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First Woman Appointed to Lead SRQ Police Department

Bernadette DiPino was appointed today to serve as the next Chief of Police for the Sarasota Police Department. She will become the first woman and the eleventh Chief to lead the department in its 110 year history. “Chief DiPino will bring the experience, passion and leadership to lead the SPD in partnering with every citizen in Sarasota to keep this community the safe and special place that it is,” said City Manager Tom Barwin.

“As a state and national leader in her field, Chief DiPino epitomizes the concept, and walks the walk, that police officers are a part of, not a part from the community,” said Mr. Barwin. The appointment was announced during a news conference this afternoon at City Hall.

Chief DiPino is currently the Chief of Police for the town of Ocean City, Maryland, the second largest municipal police agency in Maryland. She has served in that position for 10 years. “I’m honored to have been selected as Sarasota’s next Chief of Police,” said Chief DiPino. “I’m really looking forward to engaging residents and becoming part of the community. I have an open door policy and I want to hear from everyone about police issues – not just the bad but what’s good as well. Sarasota is the kind of community where I can have a positive impact and I can’t wait to get started.” The Chief will reside within the city limits.

Her first day on the job will be January 1, 2013. Chief Mikel Hollaway has agreed to delay his retirement.

A law enforcement officer for 27 years, Chief DiPino has extensive experience in an array of policing areas including community policing, which Sarasota City Commissioners would like to see expanded here. Since becoming a certified Community Policing Instructor in 1995, she has trained 1,000 officers in partnering and policing. She has also managed several community policing initiatives including transforming a bicycle patrol unit into a department-wide community policing philosophy, reducing the availability of alcohol for minors, providing alcohol and drug-free activities for high school graduates, partnering with nightclub owners to standardize the management of clubs, providing citizen outreach crime prevention training programs, engaging citizens directly through the use of social media including Twitter and developing partnerships with business owners and citizens.

“I have asked Chief DiPino to take community policing to the next level here, which I shall call “Partnership Policing”, said Mr. Barwin. “Under her leadership I am confident the SPD will again be recognized as one of the finest departments in the State of Florida. I look forward to working with her to make her vision a reality.”

Along with community policing, Chief DiPino is an instructor in the following fields:

  • firearms
  • defensive tactics
  • domestic violence
  • suicide/crisis intervention
  • cultural diversity
  • effective communication

Additionally, she has commended the Ocean City quick response team (SWAT/hostage negotiators) and has served as a narcotics detective, an undercover officer and a patrol officer.

Chief DiPino serves on the International Association of Chiefs of Police representing the states of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. She also is a past president of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association.

During her distinguished career, she has been honored with many professional recognitions and awards including the Chief of Police Award, Officer of the Year (three times), Citizen of the Year and Outstanding Performance of Duty.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in liberal studies from Salisbury State College.

Before making the appointment, Mr. Barwin sought input from SPD patrol officers and commanders, a Citizen Panel, City Commissioners and Department Heads. The City also hosted a community reception for the five finalists.

For more information contact:
City Manager Tom Barwin at 941-954-4102


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This entry was posted on 10/16/2012 by in Local Interest and tagged , , , , , .


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