Tampa airport police chief and deputy chief step down

Published January 25 2017
Updated January 25 2017

The director of public safety and his deputy chief at the Tampa International Airport are stepping down suddenly, according to letters of retirement and resignation filed with airport officials.

Paul Sireci, the director of public safety at the Tampa International Airport, is retiring after 44 years of employment in law enforcement. It is unclear why Sireci, who has been the director of safety at the airport for the last four years and served as police chief at the airport for more than a decade, is retiring now.

"The chief decided to retire after a long and distinguished career, including 14 years at the airport. He will leave big shoes to fill and has agreed to stay on board until we complete a national search for his replacement," said Janet Zink, a spokeswoman for the Tampa airport.

Sireci's deputy chief, Ralph Anthony, also announced in a letter that he will resign on March 3. The airport will not refill his position, Zink confirmed. "Going forward, our two police captains will report directly to the chief of police," she said. "The goal is to streamline the department and improve operations."

Anthony began his career at the Tampa airport in November 2015.

The letters of retirement and resignation come after the airport conducted an annual police department employee survey, which indicated some issues over morale and management. The October survey, conducted by a third party company, Workplace Dynamics, showed that police department staff felt that there was more negativity in the workplace compared to employees surveyed in other departments at the airport.

Zink noted that overall scores did improve year over year.

Sireci also faced some scrutiny late last year when photos from 2011 of his grandchildren resurfaced on his personal Facebook page. The photos showed the children holding military style rifles at an airport police training facility.

Zink said that Sireci did not violate any state laws or airport policies and procedures at that time.

Sireci briefly served as acting director of operations for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority in 2014. Prior to joining the Tampa airport, he worked as chief of public safety at the Memphis International Airport Police Department and was a captain with the Naples Police Department.

"It is with mixed emotions that I am notifying you of my intention to retire," Sireci wrote in his retirement letter. "I will miss the excitement and pride that we all feel with the completion of the master plan projects. At the same time I know that Annabelle and I have prepared for this next phase of our lives and the new opportunities that will come in retirement."

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.