Sarasota P.D. accepts Cold Water Challenge & challenges other law enforcement

SARASOTA, Fla. -- August 20, 2014 -- 8 a.m.

Chief Bernadette DiPino and members of the Sarasota Police Department along with other local law enforcement agencies will take the ‘Cold Water Challenge’ after Sarasota Police Officer David Kennedy was challenged by Officer John Dunlop of the Los Angeles Police Department in California.  The challenge will raise money for the Officer Down Memorial Page (www.odmp.org)

The Cold Water Challenge will be on Friday, August 22nd at 9 a.m. outside of the Sarasota Police Department near the entrance to Payne Park at 2099 Adams Lane, Sarasota.  Media and community members are welcome to attend. 

The Cold Water Challenge is a viral campaign that is raising awareness for non-profit organizations or causes.  People accept the challenge and then video themselves doing it and challenge others.  The goal is to work to raise awareness and money for charity.

In 2014 so far, 67 members of law enforcement have been killed in the line of duty across the United States.  Chief DiPino, Officer Kennedy along with more than 40 volunteers will each donate $10 to the Officer Down Memorial Page.  Each volunteer will also read the name of a department and officer killed in the line of duty followed by having cold water poured over their head.

“This is a way to bring the spotlight onto the men and women that put their lives on the line and never made it home at the end of their shift,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino.  “I want to thank our officers for their dedication and their selfless service protecting the City of Sarasota every day,” said Chief DiPino.

Back to School Safety Reminders

SARASOTA, Fla. – August 14, 2014 – 8 a.m.

On Monday, August 18, 2014, classes will resume in the City of Sarasota. As students head back to school, the Sarasota Police Department wants to remind drivers that there is a zero tolerance policy beginning Monday for speeding in school zones and passing school buses that have their stop sign extended for students boarding or leaving the bus.

A few safety tips to remember as classes resume in the City of Sarasota:

• Students being back in class means increased traffic on the roads. Allow extra time to reach your destination and watch for other cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and school buses.

• Buckle up! Make sure all occupants of the car, especially children, are always buckled up. In Florida, all passengers under 18 years old must wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a child car seat.

• Pay attention to crossing guards and always drive slowly in school zones and near schools – Many students walk to and from class and to and from home.

• Cars must stop for all school buses when a stop sign is out and the lights are flashing, even if the bus is on the opposite side of the street unless there is a raised median more than four feet wide that divides the street.

Fines for speeding in school zones and passing school buses can range anywhere from $156 to $456. Officers are encouraging drives to slow down and allow plenty of time getting to and from their destination.

Cracking Down on Drunk Drivers: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

SARASOTA, Fla. – August 13, 2014 – 1:30 p.m.

Labor Day weekend is coming up. For many Americans, that means a day off, backyard and beach barbecues and visiting family and friends. Unfortunately, it also means a sharp increase in drunk-driving related fatalities.

Now through Labor Day weekend, the Sarasota Police Department will be aggressively targeting drunk drivers as part of a nationwide effort to end drunk driving and save lives. The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign will pair increased public awareness with high-visibility enforcement, resulting in fewer drunk drivers on Sarasota roads.

Each year, on average, more than 10,000 people die on the road due to drunk driving. "We want drivers to know that we do not tolerate drunk driving. No warnings, no excuses. If drivers are caught driving under the influence, they will be arrested," said Lieutenant Kevin Stiff, Assistant Commander, Patrol Division, Sarasota Police Department. "We’re hoping Sarasota drivers get the message and take some simple steps to prevent a tragedy. There is always another way home," said Lt. Stiff.

One in three traffic fatalities in the United States are alcohol related. Last year, over the Labor Day weekend, one person was killed every 34 minutes, on average, in an alcohol-impaired driving crash. A DUI arrest can mean time in jail, loss of your license and steep financial expenses; the average DUI costs are about $10,000. This Labor Day weekend, don’t let the festivities turn into fatalities.

Search warrant ends with four arrests & seizure of firearms, money and drugs

SARASOTA, Fla. – August 11, 2014 – 10 a.m.

On Friday, August 08, 2014, the Sarasota Police Department Narcotics Unit, with the assistance of the SWAT team, Street Crimes Unit and Patrol Division, executed a search warrant at 1083 Colleton Drive in Sarasota due to neighborhood complaints of drug sales at this address.   As a result of the search warrant, four individuals were arrested and charged with drug related crimes.

Detectives seized:

  • 264.6 grams of powder cocaine

  • 41 grams of rock cocaine

  • 25.9 grams of heroin

  • 9.2 grams of marijuana

  • 25.4 grams of oxycodone

  • 32.7 grams of hydromorphone (Dilaudid)

  • $6,832 US currency

  • 2 loaded semi-automatic handguns


    “Neighborhood reports were that this home and the people living there were operating an around the clock drug business.  We hope these arrests have a major impact on the quality of life for this neighborhood and the people who live there,” said Lt. Pat Ledwith, Commander, Criminal Investigation Division, Sarasota Police Department.

Robert J. Gambles Jr.  DOB (05/27/82) 1083 Colleton Drive, Sarasota Possession of Marijuana less than 20 Grams Trafficking in Cocaine 200 – 400 grams Trafficking in Heroin 14-28 grams Trafficking in a Controlled Substance (Oxycodone) Trafficking in a Controlled Substance (Hydromorphone)

Robert J. Gambles Jr.  DOB (05/27/82)
1083 Colleton Drive, Sarasota

Possession of Marijuana less than 20 Grams

Trafficking in Cocaine 200 – 400 grams

Trafficking in Heroin 14-28 grams

Trafficking in a Controlled Substance (Oxycodone)

Trafficking in a Controlled Substance (Hydromorphone)

Tavaris C. Edwards   DOB (05/21/86) 1083 Colleton Drive, Sarasota Possession of Marijuana less than 20 Grams Trafficking in Heroin 4-14 Grams Trafficking in Cocaine 28-200 Grams

Tavaris C. Edwards   DOB (05/21/86)
1083 Colleton Drive, Sarasota

Possession of Marijuana less than 20 Grams

Trafficking in Heroin 4-14 Grams

Trafficking in Cocaine 28-200 Grams

Wayne L. Goff Jr.   DOB  (02/04/93) 1083 Colleton Drive, Sarasota Possession of Marijuana less than 20 Grams Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Sell (Oxycodone) Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Sell (Hydromorphone)

Wayne L. Goff Jr.   DOB  (02/04/93)
1083 Colleton Drive, Sarasota

Possession of Marijuana less than 20 Grams

Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Sell (Oxycodone)

Possession of a Controlled Substance With Intent to Sell (Hydromorphone)

Johnnie L. Lang   DOB (08/03/79) 1216 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota Trafficking in Cocaine 28-200 Grams Possession of Marijuana less than 20 Grams

Johnnie L. Lang   DOB (08/03/79)
1216 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota

Trafficking in Cocaine 28-200 Grams

Possession of Marijuana less than 20 Grams

Sarasota Police Detectives attempting to identify three suspects in jewelry theft

SARASOTA, Fla. – August 7, 2014 – 8 a.m.

Detectives with the Sarasota Police Department are attempting to identify two females and a male who were caught on camera stealing jewelry on July 29, 2014 from Estate Coin and Jewelry at 1650 Main Street in Sarasota.

As seen in the video here http://youtu.be/KVxNdIw9Z4U , the three suspects are seen entering the store.  The male immediately sits down while the two females begin to speak with an employee in the store about bracelets at the counter.

The two females ask the employee to see some of the bracelets that were on display in the front window.  The employee is seen helping the female in the green dress while the female in the red and white outfit stood to the left of the other female.

While the employee is distracted, the female in the red and white is seen taking a bracelet from the rack that was on the counter and appears to place the bracelet in her pocket.  A short time later, the same female removed another bracelet and concealed it in her pocket.

The females ask the employee to look at coins at the other end of the counter and as they walk toward the end of the counter, the female in the red and white appears to hand off the bracelets to the male sitting in the chair.  The three suspects stayed a few minutes longer and then left the store without purchasing anything.

The male suspect is described as approximately 25 years of age with braided hair pulled and tied up.  He was last seen wearing a blue Hawaiian type shirt and shorts.  The female wearing the red and white is approximately 30-40 years of age, 5’5” tall and very heavy set.  She was last seen wearing a red and white horizontal striped shirt and red shorts.  The female in the green is in her 50’s and is described as heavy set.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective Darrell Nixon at 941-954-7078 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477) or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com

Sarasota Police Department hosts community conversation with business owners & residents

SARASOTA, Fla. – August 6, 2014 – 9:15 a.m.

Last week, Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino, City Manager Tom Barwin and members of the Sarasota Police Department sat down with North Sarasota residents and business owners for nearly two hours. It was an opportunity to have an open discussion about late night violence, quality of life issues and proposed changes to retail business hours along the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way corridor.

Throughout the meeting, residents and business owners spoke with officers and expressed a desire for strict enforcement of laws regarding violence, alcohol related crimes, noise violations and narcotics. By the end of the meeting, retail business owners voluntarily agreed to close their doors at 2:30 a.m. This agreement continues the Community Oriented Policing philosophy of listening to the public and working together in partnership to solve problems.

Since the meeting on July 31st, all retail businesses have closed their doors at 2:30 a.m. The Sarasota Police Department has started increasing traffic enforcement in the north Sarasota area and officer presence will be increased over strategically chosen days in the coming weeks. The Sarasota Police Department will be strictly enforcing laws and ask the community and visitors to adhere to the laws or face citations and/or arrest.

"Our meeting last week was a chance to continue the conversation about public and officer safety. We all want the violence to stop. We all want the shootings to stop. We will continue to work together to keep our community safe. Life is too precious." said Chief Bernadette DiPino.

"We hope to continue these meetings in the coming weeks. This is a chance to continue a two-way dialogue with businesses and residents in our community to continue reducing actual crime and the fear of crime in our neighborhoods," said Lt. Pat Ledwith, Criminal Investigation Division.