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PINELLAS COUNTY: SHERIFF

...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Three men are running for the countyês top law enforcement job. Sheriff Jim Coats seeks his second term. Former deputy Randall M. Jones hopes to unseat him. Gregory S. Pound has entered as a write-in candidate.

Jim Coats, Clearwater R Randall M. Jones, Clearwater D
Coats, 64, has 37 years of law enforcement experience, starting as a deputy. In 2004, when Everett Rice stepped down to join the state Legislature, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed then-deputy chief Coats as interim sheriff. He then won the election that year. He has twice been appointed to serve as an interim sheriff for departments in disarray, in Santa Rosa and Gulf counties. He also served as an interim police chief for Indian Rocks Beach. Experience Jones, 39, retired from the Sheriffês Office in April to launch his campaign. He spent 18 years at the department in various functions. As an investigator, he worked on domestic violence, crimes against children and burglary cases. He also served as a patrol deputy and a Community Policing Officer. His highest rank was corporal.
Bachelor of arts in criminology from Saint Leo University. Graduate of law enforcement academy. FBI National Academy. FBI National Executive Institute. Education Graduate of law enforcement academy. Attended classes at St. Petersburg College.
Improve funding for child protection investigations, which the Legislature has kept flat for four years. Improving efficiencies in the jail by converting to less staff-intensive wings. Planning for the next jail expansion. What are your priorities for the next four years? Gain and maintain the trust of the citizens. Restore prudent fiscal responsibility to the Sheriffês Office. Improve the working relationship the office has with law enforcement agencies.
Coats said Jones has no supervisory experience or command experience, and that Jones is not ready to lead an organization as large as the Sheriffês Office. "Iêm not trying to take anything away from him, but itês pretty clear that I am the most qualified candidate," Coats said. How do you assess your opponent? Jones said Coats is out of touch with the deputies and the citizenry. He called Coats irresponsible when earlier this year Coats said people would face imminent danger if the Sheriffês Office budget were cut by 10 percent.
The economy and current fiscal climate will put an even greater strain on the Sheriffês Office budget, Coats said. "Weêre looking at ways to reduce the budget, (or) at least minimize any increase that might be forthcoming," he said. "We continue to reorganize and look for ways to keep costs down." What are the biggest challenges to the agency? Jones said the Sheriffês Office lacks vision, is not transparent enough and fails to reflect the community it serves.
Home, boat, car, investments Assets Residence, vehicle, bank accounts
Loans, mortgage Liabilities Loans
$950,000 (approximate) Net worth $350,000 (approximate)
Annual salary of $160,166 and $103,132 from the Florida Retirement System Income Before resigning in April, Jones earned $62,579 annually.
Wife is Cathie Lynn Coats. One adult son. Personal Wife is Lisa Jones. Three school-age children.
www.jimcoatsforsheriff.com Web site http://jones2008.com/
jim@jimcoatsforsheriff.com E-mail jonesin4change@yahoo.com.
About the job: The sheriff is responsible for operation of the county jail, provides law enforcement in unincorporated Pinellas County and 12 municipalities and provides security at the St. Petersburg Clearwater International Airport. The office has more than 3,000 employees and a budget of roughly $260-million. The position pays $160,000 a year.

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