We interview Pinellas County Sheriff Robert Gualtieri. Sheriff Gualtieri’s office has been dealing with drug addicts and trafficking for decades. He says that expecting law enforcement to be the solution to substance abuse is like putting the proverbial finger in the dike. It’s way too late on the chain. What is needed is prevention, education and treatment.
Bob Gualtieri is the 14th sheriff of Pinellas County in its 104 year history. He was appointed sheriff in 2011 and elected and re-elected in 2012 and 2016, respectively. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s office is the 15th largest sheriff’s office in the country with approximately 3,000 employees and an annual budget that exceeds $300 million.
He began his law enforcement and public service career as a detention deputy working in the Pinellas County jail. After attending the police academy, he joined the Dunedin Police Department as a patrol officer and later rejoined the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office as a law enforcement deputy. Over the next 15 years, Sheriff Gualtieri served in many different components of the agency, including several years conducting domestic and international drug trafficking investigations as part of a DEA task force.