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Sarasota News Leader June 28, 2013 Page 34 rounding community to help the second-tier offenders with mentoring and other assistance. "We're putting in a strong foundation," said Grant. "The byproduct will be the trust of the community, to have the faith to call us," he added. "We have to win over the confidence of the people. We're not here just to arrest people." POLITICAL WILL The High Point strategy was imposed from the top down. The City Commission, and especially Commissioner Willie Shaw, urged the city police to use it. When the city manager, under the guidance of the commission, selected a new police chief late last year, the High Point strategy was one of the make-or-break questions for applicants. All five finalists expressed support for the strategy. When Bernadette DiPino was selected as the new chief, Grant said it was clear from the outset where she stood. "There was no doubt the chief was on board from day one," he pointed out. "I recall a meeting on her first day about this." Grant says the State Attorney's Office is backing the High Point strategy as well. "They've stood behind it from the beginning," he said. State Attorney Ed Brodsky participated in the initial trip Sarasota officials took to North Carolina to examine first-hand how the strategy worked. Vice Mayor Willie Shaw. Photo by Norman Schimmel The strategy was put in a nutshell during a June 12 police promotion ceremony. James Rieser, who was promoted to detective lieutenant, told the crowd of well-wishers, "If you're dealing drugs, you'd better stop, because here we come." %

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