Hillsborough Sheriff election between Chad Chronister and Gary Pruitt: What you need to know

Republican Chad Chronister is an agency veteran appointed by the governor as Hillsborough sheriff. Democrat Gary Pruitt has 25 years of experience serving with the Tampa Police Department.
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister was appointed to the post last year and is running for his first full term as a republican. He faces Democrat Gary Pruitt, a former Tampa police corporal. [Times file]
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister was appointed to the post last year and is running for his first full term as a republican. He faces Democrat Gary Pruitt, a former Tampa police corporal. [Times file]
Published November 3 2018
Updated November 5 2018

WHO’S RUNNING
  • Chad Chronister started his law enforcement career in 1992 as a patrol deputy at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked as a detective, deputy commander of the Community Outreach Division, patrol district commander and most recently as a colonel overseeing the agency’s Department of Operational Support. In 2017 former Sheriff David Gee retired and asked the governor to appoint Chronister as interim sheriff, paving the way for him to run as the incumbent sheriff.
  • Gary Pruitt spent 25 years with the Tampa Police Department, working as a patrol officer and detective, and retired as a patrol squad corporal in 2015. He started that same year as director of security at Westfield Citrus Park mall, working for a private, California-based contractor called Professional Security Consultants. This is his first bid for political office.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
  • The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is the largest law enforcement agency in Florida’s fourth-largest county. It has a sworn force of about 2,000 and nearly 1,400 civilian employees. It’s fiscal year 2019 budget request was for about $433 million. It’s ratio of deputies-to-civilians was 1.3 per 1,000 in 2017, according to the agency, below the 2.4 national average.
  • Chronister opposes issuing body cameras to deputies because of the expense and privacy issues for deputies and civilians; wants to strengthen his agency’s ability to deal with  mental health issues; and has declined to join a protocol to hold immigrants for Immigration and Customs Enforcement after their local criminal charges have been resolved.
  • Pruitt supports issuing body cameras to deputies; would hire a diverse command staff to reflect the racial diversity of the county’s population; and wants to take a new look at the agency’s relationship with ICE.
WHAT YOU NEED TO READ

Click here to read the Tampa Bay Times voter guide, which will give you a breakdown of many of the 2018 races.

Follow @TMarreroTimes for coverage of the Hillsborough sheriff's race.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly Sheriff Chronister's approach to holding immigrants for ICE.

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