NEW PORT RICHEY — Col. Brian Head, second-in-command at the Pasco Sheriff's Office, abruptly retired on Monday.
Sheriff Chris Nocco confirmed the retirement Tuesday afternoon but did not announce a successor.
Head, 48, was a major in charge of the jail in 2011 when the previous sheriff, Bob White, retired midterm. Head was considered a front-runner for Gov. Rick Scott's appointment to finish the term, but it went to Nocco. He announced Head as his chief deputy and promptly named him a colonel.
Voters elected Nocco to a four-year term last year.
Head's retirement is one in a number of changes in Nocco's command staff since he took office.
In September 2011, Maj. Maurice Radford abruptly retired and did not give a reason at the time. (He later went on to run against Nocco in the Republican primary for sheriff.)
In October 2011, Nocco tapped Jeffrey Harrington, then-chief of New Port Richey police, to become a major at the Sheriff's Office.
This February, he named the succeeding New Port Richey police chief, James Steffens, to chief forensic investigator.
Other members of the sheriff's top brass include Maj. Ed Beckman, who moved into Head's position overseeing the jail when he was promoted, and Capt. John Corbin, head of the criminal investigation division.
Just last week, while Nocco was attending a law enforcement conference in Quantico, Va., he called on Head to take command of the agency in his absence. By Monday, Head was gone.
He could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. When asked about the sudden retirement, Nocco said, "He did a great job for us, and I just wish him all the best in his retirement."
Head was first hired in February 2001. He grew up in Michigan and came to Florida after his high school graduation in 1983, according to his personnel file. He worked in computers until getting hired by the Florida Department of Corrections in 1987. He rose to the rank of senior inspector and worked there until he was hired by the Pasco Sheriff's Office.
When Nocco named Head his chief deputy, he issued a statement to employees: "One of my first priorities as your sheriff is to establish a viable chain-of-command that fosters communication and provides strong leadership, service and support to all members of the agency."
On Tuesday, in an agencywide memo, Nocco said: "On behalf of the entire Pasco Sheriff's Office, I would like to thank Colonel Brian Head for over a decade of outstanding service to our agency. He has been a leader in the law enforcement community for 27 years. It is with great sadness that we will see him retire from his position as the agency's Chief Deputy. His commitment to the citizens of Pasco County and the members of this agency will be missed."
Contact Alex Orlando at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6247.