The City of Tampa, with a population of 350,000, is the third largest city in the State of Florida and serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County.  It is located on Florida’s west coast on Tampa Bay near the Gulf of Mexico and is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a combined population of 2.9 million residents. The city covers approximately 116 square miles and comprises historic districts, business districts, and dozens of residential neighborhoods.

From its vibrant and rapidly expanding urban core to its diverse neighborhoods, Tampa is home to a blend of cultures and traditions that make up the unique fabric of the community.  Since the 1950s when cigar factories were common here, the Tampa downtown business district continues to attract new businesses. Major banks and corporations are located along Hillsborough Bay and have helped Tampa to evolve into a multicultural, diverse business center attracting people from all over the world. Tampa’s economy is founded on a diverse base that includes tourism, agriculture, construction, finance, health care, government, technology, and the Port of Tampa.  Numerous public-private partnerships, such as the Tampa Downtown Partnership, cultivate economic development and advocacy that promote vibrant neighborhoods in which to live and work.  Over the past two decades, the City of Tampa has been transformed into a true waterfront city with the development of the Riverwalk that has revitalized the heart of downtown.  In addition, Tampa’s warm weather allows for nearly year-round access to an array of outdoor activities.

Tampa is a city that has recently been recognized as a top city for entrepreneurs (Forbes), the best city in the southeast (Money Magazine), one of the hottest cities for startups (Fortune), a top city to invest in housing (Forbes), and one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country (U.S. Census).  Tampa currently ranks among the top cities where homebuyers have maximum purchase power (National Mortgage News). In addition, Tampa is one of the safest cities of its size on the entire east coast.


City Government

Tampa is governed under a “strong mayor” form of government.  The Mayor of Tampa is the chief executive officer of city government and is elected in four-year terms, with a limit of two consecutive terms.  The Police Chief is a member of the Mayor’s Executive Staff and reports directly to the Mayor.  The current mayor is Bob Buckhorn, who took office in April 2011.  The City Council has seven members, four of whom are elected from designated City Districts, with the other three elected at-large (serving citywide).


The Police Department

The Tampa Police Department (TPD) employs 969 sworn officers and 262 civilian personnel. With a budget of $159M, TPD has enjoyed stable leadership, community support and significant crime reduction for many years. TPD is decentralized into three districts throughout the city.  The city recently ratified a 3-year contract with the Tampa Police Benevolent Association (PBA), which represents officers through the rank of lieutenant.  The department is accredited by the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement and responds to over 589,000 calls for service annually. Crime in Tampa has dropped markedly and consistently over the past 10 years.  Between January 2005 and October 2015, Part I crime in Tampa dropped by 57 percent, from a monthly average of 1,536 incidents in 2005 to 653 in 2015.  The 2016 Tampa Police Department Annual Report can be viewed here.


The Ideal Candidate

The City of Tampa is seeking a proven leader who can inspire the confidence of the community and police department as the city’s Police Chief.  The successful candidate will be expected to build upon the department’s many successes.  He or she must possess exceptional management and communication skills, and must have a track record of community engagement resulting in collaborative relationships that have provided for effective public safety and crime reduction in diverse communities. He or she must be a team player, cultivating an attitude throughout the organization that promotes excellence in policing with a focus on crime prevention and enhanced quality of life for its residents. The new chief must be well versed in best practices in policing, and must be committed to continuing the department’s recognition as a national model by encouraging innovative leadership throughout the department. 

The position requires a bachelor’s degree in police administration, criminal justice, public administration or related field and seven (7) years of progressively responsible police experience, of which five (5) years was in a position of major command responsibility in an urban environment with similar complexity to that of Tampa, along with knowledge of best practices in policing; or an equivalent combination of training and experience.  A graduate-level degree is strongly preferred, as is additional specialized leadership education, such as the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP), FBI National Academy, or the Southern Police Institute.

Once appointed, the Police Chief must reside within the City of Tampa and obtain police certification in the State of Florida.



The salary will be determined based on qualifications. The city offers an excellent benefits package.



Under Florida law, all applications are a public record, once submitted.


How To Apply

The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is assisting the city in the selection process.  For questions about this position, contact Charlotte Lansinger at 301-639-3020 or email

Position is open until filled.  Qualified candidates should apply by September 29, 2017 with cover letter, résumé and a list of five references to:

The City of Tampa is an Equal Opportunity Employer and a drug-free workplace.