Rieser appointed Sarasota chief of police

Captain has nearly 30 years of experience in law enforcement

Sarasota Police Chief James Rieser. Photo courtesy City of Sarasota

Capt. James Rieser has been named chief of the Sarasota Police Department (SPD), City Manager Marlon Brown announced on Jan. 29.

With nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience, Rieser will serve as the City of Sarasota’s 12th police chief, Brown pointed out during a presentation at SPD headquarters in downtown Sarasota on the morning of Jan. 29.

Rieser began his new role at 5 p.m. the same day Brown introduced him with his new title, the release notes. That is when the resignation of previous Chief Bernadette DiPino went into effect.

“It’s an honor to promote and appoint Jim Rieser to become SPD’s 12th chief of police,” Brown said. “During his 29-year career with SPD, he has risen through the ranks from police officer 2nd class to sergeant [to] lieutenant and has been serving as captain for the past six years,” Brown added. “He’s well-respected in the department and community and well-versed with SPD’s extensive policies and initiatives. He is prepared to step in as chief immediately and move the organization forward, strengthen trust between law enforcement and neighborhoods and lead SPD into a new technological realm with body worn cameras.

“Having spent most of his life in Sarasota and being a city resident, he is fully committed and dedicated to our community,” Brown pointed out of Rieser. “Being the chief is a significant responsibility, and Jim Rieser will serve our community and the men and women of SPD well.”

A city news release notes that Rieser joined the department in April 1992.

“I’ve worked alongside the men and women of the Sarasota Police Department since 1992 when I became a patrol officer to serve this amazing community,” Rieser said. “I’m honored and humbled to have the privilege to be able to lead this agency moving forward. I am looking forward to continuing to partner with our community and working with our agency to keep the City of Sarasota a safe place to live, work, and play.”

“Rieser has an extensive background in law enforcement and public safety,” the city news release points out. He attended the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) Senior Management Institute for Police, and the Southern Police Institute (SPI) in Kentucky, and he took line supervisor and middle management law enforcement classes at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the release continues.

“With Jim Rieser’s appointment today this community can rest assured that public safety and police services will not skip a beat, and we are fortunate to have someone with his experience, character and integrity ready and willing to step up and serve in this new role as our next police chief,” said Mayor Hagen Brody.

New Chief James Rieser addresses city leaders and members of the public during a Jan. 29 event at the Police Department headquarters. Image from a City of Sarasota video via Facebook

Since joining the ranks of the department, Rieser has served in the Patrol Division, Professional Standards Division, and the Narcotics and Criminal Investigations Division, the release says. Most recently, he was the commander of the Support Services Division, the release notes. “During his service, he’s been awarded a Life-Saving Medal, Distinguished Service Medal and Meritorious Service Medal, as well as several commendations,” it adds.

“Born in Oyster Bay, N.Y., Rieser has called Sarasota home since he was a young boy,” the release continues. He attended Wilkinson Elementary School, Brookside Middle School, Riverview High School and Manatee Community College, and he holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Saint Leo University, the release notes.

Rieser and his wife live in Sarasota and are the parents of two children. In his free time, Rieser says he enjoys spending time with his family and playing tennis, the release adds.