LEALMAN — The top of the cake said it all: Congratulations Dan Doherty (and) Welcome Back, Jeremy Dressback.
Congratulations because Doherty, the longtime community policing officer in the unincorporated Lealman area, has gotten what the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office calls a reassignment. Most other people would call it a promotion. He has gone from deputy to corporal.
Dressback, Lealman's other community policing officer, was scheduled to be transferred because of budget cuts, but he and the community got a last minute reprieve. He's staying in Lealman.
The cake was the centerpiece of a table full of food at Wednesday's meeting of the Lealman Community Association. It showed the affection the community feels for its community policing officers.
Doherty, in particular, is extremely popular in Lealman. He will have expanded duties in his new position overseeing and coordinating some community policing activities in south Pinellas communities, including High Point, Rainbow Village, the city of Seminole, the unincorporated Seminole area, greater Ridgecrest and the Starkey Road area. He will also oversee community policing in places like the French Villas in the western portion of Lealman.
But Doherty will maintain his presence in Lealman.
"They're definitely not losing me," he said. "My responsibilities will change."
Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Marianne Pasha agreed, saying, "His home base, so to speak, will still be in Lealman."
And Lealman will get another community policing officer to take over Doherty's current duties. Pasha said no one has been chosen and the replacement is not likely be announced until after Oct. 1, when the new fiscal year begins.