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Pinellas County Sheriff candidates speak at League of Women Voters virtual forum [Video]

Jaymi Butler



The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area held its second Thursday Nights With The League virtual forum September 10, featuring a discussion with the two candidates for Pinellas County Sheriff. They are: 

  • Bob Gualtieri, the Republican incumbent who has served as Sheriff since 2011 when he was appointed to the position by Governor Rick Scott. He has since served as chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission and the president of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.
  • Eliseo Santana, a Democrat who worked as worked for more than 30 years as a communications maintenance supervisor at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office before stepping down in 2012. Since that time, he’s served as a community activist, heading up the local chapters of both LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and Puerto Rico Connect.

During the discussion, the panelists answered questions from the moderator, local attorney Tamara Felton-Howard, on the recruitment of new deputies, training recruits in de-escalation tactics, strategies for combating human trafficking and their interpretation of what it means to defund law enforcement. The candidates also shared their thoughts on how they’d prevent mass shootings in schools, areas in which the department can improve, their positions on the protests and how they would define success in four years. 

Future forums include the candidates for Pinellas County Commission (Sept. 17), the candidates for Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections (Sept. 24) and candidates for the Pinellas County Tax Collector (Oct. 1). For more information, click here.

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