St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays


ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.

Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign from the department on Jan. 7 and head two blocks south to Tropicana Field, where he will oversee security for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Assistant Chief Luke Williams will retire at the end of January. An exact date was not available.

He oversaw the uniform services bureau and joined the department as a patrol officer in 1985. He worked in criminal investigations and internal affairs before becoming an assistant chief in 2000.

Chief Tony Holloway is in the process of interviewing internal candidates to fill Williams’ job. Department spokeswoman Sandra Bentil said a decision will be made early next year.

The chief hasn’t decided what to do about Previtera’s job. He is in charge of investigative services.

Previtera, 51, said he began thinking about life after law enforcement several months ago while recovering from shoulder surgery. He said the decision to walk away from his 31-year career wasn’t easy.

"I started as a young man and today I have a little bit of gray creeping in," he said.

He had also developed a long relationship with Rays management, serving as a security consultant with Major League Baseball for 11 seasons.

The Rays created a new position for Previtera. The working title is senior director of security and stadium operations. Previtera will manage all aspects of security, including at the stadium, while the team travels and cybersecurity.

As the Rays consider moving, he expects to be involved in talks about what it would take to adequately secure a new stadium.

Previtera joined the St. Petersburg Police Department in December 2014 after stints with the Secret Service and the Pinellas and Hillsborough Sheriff’s Offices.

The lone remaining assistant chief is Mike Kovacsev, who was promoted last year and oversees the administrative services bureau.

Contact Kathryn Varn at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn