George S. Steffen
About the Pinellas
County Sheriff’s Office
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, “As
a constitutional officer, the sheriff in Florida is elected for a term of four years and is governed by the Florida Constitution
and the law. The duties of the office are specifically laid out in Florida Statute Chapter 30.
Although the nature and scope of law enforcement have evolved with the rising population and changing times, the sheriff’s
core of duties as outlined in Chapter 30 has remained fairly constant over the years.
The most recognizable aspect of the sheriff’s duties is law enforcement.
The sheriff is chief law enforcement officer of the county – Chapter 30 specifically designates the sheriffs
as the “conservators of the peace in their counties.” The sheriffs are also responsible for service of all legal
process (writs, warrants, subpoenas, and other legal documents) directed to them by the courts or the county commissioners.
Other responsibilities of the sheriff include keeper of the county jail and provider of court security.
In Pinellas County that means the sheriff is responsible for over 3,600 inmates at any one time. Additionally,
every arrested person is booked at the Pinellas County jail facility located on 49th Street in Clearwater – nearly 50,000
persons are booked annually. At all court facilities, the bailiffs who provide court security are all certified
law enforcement officers working within the sheriff’s office. The Pinellas County sheriff also provides several other
countywide services to include Sexual Predator and Offender Tracking (SPOT), Flight, Civil Process, Fugitives
and Child Protection Investigation.
To aid in executing these duties, the sheriff employs support staff who work throughout
the agency in a variety of positions from computer programmer to fingerprint technician. Including law
enforcement deputies, detention deputies, bailiffs, and support personnel, the total number of employees in the sheriff’s
office: well over 3,000 employees – positions it as one of Pinellas County’s top ten employers.”