Chief Deputy Bob Gualtieri Is Sheriff On Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Release Number: 11-260
Outgoing Sheriff Jim Coats
Incoming Sheriff Bob Gualtieri
What: (See narrative below)
Where: Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
When: The official transition occurs just after midnight, November 8, 2011.
Today Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats caps a 40 year law enforcement career with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office by returning to the Flight Section – which attracted him to the agency in the first place.
Coats retires today, Monday November 7, 2011. He is retiring earlier than planned to spend more time with his wife, Cat, who is battling breast cancer.
Sheriff Coats originally joined the Sheriff’s Office to be a helicopter pilot, following a stint in the Air Force. He was hired as a patrol deputy and eventually was able to fly with the Flight Section.
Today he returned to the Flight hangar to meet with the media, and for photos with an agency fixed wing planed he piloted or co-piloted over the years. According to Sheriff Coats, “I am proud to have worked with so many fine men and women at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. I am also proud of what we have accomplished over the years. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Pinellas County.”
During his career – Coats was promoted through the ranks in Patrol and Investigations – before becoming Chief Deputy and then in 2004, was appointed Sheriff by Governor Jeb Bush, to serve out the remaining term of Everett Rice, the preceding Sheriff. Coats was elected to his first term as Sheriff in November of 2004, and re-elected in 2008.
Sheriff Coats cites many accomplishments during his term to include:
- The professional and cost efficient management of the Sheriff’s Office through very challenging economic times – while keeping public safety the first priority.
- The expansion of youth programs like the Police Athletic League to serve at risk children.
- The opening of a new firearms training complex and a new K-9 facility – both long term projects.
- Developed numerous community partnerships to provide life skills programs at the Jail and to open the Pinellas Safe Harbor Shelter – a jail diversion program which to provides services to the homeless to help them get back on their feet.
- Created a Countywide Narcotics Task Force to deal with the epidemic of illegal sales and abuse of prescription drugs.
- Expanded the use of facial recognition as a tool for road deputies and detectives. Maintained a cutting edge profile in the use of new technology in law enforcement.
- Launched a Video Visitation bus in order to bring inmate video visitation opportunities to citizens in their communities who may not have transportation.
- Assuming the countywide tracking of sex predators and offenders.
Chief Deputy Bob Gualtieri (pronounced Gwall-terry’) becomes Pinellas County Sheriff after midnight, Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Last month, Governor Rick Scott appointed Gualtieri to be Sheriff upon Coats’ retirement.
Gualtieri will be Pinellas County Sheriff – was appointed Sheriff, and is correctly identified as “Sheriff” – not Interim or Acting Sheriff.
Gualtieri officially becomes Sheriff on Tuesday, but will be joined by family and friends at a swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at 4:00 p.m. at the Criminal Justice Center. The ceremony will take place in Courtroom 1 and Chief Judge J. Thomas McGrady will preside.
*In the photo: Jim Coats (Left) and Bob Gualtieri (Right)