As the Treasurer of the Florida Sheriffs Association, Bob Gualtieri has become a ubiquitous presence in recent years in Tallahassee during the legislative session, advocating for or against bills involving law enforcement.
First selected as Pinellas County Sheriff in 2011, Gualtieri survived an intense battle for the job against former sheriff Everett Rice in 2012, before easily winning reelection last fall. He’s been frequently in the news this year when it comes to immigration issues.
For years, Gualtieri has push backed on the notion that Pinellas is a “sanctuary county,” even chiding Rick Kriseman when the mayor said that St. Petersburg was a ‘sanctuary from harmful federal immigration laws.”
But it was that same Gualtieri who criticized Immigration and Customs Enforcement after they insisted that sheriffs detain illegal immigrants in their local jails past the time period legally allowed under their local charges.
Gualtieri said he is sworn to follow the law, even when it’s inconvenient.
“The federal government also must follow the law even when it’s inconvenient, and it is wrong for the federal government to ask sheriffs to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the law that we are sworn to uphold by illegally keeping people in our jails,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Tampa Bay Times.
Gualtieri ranked No.7 on last year’s list.
Joe Henderson’s Take
“Gualtieri has quietly become a force for common sense law enforcement. He doesn’t seek the spotlight in a way that Polk’s Grady Judd does, but when asked a straightforward question he’ll give you a straight answer without a whit’s concern for whose feathers are ruffled. He was ranked No. 7 last year. This is an august group, but I wouldn’t have dropped him so far.”
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.