As expected, the governor appointed veteran prosecutor Bruce Bartlett as prosecutor for Pinellas-Pasco.
Bartlett served as assistant prosecutor for the man he will replace, longtime prosecutor Bernie McCabe, who died January 1 at the age of 73. Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment late Thursday.
“I am really grateful to Governor DeSantis for trusting me to represent the people of Pinellas and Pasco Counties as their prosecutor,” Bartlett said in a statement.
McCabe served half a century as a prosecutor and was elected in 1992 to oversee all law enforcement operations in Pasco and Pinellas counties. He died days before he was due to begin another four-year term.
Connected: Bernie McCabe, Pinellas-Pasco’s chief prosecutor, dies at the age of 73
The circuit chief judge named Bartlett acting prosecutor after McCabe’s death. The governor’s appointment means Bartlett will be in office for the next two years until the position is on the 2022 ballot.
Bartlett told the Tampa Bay Times that he intended to run for the position in two years in what would be the longtime official’s first political campaign.
He has served four decades as a prosecutor in the area, handled several high-profile law enforcement operations, and rose to serve as McCabe’s deputy. Bartlett briefly retired in 2014 but returned to his previous position.
He was on the law enforcement team that convinced a jury to convict Oba Chandler of the 1989 murders of a visiting family in Ohio, Joan Rogers and daughters Michelle and Christe. Chandler was executed in 2011.
The prosecutor was also among the teams that sent the killers of these police officers to jail: Charles “Bo” Harrison, sheriff of Pasco, who died in 2003; St. Petersburg Police Officer David Crawford, who was killed in 2011; and Tarpon Springs Police Officer Charles Kondek, who lost his life in 2014.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with my friend Bernie McCabe for over 40 years,” said Bartlett. “His legacy, and the legacy of our office, is to work every day to maintain the highest level of justice on behalf of the people of Counties Pinellas and Pasco. You have my word that I will. “
Bartlett’s appointment was approved by Florida House spokesman Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican who served in the Pinellas-Pasco prosecutor’s office under both McCabe and Bartlett.
“There is no person in the state of Florida more qualified for the job of sixth circuit district attorney than Bruce Bartlett,” Sprowls said in a statement.