LEALMAN — Goodbye was one of the last things Deputy Jeremy Dressback told residents during the Lealman Community Association meeting earlier this month.
Dressback, one of the Lealman area's two community deputies, was scheduled to go back to patrol as a result of cuts in the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office budget, and the meeting was the last he was scheduled to attend.
But he'll be at next Wednesday's meeting as usual. He got a reprieve, so Lealman will keep both of its community deputies.
"Technically, I never left," Dressback said Tuesday.
Just days before he was scheduled to go back to patrol, Dressback was told that he'd be able to stay in the community patrol program. His was one of 19 positions Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats restored as a result of savings that came from eliminated positions and income from a contract to keep prisoners for the U.S. Marshals Service.
"It made me very happy," Dressback said. "I'm thrilled to be able to stay and work with Dan. … I'm glad the position's still there, because it's needed in Lealman."
Dan is Deputy Dan Doherty, Lealman's longtime community deputy, and a popular figure in the Lealman area.
Ray Neri, head of the LCA, said he is pleased that Dressback will stay. Neri and other LCA members had worried about how reduced coverage would affect the unincorporated area.
Dressback will not be the only draw at next Wednesday's meeting. The main speaker will be Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch. Any candidates for office who may show up can speak to the group for five minutes each. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 4145 34th St. N. For information, call Neri at 527-5352.