Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. St. Petersburg

St. Pete assistant chief among finalists for Tallahassee’s top cop

Antonio Gilliam, who oversees the department’s investigative services bureau, said he couldn’t ignore an opportunity to lead his hometown police department.
St. Petersburg police Assistant Chief Antonio Gilliam is one of three finalists for chief of the Tallahassee Police Department. Gilliam has spent his career in St. Pete but was born and raised in Tallahassee. [Courtesy of Antonio Gilliam] [Courtesy of Antonio Gilliam]
St. Petersburg police Assistant Chief Antonio Gilliam is one of three finalists for chief of the Tallahassee Police Department. Gilliam has spent his career in St. Pete but was born and raised in Tallahassee. [Courtesy of Antonio Gilliam] [Courtesy of Antonio Gilliam]
Published Nov. 12

St. Petersburg police Assistant Chief Antonio Gilliam is one of three finalists for a vacant chief position in Tallahassee.

Gilliam, who started his career with St. Pete police in 2001, is the only external candidate who made the cut, narrowed down from an initial 52 applicants. But his ties to the capitol city run deep. Gilliam, 41, was born and raised there, and graduated from Florida State University with a criminology degree. His mother and several other family members still live there.

While he intended to spend the rest of his career in St. Pete, he said recently, he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to lead his hometown department, especially as the city grapples with high crime. Leon County, in which Tallahassee is the largest city, has had the highest crime rate in Florida for five consecutive years, state data shows.

RELATED: Meet St. Petersburg’s two new assistant police chiefs

“As successful as we’ve been in St. Pete, it’s hard to see stuff that’s going on at home,” he said. “I know I won’t be happy until Tallahassee reaches its full potential.”

The search for a new chief began over the summer when former Chief Michael DeLeo resigned after a tumultuous tenure. His departure came amid a multi-agency effort to curb a rash of gun violence this year, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

The two internal finalists are Maj. Lawrence Revell, who oversees the criminal investigations bureau and has spent his nearly 30-year career in Tallahassee, and Maj. Lonnie Scott Jr., who runs the administrative services bureau. Scott joined Tallahassee police in 2014 after 30 years at the Gainesville Police Department.

Gilliam started in St. Pete as a patrol officer and later became an undercover vice and narcotics detective. He was promoted to sergeant in 2008, lieutenant in 2010 and major in 2015, before becoming assistant chief of investigative services last year.

The St. Petersburg Police Department held a promotion ceremony last year. Among those promotions were new Assistant Chiefs Joseph Dente (left) and Antonio Gilliam. [BOYZELL HOSEY | Times]

He’s involved in several community organizations, including the Men in the Making mentoring program and the Pinellas County Substance Abuse Advisory Board. He’s married with two children.

If chosen for the Tallahasse job, Gilliam said he would work to reduce crime and bring more unity to the city by replicating initiatives he feels have worked in St. Pete, such as the Park, Walk and Talk community policing program. He’d also ramp up the department’s recruiting and hiring process and call on his officers to mentor kids in the community.

“I just want to bring a lot of common sense ideas,” he said.

The next step in the selection process are candidate presentations and a meet-and-greet with the public on Nov. 18 in Tallahassee. The city manager will decide who gets the job.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Mark Edward Allen, 60, was sentenced in federal court on Friday to 5 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Allen was arrested in June and charged with leaving an explosive device on the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System campus May 29. [Pinelllas County Sheriff's Office]
    Mark Edward Allen, 60, was sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to VA bomb scare
  2. Kerry Kriseman, right, beside husband Mayor Rick Kriseman. Kerry Kriseman announced Friday she has cancer. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
    Kerry Kriseman announced the news Friday on Facebook. She said the prognosis is good.
  3. Blake Faine is charged with DUI manslaughter. His booking photo on that charge was not available Friday afternoon. This is a booking photo from a 2018 arrest. [Pinellas County Jail]
    A 71-year-old woman, Dorothy Wertz, was killed in the crash on Tuesday night.
  4. Florida Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg, joins other environmentalists at the Sierra Club Friday to ask Gov. Ron DeSantis to dedicate at least $300 million to land conservation. [Caitlin Johnston]
    A bill in the Senate proposes dedicating $100 million to conservation efforts, but activists want the state to spend triple that amount.
  5. Tech Data CEO Rich Hume (left) shares a moment with his predecessor, Bob Dutkowsky, during a send-off celebration for Dutkowsky on June 7, 2018 at the company's 
 headquarters in Largo. At the time, Tech Data had already received the first in what would become a series of purchase offers from New York-based private equity giant Apollo Global Management. Along the way, Dutkowsky would play a key role in negotiations with Apollo. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times (2018)
    Apollo Global Management has been trying to buy Tech Data for a year and a half. Along the way, four other companies were interested, too. Two made offers.
  6. Traffic backing up on southbound Interstate 275 on the Howard Frankland Bridge Thursday evening after the Florida Highway Patrol said a fatal crash took place hours earlier. [Florida Department of Transportation]
    The collision of two pickups left traffic snarled for hours.
  7. Pinellas County Commission chairwoman Karen Seel said a Tampa economic development group's recent decision to put "Tampa Bay" into its name "does great harm to the progress we have made on regional collaboration."
    But in Tampa, the chief executive officer of the nonprofit, government-supported economic development group is giving no sign of backing off the new name.
  8. Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia, who played 19 seasons before injuries ended his career this fall, greets children attending the Yankees holiday concert at the Straz Center in Tampa on Thursday. Sabathia was joined by his wife Amber, right. [New York Yankees]
    Long-time host and retired news anchor John Wilson passed the torch this year to a new emcee, his son Mark Wilson.
  9. Council member Ed Montanari, left, was elected St. Petersburg City Council chair for 2020. Council member Gina Driscoll was voted vice-chair. [Times (2019)]
    The chairman guides the council through meetings and generally speak last on issues.
  10. St. Petersburg officials are looking for residents to volunteer on city boards and committees.
    Residents interested in volunteering on boards should email mayor@stpete.org.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement