Coats, who has been sheriff since 2004, said he plans on stepping aside to allow his chief deputy, Robert Gualtieri, to run. He said he will support Gualtieri in that bid.
The news comes on the heels of an announcement last week by former longtime sheriff Everett Rice that he plans to run for the office.
But Coats, 67, said that Rice’s plan did not affect his decision, one he’s been pondering for the last nine months or so.
Coats gave a variety of reasons for his decision, including the fact that he will be 69 years old when he finishes his current term, he’s served in law enforcement for 40 years and the job is a demanding one.
“Seven days a week, sometimes,” he said.
Coats said he’s “been to a lot of funerals lately, it seems.”
Those losses have made him realize, he said, that “Maybe there’s another side to life I need to be exploring.”
Continue reading this storyhere. Sheriff Coats’ statement:
To All Members,
Today I am announcing that I am not going to seek another term as Sheriff. My decision is a result of much thought and discussion with my wife Cat and the rest of my family.
I intend to serve out the rest of my term, and upon retirement will have served 41 years with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
I would like to extend my thanks to each of you for your hard work and support over the years. We have made the most of the good times and you have worked above and beyond to help us be successful through the difficult times.
Again, thank you all for your service and support. Our work will continue to ensure that the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office continues to provide the best in public safety and public service.