Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo promotes new police and fire chiefs, assistant chiefs

LARGO — With the recent departures of Largo's police and fire chiefs, a new generation of leaders is taking the reins of the city's public safety agencies.

In each case, the former second-in-command was promoted to the top post. And now the new chiefs have chosen their own seconds-in-command.

At a City Commission meeting last week, Shelby Willis was formally named Largo's fire chief. A 16-year veteran of the department, she is Largo's first female fire chief and the only female fire chief in Pinellas County.

Willis, 45, had served as acting chief since March, when her predecessor, Mike Wallace, resigned during an internal investigation into his leadership style and low department morale.

"It really does feel different" being the chief, Willis said while being congratulated by well-wishers at City Hall. "You feel the responsibility, the magnitude of the position. Before, I was acting in the capacity. It's not the same thing as having the title."

She's now in charge of 134 firefighters providing fire and EMS coverage for more than 100,000 people in 30 square miles.

Willis spent four years as an Air Force police officer before she started as a Largo firefighter-paramedic in 1997. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida. She and her husband, Victor, have a 6-year-old son.

David Mixson, who had been a division chief, was promoted to deputy fire chief, the position that Willis once held. Like Willis, he rose through the ranks after starting as a Largo firefighter-paramedic in 1994. He also has led Pinellas County's hazmat team.

Mixson is married, has three children and holds a bachelor's degree from Saint Leo University.

Largo's new police and fire chiefs each earn $114,500 a year. The deputy police chief earns $95,805, and the deputy fire chief earns $90,500.

Police Department

Jeff Undestad was formally named Largo's police chief last month. He's running the show now that his predecessor, John Carroll, has retired.

Undestad, 48, joined the force in 1990 and has served many roles in his career — canine officer, SWAT team, patrol commander, investigations commander, head of internal affairs. He was Carroll's deputy chief.

"He is well-known for his easygoing leadership style, and he enjoys a solid reputation as a team player and consensus builder," said City Manager Mac Craig. "He can be relied upon to solve problems and address complex issues."

It's a big job. The 18-square-mile city has 138 officers and police supervisors, a number that has held steady for years as the city has grown.

Undestad has a bachelor's degree from Augsburg College in Minnesota. He and his wife, Michelle, have two young sons.

For his deputy chief, Undestad chose Brian Browne, who has been with the Largo Police Department since 1994.

Like his boss, Browne has held many jobs at the department. Among other things, he has been a motorcycle cop, a hostage negotiator and a police instructor in the area of crisis management and suicide prevention.

He has a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida. He and his wife have two daughters.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4151.

Largo promotes new police and fire chiefs, assistant chiefs 11/08/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 8, 2013 6:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact takes on big health care question: Does GOP bill cut Medicaid?

    National

    Politics and math don't always get along, and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway raised a common complaint about how people talk about the future of Medicaid spending under the Senate Republican health care bill.

    Alice Jacobs, 90, at Dogwood Village, a nonprofit county-owned nursing home in Orange, Va., on June 23. Medicaid, targeted by Republicans' health care bill, pays for most of the 1.4 million elderly people in nursing homes, some of whom do not know they are on it. (Khue Bui/The New York Times)
  2. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  3. Gov. Scott in Washington as health care debate intensifies

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday began a daylong series of meetings in Washington on health care, saying he wants to ensure Florida gets its share of Medicaid funding while praising parts of the Senate GOP’s Obamacare replacement.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks at Creative Sign Designs in Tampa on June 13.
  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Pirates?

    Blogs

    After an off day Monday, the Rays head on the road to PNC Park for a three-game interleague series against the Pirates. Here's the information you need to know about Pittsburgh before the action kicks off.

    Record: 35-41, fourth in NL Central

    Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, left, has rebounded from a rough start, while fellow outfielder Gregory Polanco, right, has fallen off recently.
  5. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo in Parkshore Plaza on the market for $1.5 million. {Courtesy of Amy Lamb/Native House Photography]