ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has been named "Sheriff of the Year" by the National Sheriffs' Association.

Gualtieri will receive the 2019 Ferris E. Lucas Sheriff of the Year award for "his contribution to the law enforcement" community. The sheriffs' association said it's recognizing Gualtieri for making "outstanding contributions to law enforcement and the criminal justice profession."

"Sheriff Gualtieri embodies what this award was created to recognize," NSA Executive Director Jonathan Thompson said in a release. "Not only are there no limits or obstacles for him in keeping his community safe but he has continually answered the call as a national leader on the biggest issues facing law enforcement across the country."

Gualtieri began his law enforcement career in 1982 as a detention deputy in the Pinellas County jail. From there, he joined the Dunedin Police Department and then rejoined the sheriff's office as a deputy.

The sheriff also earned a law degree from Stetson University and was admitted to the Florida bar. During his career in private practice in Tampa, he specialized in labor and employment defense.

Gualtieri returned to the sheriff's office in 2006 as general counsel and was appointed chief deputy in 2007.

He was then appointed sheriff in 2011 and was elected and re-elected in 2012 and 2016, respectively.

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