Sarasota Police Department Tweet from the Beat set for Friday, December 19th

SARASOTA, Fla. – Dec. 17, 2014 – 3:30 p.m.

The Sarasota Police Department is taking you on another virtual ride-along.  On Friday, the Sarasota Police Department will host another ‘Tweet from the Beat.’ The event is set for Friday, December 19, 2014 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

This ‘Tweet from the Beat’ is also in conjunction with the fourth Global Police Tweet-A-Thon which is where law enforcement agencies from around the world will be taking part in their own ‘Tweet from the Beat’ by using the hashtag #PolTwt (which stands for ‘police tweet.’)  The Tweet-A-Thon is a way to connect law enforcement around the world and build relationships between police and the citizens they serve.

To join the Sarasota Police Department in our virtual ride along: If you already have a Twitter account, follow the Sarasota Police Department. Our handle is @SarasotaPD  If you aren’t on Twitter, you can go to www.twitter.com and sign up.  It’s easy, quick and free.  Once you create an account, you can follow us @SarasotaPD

Throughout the day, Officer Kevin Schafer and other officers will share what they see and do through texts, videos and photos as our Partnership Policing Communications Coordinator tweets for the officers.  People following @SarasotaPD will be able to ask questions and interact with our officers on the road.

“Our ‘Tweet from the Beat’ program has been successful with residents and law enforcement from here in Sarasota and all over the country as they interact with our officers.  This event is a great opportunity for our local and virtual community to communicate and interact with our officers in the city we protect and serve,” said Captain Pat Robinson, Bureau of Patrol Operations, Sarasota Police Department.

 

Blue + You Movie Series Returns with ‘Elf’ at the Sarasota Police Department

SARASOTA, Fla. – Dec. 16, 2014 – 10 a.m.

In partnership with the Sarasota Film Festival, and McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, the Sarasota Police Department will once again be holding a Blue + You Movie Series. On Monday, December 22, 2014, the movie ‘Elf’ will be shown on the west lawn of the Sarasota Police Department, 2099 Adams Lane, Sarasota. The lawn area opens at 5 p.m. with the movie beginning at 6:30 p.m. This is a free event open to our community. (The rain date will be Monday, Dec. 29, 2014)

Water from BJ’s Wholesale, popcorn from Hollywood 20 and pretzels from Ringling Pizza and Grill will be provided for free but for every donation of four cans of non-perishable food, movie-goers will be given a chance to win one of five (5) Sarasota Film Festival gift baskets that will be given away during the movie. All food donations will be given to Mayors Feed the Hungry and All Faith’s Food Bank.

Also making an appearance before the movie is Santa who will be arriving with Police Chief Bernadette DiPino. They will all be arriving at the west lawn of the Sarasota Police Department on a Sarasota County Fire Truck. The fire truck will stay after the special guests arrive for families to view. Les McCurdy from McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre will also be on hand to meet and greet movie-goers.

Families, residents and visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets and join the Sarasota Police Department, the Sarasota Film Festival and McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre for a free showing of ‘Elf.’

4-time convicted felon arrested after discharging firearm near Moore's Grocery in Sarasota

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Dec. 15, 2014 -- 10:45 a.m.

On Sunday, December 14, 2014, at approximately 9:30 p.m., two Sarasota Police officers were on patrol in a marked patrol vehicle in the rear parking lot of Moore’s Grocery, 1993 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota. The two officers observed a large crowd gathering in the area.

Officers heard a single gunshot fired and observed Chanee Williams with a firearm. When Williams saw the officers, she ran northbound from the area with the firearm in her hand refusing orders by officers to stop. Officers observed Williams throw the firearm in an abandoned residential lot at 2727 North Washington Court, Sarasota.

Williams fell to the ground and was arrested without incident. Officers seized one clear bag containing marijuana from Williams’ left front sweatshirt pocket. One of the officers retrieved the discarded fully loaded 9MM Hi-Point Semi-Automatic Pistol.

A criminal history was obtained for Williams. She has ten (10) felony charges and four (4) felony convictions. Williams was arrested and charged with:

• Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Florida Felon (felony)
• Firing a Weapon in Public (misdemeanor)
• Resisting an officer without violence (misdemeanor)
• Possession of Marijuana less than 20 grams (misdemeanor)

Officers notified all area hospitals and searched the area Sunday evening and Monday morning for possible suspicious injury reports. At this time, none have been reported.

Chanee Williams

Chanee Williams

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over this Holiday Season

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Dec. 15, 2014

It’s the time of year, with all the holiday parties and festive occasions, many partygoers will be drinking.  If you’re celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, the Sarasota Police Department has a message for you:  Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Due to the increase in drunk-driving related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across the United States are out in force, actively searching for drunk drivers.  The facts are grim:  In December 2012, there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher; 26 of those 830 deaths occurred on Christmas Day.

“The Officers of the Sarasota Police Department are committed to ensuring a safe Holiday Season for the residents and visitors to our City.” said Captain Patrick Robinson, Patrol Division Commander, Sarasota Police Department.  “Drunk driving isn’t a victimless crime and our Officers will be on the lookout for drunk drivers this holiday season.  It’s illegal in every single state to drink and drive,” said Captain Robinson.  “The safest thing to do is to only drive sober and if you plan on drinking, let someone else do the driving – a sober friend, taxi or public transportation.  Being arrested for driving drunk, or injuring some while driving drunk, is not the way to celebrate the holidays.”

Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America.  If you’re drinking and driving, the Sarasota Police Department will find and arrest you.  No warnings, no excuses.  You’ll face jail time, fines, loss of your driver’s license, towing fees and other DUI expenses which total $10,000 on average.  If you see a drunk driver on the road, call the police right away – you could save a life.

Drivers can follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy:

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk, or worse, the risk of having a crash.

  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving.  Plan ahead:  Designate a sober drive before the party begins.

If you have been drinking, do not drive.  Call a taxi, use Tow-To-Go (1-800-2-TOW-2-GO).  In Florida, Tow to Go is offered December 24, 2014 through 6 a.m. January 1, 2015.

Sarasota High School student arrested after making school shooting threats

SARASOTA, Fla. – December 8, 2014 – 2:30 p.m.

Joshua Alexander Wilson, 16, has been charged with a felony charge of "Threat to throw, project, place, or discharge any destructive device" after posting on social media Friday afternoon he was going to commit a shooting at Sarasota High School. Wilson is a student at Sarasota High School.

On Friday, December 5, 2014, the Sarasota Police Department was notified through dispatch that an unknown person posted on Twitter "can’t wait to shoot up my school." These posts referenced a possible school shooting. Through investigation, the account was identified as belonging to the suspect, Wilson. Wilson’s Twitter account is open to the public and able to be viewed by anyone. Detectives and Officers with Sarasota Police Department responded to Sarasota High School and were able to identify Wilson however he was not at school at the time.

Detectives and Officers responded to Wilson’s home, contacted him and brought him to the Sarasota Police Department for further questioning. As a result of the investigation and in consultation with the State Attorney’s Office, Sarasota Police Detectives charged Wilson for his involvement in this incident. Wilson was booked at the Sarasota County Jail.

"Our Officers and Detectives responded and handled this type of threat the way they’ve been trained to do," said Chief Bernadette DiPino, Sarasota Police Department. "Our Officers and Detectives responded in a professional manner and worked with our community partners included the Sarasota County School District and Sarasota High School to make sure this threat was investigated and handled properly," said Chief DiPino. "We take these types of threats seriously."

  Joshua Alexander Wilson, 16, has been charged with a felony charge of "Threat to throw, project, place, or discharge any destructive device" after posting on social media Friday afternoon he was going to commit a shooting at Sarasota High School.

 

Joshua Alexander Wilson, 16, has been charged with a felony charge of "Threat to throw, project, place, or discharge any destructive device" after posting on social media Friday afternoon he was going to commit a shooting at Sarasota High School.

Shop with a Cop set for December 13, 2014 – Donations still being accepted

SARASOTA, Fla. – December 4, 2014 – 10 a.m.

The Sarasota Housing Authority, Sarasota Police Department and Target are partnering for the third year to provide 100 underprivileged youths with a unique holiday experience in Sarasota.

Shop with a Cop will pair children with Sarasota Police officers to shop for holiday gifts at Target, 5350 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, prior to the store opening for the day on Saturday, December 13, 2014 from 6 a.m. until 8 a.m.

The 3rd Annual Shop with a Cop (formerly known as Honor the Badge) is a shopping event initiative designed to help build mutual trust and respect between law enforcement and children of families living in Sarasota Housing Authority communities.

The Sarasota Housing Authority, through donations received from the Sarasota Police Department, local businesses, religious organizations and individuals prior to the event, provides Target gift cards to be purchased by police officers.

“We want to help children in our community build relationships with our officers.  Shop with a Cop is a chance to help form relationships and educate our local families about the role that our officers play in our community,” said Captain Patrick Robinson, Sarasota Police Department.

“Having a safe and strong community begins with having mutual trust and respect between community members and the men and women sworn to protect them,” said Sarasota Housing Authority CEO William Russell.  “Shop with a Cop works to build trust and respect through a fun and positive experience,” said Russell.

Those wishing to donate can do so through the Sarasota Housing Authority’s 501(c)3 affiliate, Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation (SHFC).  Checks can be made payable to Sarasota Housing Funding Corporation with ‘Shop with a Cop’ in the memo line.  Credit card donations can be made online at http://www.sarasotahousing.org/sarasota-housing-funding-corporation

For additional information contact the Sarasota Housing Authority (Andrea Keddell at 941-361-6210 x 221 or Ken Waters at 941-361-6210 x 261).  100% of donations will be spent on Target gift cards for the children.

Attachments:  View video and interviews with Sarasota Police officers, Sarasota Housing Authority staff and Target staff from last year’s event on the Sarasota Police Department YouTube page at http://youtu.be/VSMenje1LTc