In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Bob Gualtieri
Office: Pinellas County Sheriff
I started my law enforcement career 38 years ago and have served in every component of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, including as Chief Deputy and General Counsel. In addition to being a law enforcement officer I am also a lawyer.
Why should voters vote for you?
I am the only candidate in the race with actual law enforcement/policing experience; experience running the county jail and management experience. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has budget that exceeds $400 million and over 2,800 employees. It is imperative that the sheriff have proven law enforcement, management and fiscal management experience. Moreover, I have demonstrated that I can keep Pinellas County safe. Since I have been in office and over the last 10 years we have reduced crime in our service area by 49.5%.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
To continue with crime reduction efforts and agency accountability by advancing technology, including the use of body cameras. To establish a Real Time Crime Center and a Threat Management Unit to better manage community threats.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
We need to continue reducing crime; we need to build better community relationships; and we must have agency accountability to further community trust.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
All areas related to law enforcement and criminal justice.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
Overall, we have handled it well but if I had it to do over again I would not have relaxed the restrictions as quickly as we did in May. It was too fast and resulted in a surge in cases. I also would have encouraged people to wear face coverings earlier.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
Continue to work with advocates and community leaders to gain a better understanding of the issues and concerns and work collaboratively to find common ground where changes can be effected.
What motivates you to run for public office?
A desire to serve and keep Pinellas County a safe place to live.