SARASOTA-- The city of Sarasota officially has its new top cop.
Chief Bernadette DiPino started her tenure as the city's newest Police Chief on Monday. She replaces Mikel Holloway, who retired last month.
DiPino is the first female Chief of Police in the department's 110 year history.
"I have never looked at myself as being the first woman doing anything," DiPino said on Monday. "I have always looked at it as an occupation and a job that I wanted to do, but I am very honored and I take it seriously."
Previously, DiPino served as Police Chief in Ocean City Maryland for ten years. She says there is no place she would rather be than Sarasota.
"Sarasota has everything I was looking for in a community that I wanted to live in. There are beautiful beaches, culture, a great community and a great police department," DiPino said.
DiPino plans on getting right to work. She says her department will be all about three things: Professionalism, Visibility, and Accuracy. The Chief plans to initiate a community policing program, one that she successfully enforced in Ocean City. The program is designed to bring together officers and citizens, with the common goal of deterring crime.
DiPino also plans to tackle the issue concerning the homeless population, and some of the recent stories concerning officers and members of the homeless.
"I know the City Manager has put together a task force to study the homeless issue. From the police department side, we are hoping to collaborate with some social groups and have a citizens group respond whenever we have an issue," said DiPino.
In her spare time, DiPino enjoys playing tennis and going to the beach. Being from Baltimore, she is a huge Orioles fan and looks forward to seeing some spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium.