Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee has announced his retirement, effective September 30, 2017.
He sent out an email to everyone in the Sheriff's Office saying the following:
After over 40 years of law enforcement service, I have decided to retire at the end of September. This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career. Each of my Sheriff's Office family and the citizens of our community is very important to me. I have dedicated my life to serving others and hope that I have served well.
Throughout the years, serving the community has been my priority and it has been an honor and privilege to serve with you by my side. Although law enforcement's reward is not tangible, it comes in the knowledge that each of you has made a difference for countless persons. Through your commitment to excellence, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is one of the best law enforcement agencies in the State of Florida as well as nationwide. I know that each of you will continue to serve and protect the citizens of Hillsborough County with the highest level of integrity and dedication.
I want to thank each of you for your remarkable service. It has been an honor and privilege for me to be your colleague, your friend and your extended family member. It is now time for me, however, to concentrate and devote my full attention and support to my family. I wish each of you well and ask that you continue to provide the level of commitment necessary in making this transition as smooth as possible.
"He didn't seek out the limelight," former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor told ABC Action News Friday. "He just went about doing the right thing everyday and he let his actions speak for themselves."
Chief Castor said Sheriff Gee was pivotal in unifying two agencies to help solve some of Tampa's most notorious crimes.
"The one that really comes to mind for me is when we had two officers killed in the line of duty," said Castor. "In essence he never left my side."
Sheriff Gee worked his way up through the ranks, starting his career as a patrol deputy at age 19.
"The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office was David Gee's life," said St. Pete Assistant Police Chief Jim Previtera.
Previtera worked under Sheriff Gee for nearly a decade. He believe Gee's legacy will be the agency's renewed focus on law enforcement training.
"He professionalized the agency, he pushed training to new levels and he set very high standards."
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi released the following statement about the retirement:
"For nearly four decades, Sheriff David Gee has served the citizens of Hillsborough County with humility, integrity and selflessnesssacrificing so much to protect the community we love. His dedication has earned him the reputation of being one of the hardest working, trustworthy and respected leaders in Florida. To this day, Sheriff Gee will still stop to assist a stranded motorist, or go out of his way help anyone in need. He is known for his soft-spoken, strong leadership and genuine compassion for the people he has sworn to protect. His career exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader. I am blessed to call Sheriff Gee one of my dearest friends and most trusted advisers. I so greatly admire the sacrifices both he and his wife, Rhonda, have made to ensure the safety and well-being of the people of Hillsborough County. His impact will last forever in our community."
Gee has been the Sheriff of Hillsborough County since 2004.