Meet Eliseo Santana
Eliseo is a father, a community leader, and an Army Veteran. He retired from the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office with 31 years of service implementing technology and modernizing policing in our community. He knows that changing the culture of law enforcement in our community starts at the top. That’s why he’s running for Sheriff.
After serving our country in the Army, Eliseo joined the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office. Immediately, he encountered racism from superiors in the administration. On his first day, he was told “we don’t want you here, you don’t fit” by a high ranking official in the administration at the time. He was passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified colleagues. Eliseo worked to implement technology in the Sheriff’s Office – but his suggestions to modernize the office were pushed aside.
Eventually, he undertook a major project to use cameras and audio equipment for Sheriff’s deputies. It seemed like common sense to Eliseo – utilizing this technology would protect officers from false accusations and build trust and transparency in the communities they serve. Like most of his other suggestions, the idea was shelved by his superiors. Years later, the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office still refuses to implement body cameras for its officers.
Seeing the resistance to change, reform, and modernization prompted Eliseo to run for Sheriff. He believes that changing the culture of policing starts at the top. That means instilling values like service, security, and compassion with officers and ending the militarization of our domestic police force. He also believes we need to transition away from the violent “domination tactics” of the Sheriff’s Office. By utilizing social workers, community policing, de-escalation tactics, and limiting the use of armed intervention, we can end bloodshed and create a Sheriff’s Office we can all be proud of.