Pinellas County Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri visited the St. Pete Beach City Commission to talk about the possible contracting of the Sheriff’s Office to replace the St. Pete Beach Police.
After Gualtieri spoke, the city commission agreed unanimously to include the issue on the upcoming ballot.
Gualtieri began by pointing out three things he has learned about the contracting of the Sheriff’s office in other towns. The towns have saved money, residents will get good service and it’s an emotionally charged issue.
Gualtieri said that he came to state what the Sheriff’s Office could do, not try to sell anyone.
"I'm going to provide factual information and you decide the outcome," Gualtieri said.
If the decision went through, the deputies who would be assigned to St. Pete Beach would be working exclusively in St. Pete Beach, Gualtieri said.
Response times would stay the same because of the way all 911 dispatches work now. Currently, calls go to the Clearwater office and are transferred to the appropriate police station. With the Sheriff’s Office in place, it would just be directed to the St. Pete Beach branch of their department.
The plan proposed by Gualtieri would bring 14 sheriffs deputies, one community officer, one detective and 5 sergeant’s for 21 sworn officers working on St. Pete Beach.
St. Pete Beach police officers and support staff would be offered positions at the Sheriff's office, but they would not be stationed at St. Pete Beach from the get-go. First, they would have to undergo field training and spend time acclimating into the Sheriff's office.
Officers who switch to the Sheriff's office would be brought in at their current pay. Sergeants would not come in at sergeant’s though and would have to go back through the ranks.