Office of Professional Standards
The Office of Professional Standards is responsible for developing and reviewing policy, conducting internal audits and inspections and examining procedures throughout the department for efficiency and policy compliance. The Office of Professional Standards looks for opportunities to streamline procedures and improve systems to make the department more efficient, effective and accountable.
- Accreditation increases the law enforcement agency’s ability to prevent and control crime through more effective and efficient delivery of law enforcement services to the community it serves.
- Accreditation enhances community understanding of the law enforcement agency and its role in the community as well as its goals and objectives.
- Increases cooperation and coordination with other law enforcement agencies and other branches of the criminal justice system.
- The accreditation process requires an in-depth review of every aspect of the agency’s organization, management, operations, and administration.
- The accreditation standards provide norms against which agency performance can be measured and monitored over time.
- Accreditation requires that agency policies and procedures are in written form and are available to all agency personnel at all times.
- Accreditation standards address officer safety issues and provide for adequate training and equipment for the officers.
- Accreditation is a coveted award that symbolizes professionalism, excellence, and competence. Employees will take pride in their agency, knowing that it represents the very best in law enforcement.
Accreditation is the certification by an independent reviewing authority that an entity has met specific requirements and prescribed standards. The Sarasota Police Department first achieved recognition as an accredited agency through the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, Inc. (CFA) in 2002 and became reaccredited 2005, 2008 and 2012.
In late June 2014, Chief Bernadette DiPino withdrew the Sarasota Police Department voluntarily from the accreditation process to review the 256 policies and standards included in the accreditation process.
Maintaining accreditation through the reaccreditation process includes undergoing an on-site inspection by a team of authorized assessors every three years, providing annual reports, and documentation of compliance to over 250 standards.
The following are some of the benefits of Accreditation to the Community, Chief of Police and to the Officers:
[+] CRIME PREVENTION
[-] CRIME PREVENTION
- Always keep your doors and windows locked. Install dead-bolt locks on all doors.
- Keep your home well lit at night, inside and out, and keep your curtains closed at night.
- Install a peephole in your front door so you can see callers without opening the door.
- Ask for proper identification from delivery men or strangers. Don’t be afraid of asking, if they are legitimate they won't mind.
- Never give your credit card, phone card, social security, or bank account number to anyone over the phone unless you've placed the call.
- If a stranger asks to use your telephone, offer to place the call for him/her yourself. Never let a stranger into your home.
- Do not leave notes on your door when you are gone, and do not hide your keys under the mat or in other conspicuous places.
- Never give out information over the phone indicating you are alone or that you won’t be home at a certain time.
- When you are gone for more than a day, make sure your home looks and sounds occupied —use automatic timers to turn on lights and a radio or television. Cancel your mail and newspaper deliveries.
While you’re out...
- Carry your purse very close to you — don’t dangle it from your arm. Also, never leave your purse in a shopping cart.
- Don’t carry more cash than is necessary. Many grocery stores now accept checks and automatic teller cards instead of cash.
- Avoid walking alone at night. Try to have a friend accompany you in high risk areas, even during the daytime.
- Do not carry weapons, they may be used against you.
- Have your paychecks or government checks sent directly to your bank account. Many banks have senior citizens discounts.
- Never withdraw money from your bank accounts for anyone except YOURSELF. Be wary of con artists and get-rich schemes that probably are too-good-to-be-true.
In your car...
- Keep your gas tank full and your engine properly maintained to avoid breakdowns.
- Always lock your car doors, even when you’re inside and keep your windows rolled up. Driving with the windows closed also improves gas mileage.
- Lock packages and other valuables in the trunk. Do not leave them on the back seat or on the floor of the car where potential thieves can see them.
- When you return to your car, always check the front and back seat before you get in.
- Never pick up hitchhikers.
- If your car breaks down, pull over to the right as far as possible, raise the hood, and wait inside the car for help. Do not get out of the car or roll down the window until the police arrive.
If your are a victim at home...
- If you arrive at home and suspect a stranger may be inside, DON’T GO IN. Leave quietly and call 911 to report the crime.
- If you are attacked on the street, make as much noise as possible by calling for help or blowing a whistle. Do not pursue your attacker. Call 911 and report the crime as soon as possible.
- If you have been swindled or conned, report the crime to your local police or district attorney’s office. Con artists count on their victim’s reluctance to admit they’ve been duped, but if you delay, you help them get away. Remember, if you never report the crime, they are free to cheat others again and again and you have no chance of ever getting your money back.
What you can do to help:
- Work to change conditions that hurt your neighborhood: Volunteer as a citizen patroller, tutor for children, office aide in the police or fire department, mentor for teens, or escort individuals with disabilities.
- Contact your local American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) for more information on how to get involved in other community programs.
What to do if you are a victim of "Identity Theft" Identity theft can strike YOU even if you've been very careful about keeping your personal information to yourself. If you think that your personal information has been hijacked take immediate action. Contact Police and all others that need to be contacted. Keep a record of all conversations and correspondence. All cases and situations of identity theft are different. However, there are three basic actions that you can take in almost every case.
Step One: Contact the fraud department of each of the three major credit bureaus. Tell them what has happened and request that a "Fraud Alert" be placed in your file, as well as a victim (your) statement asking creditors to call you before opening any new accounts or changing any information to your existing accounts. At the same time order a copy of your credit report. Also, check that section of your credit report that lists "inquiries." If there are any new inquiries that are not by your doing, request that these inquires be removed from your credit report. In a few months reorder another copy of your credit report to verify your corrections and changes and to make sure that no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
Step Two: Contact any creditors about any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Credit card companies, phone companies, utilities, banks and lenders should all be contacted. Notify these companies in writing and follow all consumer protection guidelines. Immediately close accounts that have been tampered with and open new accounts with new personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords. Don't use any easily available information such as, your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your social security number, your phone number or a series of consecutive numbers.
Step Three: File a report with your local Police Department and get a copy of the report in case the bank, credit card company or others need proof of the crime.
Other helpful information: Stolen Mail: If an identity thief has stolen your mail to get new credit cards, bank or credit card statements, prescreened credit offers or tax information, or if a thief has falsified change of address forms, that's a crime. Report this to the Police Department and contact your local Post Office and ask to speak to the Postal Inspector.
Change of address on credit card accounts: If the thief has changed the address on your credit card accounts, close the account right away. And once again ask them to contact you if there is any new activity or inquiries to your new account.
Bank Accounts: If you believe or fear that someone has tampered with your bank account, checking account, or ATM card, close those accounts immediately. In addition, if your checks have been stolen or misused, stop payment right away. Also contact the major check verification companies to request that they notify retailers using their databases not to accept these checks.
The three major check verification companies are:
- Telecheck: 1-800-710-9898
- International Check Services: 1-800-631-9656
- Equifax: 1-800-437-5120
If your ATM card has been lost, stolen or otherwise compromised, CANCEL IT as soon as possible and get a new PIN number.
Investments:If you believe someone has information about your investments, immediately report it to your broker or account manager.
Phone Services:If a thief has established a new phone service in your name, or is making unauthorized calls billed to you, is using your cell phone number, or your calling card and PIN, contact your service providers right a way and cancel your accounts. To get fraudulent phone charges removed from your bill contact your state Public Service Commission, for in state calls, and call the FCC for long distance and cell calls.
Emplyment:If someone is using your social security number to apply for a job or to work, that is a crime. Report it to the Social Security Administration's Fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Also call SSA, 1-800-772-1213, to verify the accuracy of the earnings reported on your SSN and request a copy of your social security statement. Follow up all calls in writing.
If someone has used your SSN to obtain a drivers license or non-drivers ID, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Bankruptcy:If someone has filed for bankruptcy using your information, write to the U.S. Trustee in the region where the bankruptcy was filed. Your letter should describe the situation in detail and you should provide proof of your identity. You may also want to file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney and/or the FBI in the City where the bankruptcy was filed.
Arrests/RecordsIf someone using your identity is arrested and uses your name, you may need to hire an Attorney to help you resolve the problem.
Should I apply for a new Social Security Number? Contact the SSA and they, in some cases, will assign you a new SSN. However, the new SSN may not solve your identity theft problems and could actually create new problems. Seek guidance in this matter.
Crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility, not just a job for law enforcement. Seniors can learn how to protect themselves from crime by following these simple, common-sense suggestions. Share these tips with your neighbors and friends too and make it tough for criminals to work in your neighborhood.
[+] HOMELESS COORDINATOR
[-] HOMELESS COORDINATOR
The Homeless Coordinator's mission is to identify and address quality of life issues that arise from the homeless community, to enforce City Code violations and to manage the Trespass Enforcement Program. Through partnerships with social service providers, we are able to refer services to the homeless when appropriate.
[+] INTERNAL AFFAIRS
[-] INTERNAL AFFAIRS
It is the goal of the Sarasota Police Department Internal Affairs and Complaints (IAC) Section to ensure that allegations of suspected misconduct, made against employees of this agency are thoroughly and objectively investigated. A thorough and objective investigation is necessary to maintain public trust and ensure that police misconduct will not be tolerated.
The Internal Affairs and Complaints (IAC) Section is responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by police officers as directed by the Chief of Police.
It is the policy of the Police Department that inquiries and complaints about Department employees will be accepted from any source to include, but not be limited to, in person or anonymously, by correspondence or telephone. This Unit is led by Lt. John LeBlanc.
If you are dissatisfied with police services or would like to file a complaint regarding police misconduct, you may do so by contacting the Sarasota Police Department at 941-954-7025. Generally, complaints and inquiries are received by any on-duty supervisor at the Sarasota Police Department.
A complaint or inquiry may also be filed with the Internal Affairs and Complaints (IAC) Section. An appointment is not required, but is suggested to efficiently accomplish the process. To schedule an appointment, you may contact Lt. John LeBlanc at 941-954-7007, or he may be reached via email at John_LeBlanc@sarasotagov.com
The nature of the complaint is one factor that will determine the level at which each complaint is investigated.
Informal investigations are conducted at the Division level under the oversight of the IAC Lieutenant. These investigations are handled primarily by the supervisor of the involved employee and forwarded through the IAC Lt. The final disposition is approved by the Chief of Police.
Formal Investigations are conducted by the Internal Affairs and Complaints (IAC) Section. During these investigations, the complainant, the involved employee and witnesses are interviewed under oath. A report is prepared to include transcribed statements and all other evidence pertinent to the case.
Completed cases are brought before the Chief of Police for review by the IAC Lt. The Chief of Police ultimately makes the final decision regarding the disposition of all formal complaints. The complaint may be sustained, not sustained, exonerated or unfounded. At the conclusion of each case, letters of disposition will be sent to the complainant. The Chief of Police will determine the disciplinary actions for sustained allegations.
While the Sarasota Police Department encourages citizens to report legitimate complaints of misconduct, our agency assumes that citizens will not file frivolous, vindictive or false complaints against employees who have properly performed their duties. State law prohibits anyone from lying under oath and forbids the intentional filing of a false report to law enforcement agencies.
Complaints will be thoroughly investigated in a fair and objective manner. The facts of the investigation are confidential until the investigation is complete. The Internal Affairs and Complaints (IAC) Section will make recommendations to the Chief in reference to the findings and disciplinary action of a case. The Sarasota Police Department is committed to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity as we serve our community.
[+] VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
[-] VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
How to become a volunteer:
As the Sarasota Police Department's Citizen Volunteer Coordinator, I want to encourage you to consider joining our program, a partnership between the police and citizens who serve their community with excellence and pride.
There are many ways to serve the community. The Citizen Volunteer Program is an excellent opportunity to join others who are committed to the community that we live in and the police department that serves them. Our program provides a resource of qualified volunteers to assist the Sarasota Police Department in maintaining and improving the quality of service provided to the citizens of the City of Sarasota.
There are many ways that you can participate in the Citizen Volunteer Program: Walking Patrols, Neighborhood Vehicle Patrols, Administrative Duties at the Police Department, Emergency Cellular Phone Distribution, Parking Enforcement Specialists, and a variety of opportunities in an expanding program.
Consider the opportunity to be a member of this community driven program. Join the Sarasota Police Department and the City of Sarasota as a member of the Citizen Volunteer Program and be part of a winning team.
The Sarasota Police Department is actively recruiting volunteers for its Citizen Volunteer Program. Community-minded persons may apply to work inside the police department in a variety of positions or work as "citizens on patrol". By doing so, you are serving your community and working with our officers to maintain the quality of life that we have become so accustomed to in Sarasota. Call now for an application and for more information.
Do your part, VOLUNTEER!
Officer Linda DeNiro
Sarasota Police Department
Crime Prevention Unit
View a video about our Volunteer Program here --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AwD5WMhAI0