Drive gently: Sarasota deputies on a mission to enforce, educate

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 6:50 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A yearlong initiative to educate drivers in Sarasota County is now underway, with increased patrols, warnings and tickets, the sheriff’s office says.

“We’re known more for educating actually more than we write citations,” said Sgt. Darrell Seckendorf with the sheriff’s traffic unit. “But if we feel someone needs that little extra, then we write the citation to send that message home.”

You’ll notice more deputies on motorcycles or unmarked vehicles in specific areas throughout Sarasota County. It’s all thanks to funding the sheriff’s office has received for their High Visibility Enforcement initiative.

“Our enforcement when we go out there, we’re actually stationary in specific locations that are determined by the University of North Florida,” said Seckendorf. “Through their study, it shows where we have the highest crash data when it comes to pedestrian fatalities and injuries, so they want us to focus on those areas.”

One bicyclist who spoke with a deputy says he’s happy to see this increased presence of law enforcement.

“I mean that’s the last thing I want to do is get hit by a car, I know it’s pretty common in Sarasota,” said Michael Mazur, a Sarasota resident. “I’ve lived here for six months and a lot of people are hurt or killed on bikes.”

Sarasota County ranks in the top 25 in the state of Florida for serious or fatal crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists. Deputies say the overall goal of this campaign is to make these roads safer.

“We’re making a difference out there,” said Seckendorf. “Whether it’s educational or enforcement, we’re out there, the public sees us in a more concentrated area.”

The High Visibility Enforcement initiative runs until May 2022. It’s something the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is doing as well.

Copyright 2022 WWSB. All rights reserved.