Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kenneth City hires new police chief

KENNETH CITY — This town's new police chief says he's going to concentrate on building bridges and relationships with other departments across Pinellas.

Kenneth City needs to be part of the larger community and work with the Sheriff's Office and other municipal police departments, Michael F. Rossi said Monday.

"I truly believe that what's going to move us forward is having that bond between the cities and the Sheriff's Office," Rossi said. "I think that's the key to the success of the Kenneth City Police Department."

Vice Mayor Troy Campbell, the council member who oversees the Police Department, said he was most impressed by Rossi's commitment to training and to working with other departments. Just because the Kenneth City department is small, with only 11 officers, doesn't mean it can't be among the best, he said. Campbell said he believes Rossi can move the department in that direction.

"We both share the vision that we don't want to be this little black hole all to ourselves," Campbell said. The town must have good working relationships with other departments because "crime doesn't start and stop in Kenneth City."

Rossi, 48, is a native of Long Island, N.Y., who moved to Pasco County when he was 15. He has lived there ever since. He holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Florida Metropolitan University, now Tampa College. He began his career as an officer with the Port Richey Police Department and moved to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in August 1995. He retired in May 2011 as a lieutenant.

While there, he received two meritorious service awards, one for catching two armed robbery and kidnapping suspects while the crime was happening. The other was for overseeing the largest hiring of new recruits in the department's history. He was also selected deputy of the year for reducing response times for deputies and dispatchers.

He is married and has two daughters. He will earn about $63,500 a year as chief.

Rossi is scheduled to be sworn in tonight after the Town Council workshop at Community Hall, 4600 58th St. N. The workshop begins at 7 p.m.

Although Rossi will be sworn in tonight, his actual starting date is unclear. But when he does take over, he will assume control of a department that has a history of turmoil and of being the battleground between political factions in the town.

Most recently, former Chief Doug Pasley was accused of poor management. Mayor Teresa Zemaitis called in the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in 2011 to perform an undercover investigation of the department. Sheriff's investigators cited problems with the quality of leadership, but many residents dismissed those findings and criticized Zemaitis. Pasley survived the controversy but took early retirement in June.

Town officials advertised for a replacement and received 13 resumes.

Their first choice for chief was Michael Baute, a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But negotiations fell through when the sides could not agree on a compensation package.

They turned to Rossi, who was the second-highest rated of the applicants, and were able to reach a deal.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at or (727) 893-8450.

Kenneth City hires new police chief 10/23/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 3:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.