Sarasota Police Swearing In Ceremony: Friday, September 2, 2016

SARASOTA, FL. – August 25, 2016   – 8 a.m.

On Friday, September 2, 2016 at 2 p.m., Chief Bernadette DiPino will hold a swearing-in ceremony for four (4) new Officers.  The ceremony will be held in the 2nd Floor Community Room at the Sarasota Police Department, 2099 Adams Lane, Sarasota. 

The following Officers will join the Sarasota Police Department as 2nd Class Probation:

  • Officer Laura Bobitz

    • Officer Laura Bobitz was born in Fort Lauderdale and moved to Bradenton when she was 10 years old.  She graduated from Bradenton Christian School in 2010 and went on to attend Florida Atlantic University.  She graduated in 2014 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.  In June 2016, Officer Bobitz received her LEO Training Certificate from Manatee Technical Institute.  She has a passion for law enforcement and wants to have a positive influence on people’s lives and give them a positive image of police.

  • Officer Drusso Martinez

    • Officer Drusso Martinez was born in Helena, Arkansas and moved to Englewood when he was 9 years old.  He graduated from Lemon Bay High School in 2012.  He’s currently 15 credits away from earning an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice.  In June 2016, Officer Martinez received his law enforcement certification from Suncoast Technical College.  He hopes to one day change someone’s life in a positive way and change their outlook on what about a police officer is all about.


  • Officer Alaya Mitchell

    • Officer Alaya Mitchell was born in Detroit, Michigan and moved to Canton, Michigan when she was 10 years old.  She graduated from Salem High School in Canton, Michigan and was awarded a full athletic scholarship for Women’s Basketball at Marshall University in West Virginia.  She was a 2-year letter winner and Team Captain for two years.  In 2012, Officer Mitchell graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science.  In May 2016, she received her LEO Training from Suncoast Technical College.  Officer Mitchell chose law enforcement to challenge herself and be a positive influence on people’s lives and to make her family proud.


  • Officer Youki Uchida

    • Officer Youki Uchida was born in Bradenton and raised in Sarasota since he was 3 years old.  He graduated from New Gate Montessori School and received his Law Enforcement Certification from Suncoast Technical College Florida Law Enforcement Academy in May 2016.  Officer Uchida earned his A.A. degree in General Studies from State College of Florida in 2011 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology in 2013.  He’s goal is to perform well as a patrol officer and one day enter one of the specialty units.

Friends, family, community members and media are encouraged to attend the ceremony.


Sarasota Police to Participate in National Labor Day DUI Campaign

SARASOTA, Fla. -- August 23, 2016 -- 11 a.m.

This Labor Day weekend, families and friends will be celebrating the end of summer.  Sadly, this festive time has also become a dangerous time for America’s roads, as many drunk drivers get behind the wheel after celebrating.

For this reason, the Sarasota Police Department is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to stop drunk drivers and help save lives.  The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from now through September 5, 2016. 

During this time, SPD will join law enforcement from around the state of Florida as well as around the country, to show zero tolerance for drunk driving.  According to NHSTA, on average, more than 10,000 people died each year (2010 to 2014) in drunk driving crashes.  During the 2014 Labor Day holiday weekend, 40 percent of the fatalities in traffic crashes involved drunk drivers.

“Our Officers are committed to ensuring a safe Labor Day weekend for the residents and visitors to the City of Sarasota,” said Captain Kevin Stiff, Patrol Division Commander.  “Drunk driving is not a victimless crime and our Officers will be on the lookout for drunk drivers.  It’s illegal in every state to drink and drive,” said Captain Stiff.  “The safest thing to do is to only drive sober.  If you plan on drinking, let someone else do the driving.  Being arrested for driving drunk, or injuring someone while driving drunk, is not the way to celebrate,” said Captain Stiff.

Drivers can follow these tips to stay safe:

  • Plan ahead.  If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver before heading out to ensure you get home safely.

  • If you’ve been drinking, do not drive.  Call a taxi, call an Uber, call a sober friend or use Tow-To-Go (1-800-2-TOW-2-GO).  In Florida, Tow to Go is offered September 2, 2016 until 6 a.m. on September 6, 2016.

Attempt to Identify Two Grand Theft Subjects

SARASOTA, Fla. -- August 22, 2016 -- 12:30 p.m.

At approximately 11:20 p.m. on August 1, 2016, two subjects stole two wireless surveillance cameras from Lido Surf and Sand at 1100 Benjamin Franklin Drive, Sarasota.  The stolen cameras are valued at approximately $600.

Video of the two subjects can be viewed at

Anyone with information on this case, please call Detective Dustin Luciano at 941-363-5827 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at

Back to School Safety Reminders

SARASOTA, FL. – August 17, 2016   – 10:30 a.m.

On Monday, August 22, 2016, classes will resume in the City of Sarasota.  As students head back to school, the Sarasota Police Department wants to remind drivers there is a zero tolerance policy for speeding in school zones and for passing school buses that have stop signs extended as students board or leave a bus.

On Monday, Sarasota Police Officers will be at numerous schools welcoming students back to class.  Sarasota PD will also host a special #BackToSchool Tweet from the Beat under the Twitter handle @SarasotaPD.  On Twitter, followers will be able to find photos of Officers visiting schools around the city.  The Sarasota Police Department has also created a Back to School Public Service Announcement sharing important safety tips for parents and students.  It can be viewed at

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

  • Students heading back to school means increased traffic on the roads.  Please allow extra time to travel 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 of age, 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 school.

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


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

Purse stolen from woman playing Pokemon Go near Sarasota Bayfront

SARASOTA, Fla. -- August 16, 2016 -- 9 a.m.

At approximately 9:45 p.m. Monday, Sarasota Police Officers responded to 2 Marina Jack to the parking lot for a Strong Arm Robbery.  When Officers arrived, they spoke with a female victim who stated she was playing Pokemon Go on her cell phone when an unknown black male came up behind her and grabbed her purse that was strapped across her shoulder. 

The force knocked the victim to the ground.  The victim suffered no injuries and refused EMS.  The victim stated she looked up and saw the black male running northbound across U.S. 41 with her purse.  The victim described the suspect as 5’8”, thin build and last seen wearing a blue shirt, blue shorts and wearing a straw hat.

Officers setup a perimeter and K9 track and were unable to locate the suspect but located the victim’s purse.  Everything was inside the victim’s purse except her wallet. 

A few Pokemon Go safety tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings

  • Play in groups or in pairs to ensure safety

  • Do not trespass onto private property

  • Do not drive, ride a bicycle or skateboard whole playing Pokemon Go

  • If you see something suspicious, say something.  Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately

Anyone with information on this case, please call the Sarasota Police at 941-954-7070 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at


Blue + You Free Movie Night – Saturday, August 13, 2016

SARASOTA, FL. – August 8, 2016   – 11:45 a.m.

In partnership with Culver’s, Regal Cinemas, Ringling College of Art and Design, Fun 4 SRQ Kids and Safe Kids Worldwide, the Sarasota Police Department will be hosting another free ‘Blue + You’ Movie Night at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex on Saturday, August 13, 2016 at 8:30 p.m.  The field will open at 7:30 p.m.  RLTCC is located at 1845 34th Street, Sarasota.

The community is invited to this free event and are welcome to bring blankets and chairs and invite neighbors, family members and friends to watch ‘Zootopia’ on the new multi-purpose sports field at the RLTCC.  Complimentary drinks and snacks will be served.

‘Blue + You’ is an initiative that honors our community and connects them with the Sarasota Police Department.  The ‘Blue + You’ Movie Series began in April 2014.