Sheriff Candidate Scott Swope: Why I Moved to Palm Harbor
Did you know that Pinellas County Sheriff Candidate Scott Swope lives here in Palm Harbor? He took some time from his busy schedule to tell us about his family, his busy campaign, and what he likes about living in Palm Harbor.
- Pinellas County Sheriff Candidate Scott Swope, 43, Democrat
- Occupation: Attorney
- Spouse: Margie, 32
- Kids: Eric, 12 and Rachel, 9
How long have you lived in Palm Harbor? Three years.
Why did you move to Palm Harbor? Palm Harbor is a wonderful community and the schools are A-rated.
What is your favorite thing about Palm Harbor? Palm Harbor has a small town feel.
What is your favorite thing to do with your family? Traveling to new places.
What time does your average day start and what time does it end? I usually wake up before 7 a.m. to make breakfast for my children and get them off to school. I work in my law practice for a few hours, then spend the rest of the day campaigning. In the evening, I make dinner and help my children with their homework. After putting my children to bed, I spend time with my wife.
How does your family help out, when it comes to your campaign? My wife is my campaign manager, so she spends a lot of time working on my campaign. My children help with sign waving, passing out literature, and supporting me at candidate forums and debates. My extended family and in-laws help with campaign contributions, sign waiving, and passing out literature.
What is the one thing that surprised you when meeting people during your campaign? I was surprised to hear all of the stories from people who have personally experienced a negative interaction with the sheriff’s office. We have many, many citizens who have a very negative impression of the sheriff’s office and believe that the interim sheriff is corrupt.
Why should citizens vote for you? Interim sheriff Gualtieri has mismanaged the sheriff’s office and failed to focus on public safety. As Chief Deputy, Gualtieri eliminated the specialized unit responsible for serving arrest warrants. As a result, Pinellas leads the Tampa Bay area in outstanding arrest warrants with 56,000 total and more than 14,000 felonies. Not only would I immediately reinstate the fugitive section, I published a 10-point plan to reduce the number of outstanding arrest warrants. So many fugitives roaming our streets is a public safety nightmare and it’s about time something was done about it.
Gualtieri eliminated the DUI enforcement squad, then in the months prior to the election started engaging in gestapo-like roadblocks. On average, the DUI enforcement squad used to arrest more than 800 drunk drivers a year. The DUI checkpoints started by Gualtieri have netted less than 50 drunk drivers this year. Thousands of innocent motorists have been unnecessarily detained without probable cause. I would immediately reinstate the DUI enforcement squad and I would never allow roadblocks, which I believe are an unconstitutional invasion of our rights.
Gualtieri wasted tens of thousands of dollars going after Internet sweepstakes cafes and investigating a legal business called Simply Hydroponics in a failed attempt to catch people growing marijuana in their homes. Meanwhile, Pinellas County led the state in oxycodone-related deaths and was known as the “pill mill capital” of the state. It was reckless for Gualtieri to focus on non-violent marijuana users when people were losing their lives to prescription drugs. I would focus the narcotics division on dangerous drugs, including pill mills.
The citizens of Pinellas County deserve a sheriff who will focus our limited resources on public safety while maintaining a strict adherence to the Constitution. I have the business experience and education, the law enforcement experience, and the temperament necessary to lead the Sheriff’s Office and keep Pinellas County safe.