SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight has announced he won’t be seeking re-election when his current term ends in January 2021.
In a press release Thursday, Knight did not state his reason for not seeking another term, instead highlighting his list of accomplishments as the sheriff of Sarasota County, including:
- Transitioning the sheriff's office to the intelligence-led policing model, resulting in a nearly 52 percent crime rate reduction in Part 1 Offenses since 2009
- One of the first sheriffs in Florida to enter the Secure Communities program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Obama administration, which allowed for the identification and removal of criminal illegal aliens from the jail
- Creating the first jail-based addiction recovery pods in the Southeast United States, later developing additional specialty pods for inmate veterans and those suffering from mental health issues, to help inmates who are are in custody primarily because of drug and mental health problems successfully re-enter the community, thus reducing recidivism
- Reducing metal thefts and all but wiping out local opioid “pill mills” by collaborating with county commissioners to pass specific ordinances to disrupt businesses that created vital links within criminal ecosystems
- Launching citizen advisory boards in north and south Sarasota County, and assembling a group of leaders within the faith community to help strengthen the relationship between the agency and north Sarasota County neighborhoods, as well as launching the “Rightful Policing Strategy” program, aimed at building trust, understanding and mutual respect among law enforcement and Sarasota County teens
- Implementing several significant policy changes and creating an attractive recruitment process that has helped with retention, making the sheriff’s office one of the most highly competitive agencies in the state of Florida
Knight spent most of his childhood in Venice, began his law enforcement career with Sarasota Police in 1987. In 1989, he joined Florida Highway Patrol, where he spent 20 years, working his way to the position of major. In 2008, he was elected sheriff of Sarasota County.
Knight was sworn in as sheriff in January 2009 and was elected to two additional terms with no opposition.