Ken Tallier, a Pasco County sheriff's detective who resigned in 1993, citing political harassment, is the first person to announce plans to run for sheriff in 1996.
The 54-year-old Republican filed preliminary papers Monday with the supervisor of elections to name a campaign treasurer and depository. However, the candidate qualifying period doesn't start until July 1996.
Tallier, now a parole and probation officer in Dade City, said he wanted to announce early to let county residents know he is sincere.
He said his leadership style would be different from that of Sheriff Lee Cannon, a Democrat.
"I will run the Sheriff's Office, not Harold Sample," Tallier said, referring to the sheriff's executive assistant. "I'm going to be a hands-on sheriff. The deputies will see me on the streets, and the citizens will see me."
Tallier has been highly active in Republican politics. He campaigned for County Commissioner Ed Collins, who repeatedly clashed with Cannon over the department's budget and operations.
As a Collins' campaigner in 1990, Tallier wore a lapel button stating, "Two down and three to go" _ a message advocating the defeat of Commissioners Ann Hildebrand and Sylvia Young and then-Commissioner Mike Wells.
He resigned from the Sheriff's Office in November 1993, saying he "was being picked on politically" by Cannon administration officials because of his Republican politics.
Tallier first announced his plans to run in early May at a Republican club meeting, when he said he would try to take politics out of the Sheriff's Office. He also said in May that he wouldn't fire any deputy because it should be a lifetime job.
The department's responsibility is to prevent crime, Tallier said, and the only way to increase safety is to put officers in the community.
"What I want to do is eliminate unnecessary positions and make road deputies out of them," Tallier said. "Wherever I go, I see people who say they never see deputies in their neighborhood."
He plans to eliminate two lieutenants and the entire rank of major, and hire an undersheriff to replace the chief assistant.
"I'm going to be able to put six or eight more deputies on the road and it won't cost a penny," Tallier said.
Tallier has been in law enforcement for 28 years _ 21 as a New York City police detective and seven as a Pasco County detective. He worked briefly at the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office before moving to Pasco County on Jan. 1, 1986. Tallier said he has been trained in narcotics investigations techniques, hostage negotiations and handling organized crime.