Police Chief sworn in, vows to work closely with community

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SARASOTA - The city of Sarasota made history Friday, swearing in the city's first female police chief. And the new chief is helping implement new policing strategies.

With the new chief comes new direction. And that includes making the citizens the eyes and ears of the police.

“We are going to be implementing some new strategies within the police department, and that includes community policing. I strongly believe in the development of relationships and the partnerships with the citizens of our community,” says Chief Bernadette DiPinio.

She says the mission during her tenure will be to connect with the residents of Sarasota in hopes of preventing crime by making the citizens the eyes and ears of the police.

And just last week, that partnership was on display when a local reverend and the NAACP president helped turn in a suspect wanted for murder. “We drove to an undisclosed location out of town, chatted with him, brought him back to Sarasota, contacted the police chief when we were close to the Police Department, and said ‘hey, Mr. Lamar wanted to turn himself in’,” says Trevor Harvey.

He says their goal was to work with the police to help bring a peaceful end to an already bad situation. “We're trying to encourage local law enforcement to do, is that when they have these situations to consistently reach out to us. Because most cases we can help to resolve those type of issues so they don't turn sour.”

And with the new direction of the Police Department, Harvey can rest assured he will be called on again. “I give you our commitment as police officers, we are going to do everything we can to make Sarasota the safest place in America, and we're going to continue to reduce crime, engage with you, and show your our professional our courtesy and respect,” says Chief DiPino.