Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee has announced he plans to retire at the end of September.
In a letter to employees Friday, Gee called it one of the most difficult decisions of his career. He also thanked them for their service and said he's retiring to devote his time to his family.
Gee, who's been with the department for almost 40 years, was first elected Sheriff in 2004 and has been re-elected three times since then, the last time in 2016.
In a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Gee said his last day as sheriff will be Sept. 30.
The Tampa Bay Times reports word of the announcement didn't come from Gee or the Sheriff's Office, but from the office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who sent out a statement congratulating Gee on his plans to retire.
Here is the text of Gee's letter to HCSO employees:
From Sheriff Gee to All Employees,
After over 40 years of law enforcement service, I have decided to retire at the end of September. This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career. Each of my Sheriff's Office family and the citizens of our community is very important to me. I have dedicated my life to serving others and hope that I have served well.
Throughout the years, serving the community has been my priority and it has been an honor and privilege to serve with you by my side. Although law enforcement's reward is not tangible, it comes in the knowledge that each of you has made a difference for countless persons. Through your commitment to excellence, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is one of the best law enforcement agencies in the State of Florida as well as nationwide. I know that each of you will continue to serve and protect the citizens of Hillsborough County with the highest level of integrity and dedication.
I want to thank each of you for your remarkable service. It has been an honor and privilege for me to be your colleague, your friend and your extended family member. It is now time for me, however, to concentrate and devote my full attention and support to my family. I wish each of you well and ask that you continue to provide the level of commitment necessary in making this transition as smooth as possible.