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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri files for reelection



Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has made his reelection bid official, filing papers Thursday to run for a second four-year term. 

Gualtieri, 54, told Bay Buzz months ago that he planned to run for reelection. At the time, we were checking in with Republicans who might be interested in running for the Pinellas Congressional seat that Republican David Jolly is leaving to run for U.S. Senate. Gualtieri had been mentioned in 2013 as a possible contender for the seat, then held by U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, but opted not to run in the special election that Jolly eventually won.

On Friday, Gualtieri ran down a laundry list of priorities he has for a second term. At the top: making sure the crime rate in Pinellas continues on its downward trajectory. 

He also wants to implement a "real time crime center" that would provide critical information to deputies as they're responding to calls. Do the people have criminal histories? Do they own weapons or have a history of mental health issues? Where do their friends and family live?

"It's knowledge that's available in a myriad of databases to help law enforcement approach that call in a safer, more effective way," but deputies aren't getting that information in real time, Gualtieri said. Such a system would require an investment in software and manpower, he said.

Gov. Rick Scott appointed Gualtieri, the chief deputy to Sheriff Jim Coats, in 2011 after Coats decided to retire. Gualtieri then scored an against-the-odds over former four-term Pinellas Sheriff Everett Rice in the 2012 Republican primary. Combined, the two campaigns spent close to $700,000 on that race.

Gualtieri cruised to victory in the general election over Democrat Scott Swope, a personal injury lawyer and former sheriff's deputy. 

So far, Gualtieri has not drawn a viable challenger. Republican James McLynas, a 56-year-old Clearwater resident, has no law enforcement experience and has not raised any money since filing to run two years ago. 

[Last modified: Friday, November 13, 2015 7:55pm]


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