Pinellas County Sheriff's Capt. Glenn Luben, the new leader of patrol operations in north Pinellas, recently sat down with Patch and shared things he loves about his job and some challenges he faces.
He emphasized the importance of keeping residents safe, welcomed emergency calls of any type — no matter how seemingly innocuous — and identified things the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is trying to fix.
Luben, 50, was appointed to lead North District Station in Dunedin during late December. He replaces Capt. Bill Hagans in overseeing the sheriff's contract cities of Dunedin, Safety Harbor and Oldsmar, along with Palm Harbor, East Lake, Ozona, Crystal Beach, and northern parts of unincorporated Clearwater.
Luben, who grew up in Clearwater, brings 27 years of experience in law enforcement to the job, along with 22 years of military influence. He is married 27 years with one son, age 24.
Here are some highlights:
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Helping to keep the public trust. If we can't keep people safe, there's nobody else to call. ...
And as we handle from call to call to call, every call is multidimensional. There can't be a cookie cutter answer to everything.
Q. What are the biggest challenges of your job?
A. Budgets, staffing and personnel are by far our biggest challenges. Our staffing was cut by 600 positions, but we're still keeping the crime rates down and the arrest rates up, but it is coming at a toll. We're trying to fix that ... We've done a pretty good job of making due with what we have.
Q. What made you decide to go into law enforcement?
A. Growing up in Clearwater I was getting into trouble. I found the Police Explorers program, and between the action and excitement — that just showed me, 'Hey, this is something I might be interested in,' and it kind of steered me in the right direction.
Q. What do you want people to know about the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office that they might not already know?
A. A lot of people are hesitant to call us. Sometimes we'll find out the next day from a neighbor after a burglary that they saw something. What we would like is for them to call while it's happening. Some people will say they don't want to bother us, but we get paid to get bothered. We don't hold calls, we don't turn calls down. We are fully staffed to take those calls. ... If it's a dog barking ... maybe you thought you heard a window breaking ... we'll come check it out....
Q. What do you like about Dunedin?
A. It's a great total city package. It's a quaint and open city. It's got the Scottish heritage and the barrier islands, Mardi Gras and all those other festivals. When family comes to visit, we end up down here. ... What they've done to capitalize on the barrier islands ... the recreation centers ... there's so many things the city to do and resources for people. I've been to other cities that don't have those things. Between balancing budgets and slimming staff, they're still providing that function. ... We need to make people feel safe here or they're not going to come back and it hurts the businesses. We know what our role is. ...
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