Michael Paniagua

Lieutenant Paniagua has served in the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for 14 years. He was previously employed with the Belleair and Belleair Beach Police Departments for a total of 21 years of law enforcement experience. Lieutenant Paniagua is currently the Shift Commander for the North District Station midnight shift within the Patrol Operations Bureau.


Prior to his promotion, Lieutenant Paniagua was assigned as the Sergeant of the DUI Unit and responsible for organizing DUI Checkpoints and numerous multi-agency DUI Wolfpacks.  During his assignment, he was often requested to provide Spanish translation services within the agency and surrounding law enforcement organizations.


Lieutenant Paniagua has specialized training in DUI Investigations and completed the International Association Chiefs of Police and National Highway Safety Administration Drug Evaluation Classification Program. He is also an active DUI and Drug Recognition Expert Instructor. Lieutenant Paniagua is the Agency Inspector for the Intoxilyzer 8000 instrument and agency coordinator to maintain the certifications for the certified Drug Recognition Experts assigned to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. He is also a Firearms Instructor.


Lieutenant Paniagua has made over 1000 DUI arrests and has been the recipient of several Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Remove Intoxicated Driver’s (RID) awards. He has received special recognition by RID and received the Joni Carey Award for his dedication for removing alcohol and drug impaired drivers from our roadways.


Lieutenant Paniagua has an Associate in Applied Science degree for Criminal Justice Officer Administration from Hillsborough Community College. Lieutenant Paniagua is fluent in Spanish and accurately translates in verbal and written form.

Course Expertise

  • Traffic/DUI