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Giffords Endorses Eliseo Santana for Pinellas County Sheriff in Florida

    Eliseo Santana is a proven champion of accountability, transparency, and gun safety

    August 26, 2020 Giffords PAC, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announced its endorsement of Eliseo Santana for Pinellas County Sheriff in Florida.

    Eliseo Santana has devoted his life to protecting his country and his community. After serving in the Florida Army National Guard and the U.S. army, Santana worked in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office for over thirty years. His experience pushed him to champion reforms including the use of body cameras and audio equipment in order to increase accountability and transparency in the office. He was inspired to run following George Floyd’s murder and is committed to ending the racist policing practices that he witnessed during his time in law enforcement. 

    As a veteran and retired law enforcement official, Eliseo has unique insight into the importance of protecting Floridians from gun violence. He understands that police violence is gun violence and will prioritize building trust with the communities he serves. This stands in stark contrast to the incumbent sheriff, whose response to the tragic 2018 mass shooting in Parkland was to increase the over-policing of schools, including arming more school personnel. Eliseo also understands that “Stand Your Ground” laws encourage vigilantism and enable disproportionate violence against Black and Brown Floridians, while his opponent supports these dangerous “shoot-first” policies. Eliseo is committed to improving public safety with evidence-based policies like universal background checks, extreme risk protection laws, and investment in community-based violence intervention programs. The citizens of Pinellas County can trust that Eliseo Santana will bring the systemic changes necessary to root out racism in policing and better protect their community. 

    Statement from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords:

    “Law enforcement officials are on the frontline of the gun violence crisis every day. As the nation reckons with continuing racial injustice, we need law enforcement leaders like Eliseo Santana who are dedicated to creating a police force that is accountable and transparent. Effective policing requires genuine trust between officers and the community members it serves, and Eliseo has the experience and values that Pinella County needs. Because of his commitment to rooting out systemic racism in law enforcement and applying community-based solutions to gun violence, we are proud to endorse Eliseo Santana for Pinella County Sheriff.”