By Tamas Mondovics

As the news of tropical storm Irma forming in the Caribbean reached area residents, another major development took place in Hillsborough County.

Governor Rick Scott appointed Col. Chad Chronister, 49, as sheriff of Hillsborough County.

The much anticipated and expected appointment was the result of the early retirement of Hillsborough County’s highly respected and much-admired Sheriff David Gee, who ended a 39-year law enforcement career and left the office on September 30.

“Sheriff Gee has devoted his life to protecting Florida families, including the last thirteen years as Hillsborough County Sheriff, and I’m incredibly grateful for his service,” Scott said. “I’m honored to announce that following Sheriff Gee’s retirement, I am appointing Colonel Chad Chronister as Hillsborough County Sheriff. Colonel Chronister has spent 25 years in the sheriff’s office, rising through the ranks and proving himself to be a strong leader who exemplifies the office’s mission to serve, protect, and defend Florida families. I’m confident that he will continue Sheriff Gee’s great work in Hillsborough County.”

Also present during the ceremonial appointment, and joined by Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said, “Colonel Chronister’s decades of public service are a demonstration of remarkable law enforcement experience, leadership, community involvement, proven character and outstanding integrity.”

Gee emphasized that thanks to his qualifications and capabilities Chronister is the right person to serve as Hillsborough County’s next sheriff.

“I’d like to thank Governor Scott for his commitment to public safety and support of our state’s law enforcement as we serve and protect our communities. I have been truly honored to serve the citizens of Florida and Hillsborough County,” Gee said.

Chronister joined the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in 1992 as a patrol deputy and has served in specialty units and leadership roles, including his current position as Commander of the Department of Operational Support.

Chronister also serves his community as a board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, Friends of Hillsborough County Animal Services, Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, the Jason Ackerman Foundation, More Health, Inc. and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. Chronister received his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Criminology from St. Leo University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy’s 260th session.
Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Chronister’s law enforcement philosophy includes that a law enforcement officer must always have an open mind.

“To Serve and Protect’’ will always be our mission,” he said adding that the key to successful policing is partnerships, from the neighborhoods to the civic associations to the charities to the other governmental agencies.

“I want to be a sheriff for all people,” he said. “I am ready, willing and able to guide the sheriff’s office into the bright future. We have reduced crime for 10 straight years through working hard and working smart, and always with our community partners, and all in the face of a growing population.

Chronister hopes to expand the agency’s youth mentoring/intervention partnerships, such as the one with the Boys & Girls Clubs, to focus even more on the children.

Col. Chronister’s appointment will become effective on October 1. He will remain sheriff until the next general election set for November 2018.

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