Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm represent men, women, and juveniles arrested by a law enforcement officer with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. We also handle risk protection orders filed by this agency.
In addition, our attorneys fight civil asset forfeiture actions involving the seizure of U.S. Currency, vehicles, or other valuable property by PCSO.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is led by Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, PCSO’s elected leader. PCSO is responsible for patrolling the unincorporated areas of Pinellas County and the following contract cities:
- Belleair Beach
- Belleair Bluffs
- Indian Rocks Beach
- Madeira Beach
- North Redington Beach
- Redington Beach
- Safety Harbor
- South Pasadena
- St. Pete Beach
According to the 2021 annual report of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, PCSO is the largest law enforcement agency in the county. PCSO has more than 2,800 employees, with nearly 850 sworn law enforcement officers and 700 sworn detention members.
Most of our cases involve an arrest by a deputy with the patrol operations at PCSO, including one of the following units:
- DUI Unit
- Community Policing
- Flight Unit
- K-9 Unit
- Marine & Environmental Lands Units
- School Resource Officer Unit
- Uniform Patrol
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office manages the jail with more than 4,000 beds. Pinellas County Jail (PCJ) inmates are held before trial or while under a sentence for a felony or misdemeanor crime. The four facilities of the PCJ include the North, South, Health, and Central divisions.
PCSO is also responsible for law enforcement services at the jail facilities and provides courthouse security for Florida’s 6th Judicial Circuit.
Attorney for Felony, Misdemeanor, or DUI Arrest by PCSO
If you were arrested by an officer with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm.
We represent clients arrested for a felony, misdemeanor, or DUI, throughout Pinellas County, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Largo, Pinellas Park, Kenneth City, and Indian Shores
We are familiar with the tactics used by officers with law enforcement agencies in Pinellas County, including the PCSO.
Sammis Law Firm’s main office is in downtown Tampa, FL. We have additional offices in Clearwater at 14010 Roosevelt Blvd Suite 701, Clearwater, FL 33762-3820.
Don’t face the judge alone. Contact our experienced criminal defense lawyers for Pinellas County, FL.
Obtaining Body Worn Camera Recordings from the Sheriff’s Office in Pinellas County
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office maintains body-worn camera recordings on Evidence.com for PCSO cases only. This evidence may be obtained during the discovery process when criminal charges are pending by emailing email@example.com with a copy of the Answer to Demand and the notice of appearance for the criminal defense attorney of record.
After confirming the attorney of record, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will email you a link to access the evidence. To avoid delay, please ensure that you send the correct offense report number.
You should also send a demand to preserve any video in the case, even if the officers did not label the video under the correct offense report number. Suppose you know the name of the officer. In that case, you can request all of their body-worn camera footage during a particular time period, even if it is not associated with the correct offense report number.
Your attorney can also help you obtain video surveillance video from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office jail if needed.
PCSO DUI Arrest by the Work Pack
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office conducts County-Wide DUI Work Pack operations throughout the year. The officers that participate in the Wolf-Pack investigations are part of the DUI unit and Traffic Enforcement Unit of the patrol operations bureau of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
DUI enforcement officers with the PCSO also work closely with officers in the Florida Highway Patrol and local police departments in Pinellas County, including:
- Tarpon Springs Police Department
- Clearwater Police Department
- Largo Police Department
- Pinellas Park Police Department
- St. Petersburg Police Department
- Kenneth City Police Department
- Indian Shores Police Department
The work pack DUI operations are part of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s ongoing commitment to making DUI arrests for drunk or impaired driving. Read more about PCSO’s Standard Operating Procedures for DUI investigations.
PCSO DUI Awards from MADD
Each year, deputies in the DUI Unit of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office are invited to attend the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Florida Law Enforcement Recognition Ceremony And Training Symposium and Award Ceremony.
MADD also offered valuable training for law enforcement, first responders, breath alcohol technicians, prosecutors, and other MADD mission supporters. The awards increase MADD’s reach in Pinellas County as they expand their law enforcement support, prevention programs, and underage drinking programs.
In 2018, the following officers were in attendance or received an award from MADD:
- Agency Inspector Malcolm Deane – hired on 05/07/2001
- Deputy Joshua Ricottilli – hired on 03/18/2013
- Deputy Nathan Mowatt – hired on 08/04/2014
- Deputy Damon Laney – hired on 02/10/2012
- Deputy Alexander Ellis – hired on 10/20/2014
- Deputy Christopher Amatruda – hired on 07/18/2016
- Corporal Stephen Kaselak – hired on 03/19/2007
- Sergeant Mark Eastty – hired on 01/23/2006
On Friday, July 27, 2018, the following DUI Unit members were presented with the following awards during a ceremony and banquet hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving:
- The Century Award for making more than one hundred DUI arrests in the 2017 calendar year was awarded to:
- Deputy Damon Laney
- Deputy Alexander Ellis
- Corporal Stephen Kaselak
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office DUI Unit received MADD Florida’s 2017 award for Outstanding Dedication to DUI Enforcement for a Large/Urban Agency.
In 2016, Pinellas DUI Deputies received awards At MADD’s 1st Annual “Thank You Pinellas” held at the Gulfport Casino at 5500 Shore Boulevard South in Gulfport, FL. The following seven members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office DUI Unit received awards at the ceremony:
- Sergeant Michael Paniagua – hired on 07/23/03
- Corporal Ronald Blair – hired on 09/25/06
- Deputy Tiffany Ashcom – hired on 05/20/13
- Deputy Vinny Galati – hired on 09/09/13
- Deputy Stephen Kaselak – hired Ono 03/19/07
- Deputy Compton Persaud – hired on 05/22/06
- Deputy Wayne Wagner – hired on 10/20/14
According to the PCSO press release, Sergeant Michael Paniagua received the MADD’s Outstanding Dedication to Fight Drugged Driving Award award. The award recognized Sergeant Paniagua’s role in coordinating, planning, and instructing portions of the Drug Recognition Expert School in Pinellas.
The Century Award for making over one hundred DUI arrests in the 2015 calendar year was awarded to Deputy Wayne Wagner, Deputy Compton Persaud, Deputy Stephen Kaselak, Deputy Vinny Galati, Deputy Tiffany Ashcom, and Corporal Ronald Blair.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was also recognized for being a presenting partner at the Pinellas Walk Like MADD event that was held on November 21, 2015.
Seizures for Forfeiture by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
What does the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office do with funds it receives from forfeitures?
In the equitable sharing agreement ending in FY 9/30/2011, the sheriff’s office used $1,772,920.00 of the funds for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Firing Range. PCSO paid a large portion of those funds to Action Target, which installed a total containment trap with a screw conveyor collection method.
Since 2013, Shannon Lockheart has served as General Counsel at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, where she manages PCSO’s legal and risk staff, including forfeiture actions.
Rules for Attorney Visits at the Jail in Pinellas County, FL
Attorneys can visit their clients at the jail in Pinellas County, FL. The jail recently changed the rules to require that all professional visits occur between 0600-1800 (6 a.m. -6 p.m.), Monday through Friday, unless special permission is obtained.
Professional visits by attorneys are not permitted on weekends, after hours, or on observed holidays without authorization from the Housing Division Commander or designee.
South Division Attorney Visitation is open from 0830-1600 Monday-Friday. All visits are conducted on a first-come, first-served bases. No inmates with special security concerns, such as Juvenile Inmates, Female Inmates, Red Dot Inmates, or Inmates on Protective Custody, will be authorized to attend visits in Attorney Visitation.
Instead, all such visits must take place in the housing wing. Detention staff have the authority to restrict any visit to the housing wing based on an inmate’s behavior or other security concerns. No rooms or timeframes will be reserved.
No cell phones or internet capabilities are authorized at any time during the attorneys visit or while in the secure portion of the facility. If an attorneys asks to use a laptop during a visit with an inmate (usually to watch video evidence together), the attorney must ensure all internet capabilities are disabled before they arrive and that those capabilities remain disabled for the duration of the visit.
Items left with the inmate, such as discovery, paperwork, or any other item, must be dropped off in Inmate Property. Nothing should be left with an inmate. The Public Lobby Staff on duty can assist with depositing items into an inmate’s property.
Pinellas Remove Intoxicated Drivers (RID) – RID assists officers with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office during DUI Checkpoints and DUI Wolf Packs by providing food and drinks for the law enforcement officers participating in each event. Other organizations participating in PCSO Wolf Pack Operations include Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), Chaplains Outreach Ministries, and the Suncoast Safety Council.
Video Leads to Two PCSO Deputies Being Suspended – Two deputies at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Willie Jordan Jr., and Deputy Kenneth Rowe, were recently disciplined with suspensions after a video surfaced of them attempting to humiliate inmates by shoving them against a glass wall and ordering them to wait with their foreheads pressed against the glass. At the same time, they taped signs to their back that said something like: “I’m an idiot. I can’t stop messing with the guards. I can’t get right.” Then other inmates were encouraged to walk by so they would see the signs and the inmates being humiliated.
This article was last updated on Friday, September 2, 2022.