Kurt Hoffman announces his candidacy for Sarasota County sheriff

He has served as chief deputy and general counsel for Tom Knight over past 10 years

Kurt A. Hoffman. Contributed photo

With Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight having announced on June 6 that he would not seek re-election in 2020, Knight’s chief deputy and general counsel, Col. Kurt A. Hoffman, has announced his candidacy to become the next sheriff.

During interviews since then, Knight has made clear his support for Hoffman. A couple of Sarasota County commissioners did so last week, too — including Chair Charles Hines — when Knight, Hoffman and other senior staff members of the Sheriff’s Office presented their proposed 2020 fiscal year budget to the board.

Hoffman, a Republican, filed formally with the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office on June 6, that office’s website shows.

“For his nearly 20-year friendship and mentorship, I owe Sheriff Knight a great deal of gratitude,” Hoffman said in a June 27 press release. “I look forward to the future and leading this agency with the same pride, passion, and integrity Sheriff Knight exhibited during his time as sheriff,” Hoffman added.

A graduate of Lemon Bay High School, Hoffman grew up in Englewood, the release notes. He resides in Venice with his wife of 33 years, Teri, a nurse at Englewood Hospital.

Hoffman comes from a long line of law enforcement officers, among them his father, brother and two uncles, “who all proudly served their respective communities,” the release adds.

Hoffman’s law enforcement career began nearly 30 years ago, the release continues, when he became a deputy with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. Later, he served as an assistant state attorney for the 12th Judicial Circuit.

He has spent the past 14 years, he says in the release, serving “with the best agency in the state of Florida, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.”

“The nearly 1,000 men and women of this agency are of the highest quality and caliber I have ever worked with, and with their assistance, I look forward to carrying on the legacy established by Sheriff Knight over the last 10 years,” Hoffman added in the release.

While he has worked as Knight’s second in command, Hoffman continued, “we have accomplished so much, including a 51% reduction in violent crimes, which has made our community an extremely safe place to live, work, and raise a family. We have worked tirelessly to implement progressive and cost-effective jail programs that help inmates rebuild their lives to become employable, productive members of our community.” He added in the release, “Addressing emerging crime trends, implementing innovative crime strategies, and building relationships with our community have been my top priorities while serving the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.”

Hoffman earned a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from Saint Leo University, a Master of Science in criminal justice from Hodges University, a Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University, and a postgraduate certificate in leadership from the University of Virginia, the release points out. In 2014, he graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy, a 10-week invitation-only program held on the United States Marine Corp base in Quantico, Va., the release notes.

“I built my professional career on preparing to step into this important role and I do so with a high degree of humility and appreciation for the awesome responsibility,” Hoffman said in the release. “While the Sheriff’s office is headed in a great direction, there is still a lot of work to be done.”

He pointed out in the release, “One of the most challenging and dynamic issues we are facing is overcrowding in the jail. Not only does the criminal justice community need to rethink its strategy of incarceration, but we need to make sure all the right players are at the table.”

Further, he said in the release, “We must be innovative by staying ahead of criminals through technology, science, education, and training. We need to continue building relationships among governmental bodies and put in the work to sustain them. With support from the community as well as the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office,” Hoffman added, “I believe we can accomplish anything, and together, continue to make Sarasota County a model community for the entire country to follow.”