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Partnership Policing Communications Coordinator (PIO)
Genevieve Judge
Desk Phone: 941-954-7094
Fax: 941-954-7034

Sarasota Police Honored at 16th District Congressional Law Enforcement Awards

Post Date:05/14/2019 12:50 PM

The Sarasota Police Department Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU), Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) and Detective Anthony DeFrancisco were honored Monday night during Congressman Vern Buchanan’s 16th District Congressional Law Enforcement Awards.

Detective DeFrancisco received the Career Service Award for his dedicated effort on hundreds of serious felony cases throughout his career.  He’s honorably served the City of Sarasota as a Police Officer for 22 years, 19 of which have been spent as a criminal investigator.  During his career as a Detective in the Criminal Investigative Division, Detective DeFrancisco has been the lead investigator on 20 homicide investigations and as an investigative team member on dozens more.

In October 2018, Detective DeFrancisco successfully identified and arrested a suspect that was responsible for the brutal sexual assault and murder of Judith Doherty, age 23, in 1983.  The original investigation hit a dead end after all available leads were thoroughly investigated.  In 2009, Detective DeFrancisco took it upon himself to pore through the numerous case files to determine if any new leads could potentially be developed.  In December 2018, Detective DeFrancisco was able to utilize new DNA technology to identify the suspect in a string of five brutal sexual assaults that occurred in Sarasota in the early 1990’s.  Through determination and refusal to leave any stone unturned, DeFrancisco was able to bring justice and a sense of closure to five local women who thought an arrest would never occur.  

The Sarasota Police CNU and SWAT received the Unit Citation Award for their hard work involving a barricaded subject inside a Sarasota hotel.  In May 2018, Sarasota Police Officers responded to a call of a man barricaded at the Westin Hotel.  When they arrived, Officers learned the man was on the 17th floor.  Officers evacuated several floors of the hotel and the rooftop bar.  CNU and SWAT members were immediately activated. 

As Officers assigned to night shift arrived for duty at headquarters, many of them immediately responded to the scene to assist while others remained available to respond to other calls for service throughout the city.  As special response units arrived on scene, Officers on scene provided vital services such securing stairways and elevators, conducting traffic control in the area and maintaining crime scene logs.  CNU members were able to speak with the man for nearly an hour, encouraging him to come out and turn himself into SWAT members who were in hallways nearby. 

The man exited peacefully and allowed himself to be taken into custody.  Due to the suspect’s location in a high-rise hotel room that looked onto a crowded and busy downtown, this situation had the potential to have a tragic outcome; however, due to the Crisis Negotiators’ training and experience, and the SWAT teams rapid and successful deployment during this critical incident, the standoff ended without injuries.

The 8th Annual Congressional Law Enforcement Awards coincided with the 2019 National Police Week.  In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.



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