were sent out to round up citizens to serve.

In 1959, during the tenure of Sheriff Don Genung, the Sheriff’s Office took on a modern identity. The Sheriff’s Office absorbed the county patrol in 1960. A year later, the Sheriff’s Office bought a fleet of 1961 Plymouth Fury automobiles to serve as patrol cars. Sheriff’s deputies were issued standardized uniforms. A standardized training program was developed, and Sheriff’s Office personnel were given the benefits of civil service, as well as health and retirement plans.

 

Sheriff’s deputies have countywide jurisdiction, but mainly patrol the unincorporated areas and the cities under contract with the Sheriff’s Office for primary law enforcement services. The Sheriff's Office is comprised of the following five primary Bureaus: 

Patrol Operations
Detention and Corrections
Investigative Operations
Judicial Operations
Support Services
 

The Youth Services Section has grown to include School Resource Deputies in middle schools and high schools, and programs dealing with youthful offenders. The Sheriff’s Office has forged strong community partnerships by offering citizens numerous opportunities to learn more about law enforcement and personal safety. Citizens from around the county can participate in the Sheriff’s Citizens Academy, the Sheriff’s Advisory Board, Neighborhood Watch, and Volunteers In Partnership (VIPs).

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is one of the few law enforcement agencies in the nation to achieve high marks in three areas of national, professional accreditation: law enforcement, corrections and inmate health care.

The agency has pioneered the use of facial recognition technology in law enforcement and corrections and continues to be innovative in the automation of records, forensics science, the security of property and evidence, and on-board technology for patrol deputies.

“Leading The Way For A Safer Pinellas” is the vision and will continue to be the guiding direction of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

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