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Capitol police director tapped as acting FDLE commissioner

Florida Legislature
Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP
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FR121174 AP
Schoolchildren and chaperones gather in front of the Florida Historic Capitol building during a legislative session, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Capitol Police Director Mark Glass was named by Gov. Ron DeSantis as acting commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as longtime Commissioner Rick Swearingen’s exit became effective on Sunday.

A letter Friday from DeSantis to Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said Glass will be brought to the state Cabinet for confirmation as acting commissioner if a permanent appointee isn’t named by the next Cabinet meeting.

That meeting is scheduled for June 28.

Swearingen, who was paid $155,530 a year, announced March 25 he would leave the agency after 38 years in various roles.

Swearingen was tapped by then-Gov. Rick Scott in December 2014 to become commissioner after serving as director of the Capitol Police, which oversees security at the Capitol Complex, including protective services for the governor and his family.

In a memo late Friday to FDLE staff members, Glass wrote that he was “honored and humbled by this appointment.”

“For those of you who don’t know me, I currently serve as director of Capitol Police,” Glass wrote. “I have been with the department since 2015, but had the honor of working alongside many of you in my previous role as the Florida Fusion Center Homeland Security representative.”

Glass added he intended to meet with department leadership teams to better understand the agency’s needs.

Glass, paid $110,261 a year, has been director of the Capitol Police since November 2019.

With degrees from Northwest Florida State College and Florida State University, Glass also went through the Florida Highway Patrol Academy and served as a state trooper. In addition, his resume includes time as a criminal investigator for Texas and a member of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council.

He headed security for the Florida Lottery before joining the FDLE in 2015 as director of the Office of Statewide Intelligence. Two years later he became deputy director of Capitol Police.

Swearingen’s eventual replacement will face a slightly different path to the job.

A new law (SB 1658) changed the approval processes for appointments of the FDLE commissioner, the secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection and the executive director of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The law changed the appointment of the FDLE commissioner from needing the approval of all three Cabinet members to a majority vote of the governor and the Cabinet, with the governor on the prevailing side. The appointment will still need Senate approval.

Jim Turner is a reporter for the News Service of Florida.