This Labor Day and Every Day: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Each year, Americans mark the end of summer with the Labor Day holiday weekend.  Sadly, the Labor Day holiday has also become one of the deadliest, with drunk drivers endangering themselves and others on their way home from holiday festivities.

The Sarasota Police Department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives.  A high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from August 15 through September 3, 2018.  During this time, Sarasota Police officers will show zero tolerance for drunk driving.  Increased messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways.

A special Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Tweet from the Beat will be held on Friday, August 17, 2018 beginning at 9 p.m.  Followers will be able to ask questions and interact with Sarasota Police officers while they are on patrol.  To join in the virtual ride-along, Twitter users can follow the Twitter handle @SarasotaPD.

According to NHTSA, 10,497 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2016.  On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2012 to 2016—one person killed every 50 minutes in 2016.  This is why the Sarasota Police Department is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to Labor Day festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road: Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem on our nation’s roads.  If drivers are impaired by any substance—alcohol or drugs—they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Driving while impaired is illegal, period.  The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. It’s that simple.

Over the 2016 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 2 – 5:59 a.m. September 6), there were 433 crash fatalities nationwide.  Of the fatal crashes, more than one-third (36%) involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ blood alcohol concentration [BAC]), and one-fourth (25%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC).  Age is a particularly risky factor: Among the drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2016, 47 percent of those fatalities involved drunk drivers with BACs of .08 or higher.

“We need our community to understand: It’s up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober—Labor Day, and every day,” said Traffic Unit Officer Tim Bales, Sarasota Police Department.  “Drunk driving is a huge problem in our country, and the numbers are rising, little by little.  This isn’t about a ticketing campaign.  This is about a campaign to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and it takes lives.  Help us put an end to this senseless behavior,” Officer Bales said.  “The trend for the Labor Day holiday is in a positive direction, but our goal is to have zero fatalities, always.”

The Sarasota Police Department and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely.  There are safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

·         It is never okay to drink and drive.  Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.

·         Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en), and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.

·         If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency immediately.

·         Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.

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Four teenagers arrested and charged with robbery with a firearm

SARASOTA, FL  – August 9, 2018   – 10 a.m.

Four individuals (two adults and two juveniles) have been arrested and charged with robbery with a firearm following a call for service on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, just after midnight, Sarasota Police Officers were dispatched to the 400 block of East Cornelius Circle in reference to an alleged armed robbery.  The victim told Officers he was riding his bicycle home when a car pulled up beside him and a person got out wearing a black ski mask and gloves and pointed a gun at him.  Another individual was outside of the car while two other individuals were inside the car.  The victim told Officers when the suspects realized he had nothing of value, they got into the car and left.

When Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle in question, using overhead flashing lights, the vehicle accelerated and sped away at a high rate of speed.  Officers located the vehicle at the dead end of the 200 block of St. Lucie Avenue, Sarasota.  Three males and one female exited the vehicle and were placed under arrest.

While searching the vehicle, Officers located a Smith and Wesson replica BB pistol, a black winter hat with eye holes and mouth cut out, an air wedge and other various tools to open vehicle doors.  Officers also located various items that may have been stolen during vehicle burglaries near Cornelius Circle.  If you are a victim of a recently vehicle burglary in this neighborhood, you’re asked to contact Detective Megan Buck 941-954-7067.

The following suspects have been arrested and charged.  The juvenile names are being released since they have been charged with felonies however their booking phots were not available on the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office website.

·         Orlando Deulofeu, 18, of 2732 Nancy Street, Sarasota, charged with Robbery with a Firearm

·         Russell James, 18, of 1695 24th Street, Sarasota, charged with Robbery with a Firearm – Principal

·         Scott Lunt, 16, of 2027 Pompano Avenue, Sarasota, charged with Robbery with a Firearm – Principal

·         Iliana Barros, 14, of 2298 Seward Drive, Sarasota, charged with Robbery with a Firearm – Principal

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Back to School Safety Reminders for Students in Sarasota

SARASOTA, FL. – August 7, 2018   – 12:30 p.m.

On Monday, August 13, 2018, classes will resume for students in the City of Sarasota.  As students head back to class, the Sarasota Police Department wants to remind drivers there is a zero tolerance policy for speeding in school zones and passing school buses that have sign signs extended as students board or leave a school bus.

On August 13th, Sarasota Police Officers will be at numerous schools welcoming students back to class.  Like in previous years, Sarasota P.D. will again host a special #BackToSchool ‘Tweet from the Beat’ under the Twitter handle @SarasotaPD.  On all Sarasota Police Department Social Media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), followers will be able to find photos of Officers visiting schools around the City of Sarasota.  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 https://youtu.be/9fSEgJyMPew

Safety tips to remember as students head back to class in the City of Sarasota:

·         Students heading back to school means increased traffic on city roads.  Please allow extra travel time and watch for other cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and school buses.
 

·         Buckle up!  Make sure all passengers and drivers in a car, especially children, are buckled up.  In Florida, passengers under 18 years of age must wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a child car seat.
 

·         Pay attention to crossing guards and obey school zones.  All school zones in the City of Sarasota are 15 miles per hour.  Watch for students who will be walking 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 wide, that divides the street.

 

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

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Sarasota Police Deputy Chief Selected for 2018-2019 Leadership Florida

Sarasota Police Department Deputy Chief Pat Robinson has been chosen to represent the City of Sarasota at the 2018-2019 Leadership Florida Cornerstone XXXVII.  The mission of Leadership Florida is to discover and convene committed individuals, enhancing and recharging their leadership skills by introducing them to a powerful community through whom they find knowledge and inspiration.

“I’m honored to have been selected for such an esteemed program that is committed to improving the lives of the citizens of the State of Florida,” said Deputy Chief Robinson.  “I’m looking forward to representing Sarasota at this state level training.  I hope to be able to share our programs and accomplishments with our partners across the state and hope to learn how other communities are overcoming challenges in their own areas with the goal of recreating their successes here in Sarasota.”

New class members will participate in Leadership Florida’s renowned master sessions, which provide a comprehensive look at critical Florida issues, the opportunity to refine well-developed leadership skills via sessions with leadership experts, and relevant information on Florida's history, demography, education, environment, government, agriculture, transportation, culture, diversities, challenges, opportunities, and more.  For 37 years, Leadership Florida has dedicated itself to bringing together emerging and existing leaders from across the state to challenge, prepare, and inspire them to build a better Florida.

Deputy Chief Robinson will join Florida’s best and brightest leaders from a variety of professions, philosophies, and geographies who represent Florida’s diverse population.  Leadership Florida Cornerstone XXXVII will take part in an eight-month learning experience in various locations throughout Florida to get an in depth look on how other communities are addressing the challenges facing the state of Florida.
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Suspicious Vehicle Investigation Leads to Arrest of Two Women

SARASOTA, FL  – August 3, 2018   – 8 a.m.

Two women have been arrested and charged after Sarasota Police Officers responded to a suspicious vehicle in the 200 block of Midwest Parkway, Sarasota, on Sunday morning.  Officers observed both women injecting themselves with needles while two children were in the vehicle.

On July 29, 2018 at approximately 3:30 a.m., Officers responded to Midwest Parkway for a suspicious vehicle.  When Officers arrived, they found a vehicle sitting in a driveway with Lisa Bryan, 53, sitting in the front passenger seat and Krystle Mcleod, 37, sitting in the driver’s seat.   In the backseat were Mcleod’s daughters, both 3 years old.

A search of the vehicle yielded powder cocaine, rock cocaine, marijuana, used needles, burned spoons, burned glass and pipes.  The children were taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to be medically cleared as a precaution.  The Department of Children and Families was also notified.  Both women were arrested and transported to the Sarasota County Jail.

Mcleod has been charged with two counts of Child Neglect without Great Bodily Harm, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Marijuana Under 20 grams, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Residue.  Bryan has been charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia with Residue and Possession of Drugs without a Prescription.

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Sarasota Police Encourage Meeting in ‘Safe Places’ for Online Transactions Following Three Incidents

SARASOTA, FL  – July 31, 201   – 2:30 p.m.

The Sarasota Police Department is looking for information on a suspect or suspects involved in at least one robbery and two grand thefts that have occurred since July 17, 2018 in the City of Sarasota using the online app “LetGo.”

On July 17, 2018 at approximately 9:30 p.m., a victim met with a suspect from “LetGo” to sell electronics.  A suspect described as a black male, 6’2” tall, thin build and last seen wearing a red hoodie and dark backpack, grabbed the electronics and fled the area.  This is a robbery since the electronics were physically taken from the victim.

On July 28, 2018 at approximately 6 p.m., a second victim was contacted via “LetGo” and met with the suspect to sell jewelry.  The suspect, who was described as a black male with shoulder length dreads, last seen wearing a blue shirt, jeans, black New Balance sneakers and a Michael Kors watch, took the jewelry and fled the area.

On July 29, 2018 at approximately 7 p.m., a third victim met with a suspect from “LetGo” to sell clothing.  The suspect took the clothing and said he’d return with the money.  The suspect never returned.  He’s described as a light skinned black male with a scruffy bread, 6’ tall with a medium build, last seen wearing a gray hoodie, black jeans and red shoes.

“LetGo” is a free app that allows users to buy from, sell to and chat with others in their community.  In May 2015, the Sarasota Police Department designated the lobby of Headquarters, 2099 Adams Lane, Sarasota, as a ‘Safe Place’ to conduct online transactions.  The public can use the lobby to meet and complete transactions arraigned online and Officers and/or members of the Sarasota Police Department will be standing by to increase the buyer’s and seller’s sense of security.  Video of the lobby area can be found at https://youtu.be/3G4OnO1D37s

In the three cases involving “LetGo” since July 17, 2018, there have been no injuries and no weapons were used.  Anyone with information on these cases is asked to call Detective Kim Laster at 941-364-7327 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com

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In a proactive and innovative way to protect residents and visitors in the City of Sarasota, the Sarasota Police Department is offering the Sarasota Police Department lobby as a 'Safe Place' to conduct online transactions.