Sarasota Police Department closes Front Desk and Records Division access to protect the public from spread of COVID-19

Department also implementing Temporary Reporting Unit, primarily to handle calls about older cases in which no suspects were identified

The Sarasota Police Department is on Adams Lane in downtown Sarasota. File photo

Because of concerns about the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Sarasota Police Department Front Desk and Records Division access was closed on March 16 and will remain closed until further notice, the department has announced.

“This closure will not affect officers responding to calls,” a Sarasota Police Department (SPD) news release emphasizes.

“If you have an emergency, please call 911,” the release points out. “For non-emergency dispatch, you can call 941-316-1199. If you need to speak with the Sarasota Police Department Front Desk, please call 941-263-6025.”

Anyone with a request for public records may call 263-6045 or e-mail at SPDPublicRecords@sarasotaFL.gov, the release notes.

Additionally, on March 18, the department announced, “In an effort to assist with calls for service, best serve our community, and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Sarasota Police Department is implementing a temporary Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU).”

As of that date, that second news release said, the TRU would be operated daily by sworn law enforcement officers, from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

“You can expect to receive calls from TRU officers” for the following types of request for service, the release added:

• Non-endangered missing adults.
• Stolen tags that were reported in the past in cases that have no suspects.
• Suspicious incidents, persons or vehicles in past cases.
• Disputes/disturbances that occurred in the past and in which no suspects have been identified.
• Theft/larceny cases with no suspects.
• Assaults that occurred in the past with no suspects identified.
• Criminal mischief cases that occurred in the past in which no suspects have been identified.
• Lewd and lascivious acts that occurred in the past in which no suspects have been identified.
• Lost property.
• Suspicious or obscene phone calls with no suspects identified.
• Patrol requests.
• Threats or harassment with no suspects identified.
• Illegal dumping or burning that occurred in the past with no suspects identified.
• Fraud-related crimes.

“These changes are being made for the safety of our community and so first responders can stay healthy and able to respond when needed,” the release explains. The Sarasota Police Department appreciates the public’s “patience and understanding during this public health emergency,” the release adds.

“The men and women of the Sarasota Police Department will not stop serving our community during COVID-19,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino in the earlier release. “We’re still serving and protecting our community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week while making sure we’re taking all the necessary protocols and following the guidance of the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and Florida Department of Health.The safety and health of our community and the men and women of our agency is my number one concern,” added DiPino in the release.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to follow protocols put in place by the CDC. They may be viewed at www.cdc.gov.

Additionally, the Florida Department of Health has established a COVID-19 hotline: 1-866-779-6121, and questions can be emailed to COVID-19@flhealth.gov.

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