Sheriff Tom Knight

Image: Barbara Banks

Sheriff Tom Knight has announced that he will not be seeking re-election after his current term, which ends in January 2021. The son of a World War II Purple Heart recipient and a mother who worked in the Sarasota County school system, Knight spent most of his childhood in Venice and began his career in law enforcement with the Sarasota Police Department in 1987. He was elected sheriff in 2008 and sworn into office in January 2009. During Knight's tenure, the Sarasota County Sheriff's office was one of the first agencies in the nation to implement intelligence-led policing, which focuses on prolific offenders; has reduced Part 1 offenses in the county by 52 percent; was one of the first agencies in the country to enter the Secure Communities program with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Obama administration, which allowed for the identification and removal of criminal illegal aliens from the jail; and has significantly reduced the number of opioid "pill mills" by collaborating with county commissioners to pass specific ordinances to disrupt businesses that created vital links within criminal ecosystem, which became a model for the state. 

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