Another retired chief deputy is back at the Pinellas Sheriff's Office
Former chief deputy George Steffen, 57, retired from the Pinellas Sheriff's Office last February after a 33-year career.
At his retirement, he collected $570,847 through Florida's Deferred Retirement Option Program. He is also receiving a $8,970 monthly pension, records show.
Now, Steffen is back at the Sheriff's Office, this time as an assistant chief deputy overseeing patrol and investigative operations.
His annual salary: $149,350.
Steffen, who declined comment, started his new job today.
He is the latest top cop to return to work while collecting pension benefits at the Pinellas Sheriff's Office.
Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri attributes the need to rehire experienced officers to an ongoing wave of retirements and a lack of seasoned personnel ready to take over the top jobs in his department.
Some numbers: Of his roughly 1,500 sworn deputies, 600 of them were hired in the last four years. All of the majors have a year or less of experience in their current positions.
“They need time to professionally mature and get the experience necessary to succeed,” Gualtieri said. “This is a decision that is out of necessity and the best interest for the agency.”
Steffen is replacing Mark Dunnagan, a captain that bypassed the major rank and was promoted to assistant chief deputy. In October, he asked for a demotion, the sheriff said.
“He felt that he wasn't a fit for it and he wasn't ready for it,” Gualtieri said. “That was a case of somebody that moved too much too fast. Mark has potential and I think he's a very, very capable guy.”
Steffen will also be mentoring younger deputies as they progress through the ranks.
According to his agency bio, Steffen was assigned to various divisions through the years, including narcotics, internal affairs, and child protection investigations. He attended the FBI National Academy and the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute.