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.