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Sarasota News Leader June 28, 2013 Page 19 and on the road — about 10 months. There- community, but that doesn't mean that you have abandoned community policing." fore, he said, retaining deputies "is huge." Moreover, Knight said, "We're always out scouting for the best candidates." His view is that quality of personnel is more important than quantity, he told the board. "No," Knight replied. "And it can't be done without the cooperation of the surrounding jurisdictions," Mason added. Salary and benefits for a rookie deputy are "It works better when you get collaboration $61,181, according to a graph presented to the and cooperation," Knight told her. County Commission. That figure accounts for The Sheriff's Office was in the forefront of 49 percent of the cost. community policing initiatives in the 1990s, Maj. Kevin Kenney pointed out to the com- Knight continued. "[ILP is] hugely based on missioners that a reduction in force normally analytical data and actual data." leads to decline in service. "We have not rec- The Sheriff's office "is very well engaged with ognized that whatsoever," he said. [the] North Port [Police Department]," he addKnight came into office with a plan to change the culture of the agency, which is difficult to do, Kenney added. "We can't do that without complete buy-in at the mid-management and direct supervisor level," he continued, "and that's where we focused our attention. … We worked very hard as senior staff to get those folks trained effectively, consistently and put the accountability on them." ed, and "Venice is on board with us. … We're always looking to partner and share information." ANOTHER POSITIVE TREND Regarding the jail, Maj. Jim Lilly told the commissioners the department had been able to maintain the population between 860 and 950 a day over the past 12 months, in part as a result of work-release and other programs coKenney continued, "One word that character- ordinated through the judicial system. izes our agency over the last four years is 'ac- Several years ago, Lilly said, the jail populacountability.'" tion hovered between 1,017 and 1,060. Reinforcing Kenney's comments, Maj. Jim Lil- With the decrease in crime the county has exly said, "We try to instill the thought, 'Good perienced, Knight said, "I don't see us arrestthings don't happen; they're made to happen.'" ing … enough people to populate that jail for another 200 beds" for the near future. Chairwoman Carolyn Mason said that from what she understood of the Intelligence Led Responding to that, Commissioner Joe BarPolicing program, "it's a huge asset to the betta told Knight, "That's huge." %

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