Manatee County selects new Public Safety Director

  • Mar 16, 2015

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (March 16, 2015) – Robert Smith, an emergency management official for the Arlington (Va.) Public School System, has been hired as Manatee County’s next Public Safety Director.

Since 2013 he has served as the Emergency Management, Risk Management and Safety official of the Arlington Public School System in Virginia. He is also adjunct instructor of 9-1-1 and emergency management-related courses for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials Institute.

Incoming Public Safety Director Bob Smith
Incoming Public Safety Director Bob Smith

 Manatee County Commissioners will formally confirm Smith at their March 24 meeting and Smith will begin with the County on April 15.


Smith was hired from a field of 147 applicants for the position. Interim Public Safety Director Laurie Feagans has filled the position since November, 2014.


“Bob brings a wealth of experience along with strong leadership skills that will continue add great value to the department and the community,” said Deputy County Administrator Karen Windon. “His calm yet decisive approach will serve us well, whether during a project implementation or in a disaster situation. His technical knowledge in the 9-1-1 arena fits nicely with the major initiatives we will soon be undertaking.”


Manatee County has begun taking steps toward Next Generation 9-1-1 services, and will be launching a new public safety radio system with Sarasota County later this year.


Smith is a former county 9-1-1 director and an emergency management agency coordinator with more than 22 years of experience in the emergency management field. In Manatee County he will assume leadership of a 216-employee department that includes the Emergency Communications Center (9-1-1), Emergency Management, Emergency Medical Services and Marine Rescue.


“I’m looking forward to working with a team of great professionals to serve the citizens and visitors of Manatee County,” Smith said. “The combination of my operational experience in both the field and administratively in public safety, and the variety of positions I’ve held at the local through federal level should help me in the new role.”


Smith holds a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management from Jacksonville (Ala.) State University. He is pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from the same university. He holds Public Safety Leadership Certification from the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials.


For more information on Manatee County Public Safety Department, visit online.

For more information on Manatee County Government, visit online at or call (941) 748-4501. You can also follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter, @ManateeGov.