Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'Interim' dropped from Steffens' title as New Port Richey police chief

James Steffens is sworn in Tuesday as New Port Richey police chief by longtime friend Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa.

City of New Port Richey

James Steffens is sworn in Tuesday as New Port Richey police chief by longtime friend Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa.

NEW PORT RICHEY — The "interim" tag has officially been dropped from Police Chief James Steffens' title.

Steffens, who has been serving as acting chief since the Oct. 17 departure of Jeffrey Harrington, was permanently appointed to the job Tuesday evening. Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa, a childhood friend of Steffens, swore in the new chief during the City Council meeting.

City Manager John Schneiger said Steffens, 43, has shown excellent leadership and communication skills since taking over as interim chief.

"Thus far his performance has been exemplary," said Schneiger, who was so impressed he didn't bother advertising the position for outside applicants. "I'm extremely comfortable in making this appointment."

Dozens of family members, friends and law enforcement colleagues came to City Hall for the ceremony and greeted the new chief outside chambers afterward.

"I'm honored for the opportunity," Steffens said. "I have always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer even as a child. It's all I really ever wanted to be."

Siracusa, who has been friends with Steffens since they were in the sixth-grade, agreed that law enforcement has always been on his friend's mind as they grew up in Clearwater.

"Once when we were home visiting from college, there was someone burglarizing a neighbor's house and we chased him, but it was James who caught the guy," Siracusa said. "So it's always been there."

It has been a rapid rise to the top of the New Port Richey Police Department for Steffens, who was hired in May as a lieutenant on Harrington's command staff. He brought two decades of law enforcement experience to the table.

Steffens retired in 2009 as a lieutenant with the Clearwater Police Department, where he worked his way up the ranks from patrol to detective, and eventually supervisory roles over SWAT and police dog units.

This fall, Steffens unexpectedly found himself tapped as interim chief in New Port Richey when Harrington announced his move to major of patrol operations for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

Now it's official that Steffens is the top cop in the city, overseeing 40 sworn officers, 25 civilian employees and several specialized units, including marine patrol, two police dog officers and 10 officers who are part of the joint SWAT team with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

"I'm definitely feeling challenged," Steffens said. "I don't plan on getting much sleep."

'Interim' dropped from Steffens' title as New Port Richey police chief 12/07/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 7:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bill Nelson Video: Talk to this Florida mom before you call Obamacare a failure

    Blogs

    Sen. Bill Nelson spoke on the senate floor about the health care reform debate, sharing the story of a single Florida mother trying to keep alive her daughter, kindergarten teacher Megan Geller, who died at age 28 in 2015 after a two-year battle with leukemia.

     

  2. Five ideas for party foods to bring to your potluck

    Cooking

    What's in a name? That which we call a casserole by any other name is still, well, a casserole. Generally a go-to for potlucks, casseroles are quick and easy to transfer, and they can feed a lot of people. But take a look at your next potluck table and count how many casseroles there are. You can change the game …

    iStockphoto
  3. Florida education news: School budgets, hiring freeze, new schools and more

    Blogs

    IN THE BOOKS: Gov. Rick Scott signs a new Florida Education Funding Program and several other education-related bills into Florida law. This year's new education laws …

    Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 7069 earlier in June, and on Monday added seven more education-related bills to Florida law.
  4. Palm Harbor bicyclist dies from injuries sustained in Bayside Bridge crash

    Accidents

    CLEARWATER — A Palm Harbor bicyclist died from injuries sustained last week when he was struck on the Bayside Bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Kremlin dismisses U.S. warning of chemical attack in Syria (w/video)

    World

    MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed the White House's warning that the Syrian government is preparing a new chemical attack and that President Bashar Assad and his military "will pay a heavy price" if it goes ahead.

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, third right, prays on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at the Nouri Mosque in Hama, Syria, Sunday, June 25, 2017. [SANA via AP]