NEW PORT RICHEY — One of Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco's top commanders abruptly retired Wednesday.
Maj. Maurice Radford, 49, had been in charge of all road patrol deputies in the county and his annual salary was $108,622. Former Sheriff Bob White hired him as a major in 2001. He previously worked for 15 years at the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Radford submitted a letter of resignation Wednesday but gave no reason. He could not be reached for comment Thursday.
His last day of employment will be Dec. 5, but Wednesday was his last day at the department. He is using vacation time until his end date, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.
In his letter to Nocco, Radford wrote: "Please know that I consider it an honor to have served both you and Sheriff White as a member of the executive staff. I have certainly been blessed with the opportunity to work with and come to know many fine men and women throughout the years and wish everyone nothing less than the very best."
Nocco sent out a staff message announcing Radford's retirement. Nocco would not comment to the St. Petersburg Times Thursday. Doll said the staff message was Nocco's statement.
"We are sorry to lose him and grateful for his commitment to the agency," Nocco wrote, "but I know you will all join me in wishing him the very best for his future."
Nocco said the agency will be holding retirement parties for Radford on both the east and west side of the county.
His personnel file had few items because Radford has been a command staff member for his entire tenure with the agency. Deputies dealing with the public often get letters from citizens or agency-issued awards. Radford was always a boss and the one writing letters and performing reviews of others.
His application stated he was born in Pensacola and went to high school in nearby Gonzalez. He worked as a car mechanic and owned an auto parts store in Gulf Breeze before being hired in 1986 as an officer for the Florida Marine Patrol, the law enforcement division of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. By the time he left in January 2001, he had worked his way to the title of regional commander of criminal investigations for DEP.
Capt. Joseph Frontz, 55, will take the title of acting major and assume Radford's duties while Nocco decides what to do with the position permanently, Doll said.
"The sheriff is considering his options at this point," Doll said.
Frontz has been with the agency since 1988 and, before this new assignment, was the road patrol supervisor for the east side of the county and portions of central Pasco. His annual salary is $92,324. Doll said Frontz's salary has not changed because of the new duties.
By Thursday, Radford's name was already removed from the Sheriff's Office command staff list on the agency website.
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6229.