Office of the Chief

badges in a row on a podium

The Office of the Chief is responsible for the overall administration and leadership of the police department, ensuring the department is aligned with the City Council’s Strategic Direction of providing cost-effective municipal police services and police-related infrastructure through the optimal use of department resources, continual measurement of quality of services and fostering community engagement establishing a customer-centric organization.

Chief Eric Gandy

Chief Eric Gandy

Eric Gandy began his career with the Clearwater Police Department in 1991 after graduating from the University of South Florida the previous year with a degree from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

He worked his way up through the ranks of the police department, starting as a patrol officer and member of a community policing team. In the late 1990s, he branched into other areas, including SWAT and vice and narcotics. Gandy became a patrol sergeant in 2000 and became the K-9 sergeant the following year.

He was promoted to lieutenant in 2009, with a purpose of evaluating and reorganizing three high-liability teams – SWAT, K-9 and the Emergency Response Team. He helped to change the structure, policies and tactics of those crucial areas.

Gandy’s career track took him through the following positions as well – professional standards sergeant, night watch commander, beach district commander, special investigations lieutenant and SWAT team commander. In 2014, he was promoted to patrol major and was named deputy chief three years later.

He is a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police, the FBI Command Leadership Institute and Leadership Pinellas. Among his many awards and accolades are officer of the year, supervisor of the year, the Medal of Meritorious Service, Chief’s Unit Citation and the Cornelius Award, the department’s highest honor.

In February 2022, Deputy Chief Gandy retired after a 30-year law enforcement career. He became the director of Clearwater Marine and Aviation in March 2022.

On July 31, 2023, following the retirement of Chief Daniel Slaughter, Gandy returned to the police department. He was sworn in as the agency’s 14th police chief.

Deputy Chief Michael Walek

Deputy Chief Michael Walek

Michael Walek is the deputy chief of the Clearwater Police Department.

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he has been with the Clearwater Police Department since 1997. He was appointed as deputy chief in May 2022.