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. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  4. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  5. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.