Sarasota News Leader

02/01/2013

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Sarasota News Leader February 1, 2013 Page 32 "I think that's going to help bridge some gaps. homeless are not a police problem unless It's up to us police to gain that trust," she told they are breaking the law," she said. "There are mental issues or addiction issues or just The Sarasota News Leader. the personal choice to be homeless," she said. More quietly she also will institute internal "There's not enough facilities, counselors or training for officers. doctors to handle this problem." STAFF REASSIGNMENTS Among other measures, DiPino plans to re-establish the full-time position of crime prevention officer. She said City Manager Tom Barwin's ad hoc committee on the homeless will be coming up with suggestions soon. "We need to spend money to help these people with rehabilitation and social work," she said. "Police officers know how to write tickets and arrest people, to enforce the law. Is there another way we can handle these individuals?" "You cannot have community policing without it," she said. "You can have a crime prevention officer without community policing, but if you want community policing, you have to have a To that end, she is working with Sarasota crime prevention officer." paralegal Michael Barfield and the local chapIn addition to having the officer make the ter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Barresidential associafield and the ACLU tion rounds to inform have played a watchpeople about how to We have to re-establish and gain dog role recently in protect their homes, trust in the community. I believe outreach defending the rights of DiPino wants this de- and education is important. homeless people. partment represenBernadette DiPino "I met with Barfield totative to experiment Police Chief day. We both agreed to Sarasota with social media to see if the judicial sysreach beyond the stantem can help us," she dard neighborhood meetings. "Maybe they said on Jan. 30. "Maybe we can get our mental could write a column for the local newspahealth court to expand its parameters. The poper," she mused. lice don't want to keep arresting people over She plans to make permanent the temporary and over." reassignment of an officer to monitor homeHer hand is not free. Sarasota's police officers lessness and vagrancy downtown. Her prededo not have a contract with the city, despite cessor slotted an officer to that task tempomonths and months of negotiations and merarily after Mayor Suzanne Atwell complained diations. Meanwhile, city budget preparation last year of feeling unsafe downtown after is getting under way for next year, and DiPidark. no must conform to the fiscal reality that the DiPino expects the position to be much more city's police force is the most expensive item than keeping tabs on Five Points Park. "The in it. %

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