Prestigious award recognizes multiple facets of Hoffman’s career
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) presented the J. Stannard Baker Lifetime Achievement in Highway Safety Award to Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman during a ceremony at the organization’s annual conference in San Diego in October, the Sheriff’s Office has announced.
“Hoffman has a long and distinguished career in law enforcement and service to the residents of Florida, starting in 1989 with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO),” a news release points out. “He spent several years working in patrol and marine operations, as well as interstate drug interdiction,” it continues. “However, his most significant accomplishments at CCSO were during his assignment to the traffic unit, where he served as the first full-time DUI enforcement deputy,” the release points out. In 1993, he became the sole member recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the release adds, and he was selected by the CCSO as Deputy of the Year.
Hoffman also received certification in handling traffic homicides, the release notes, and he served as a field training officer, instructing personnel in DUI field sobriety testing, RADAR, traffic crash investigations, and drug interdiction.
“Impelled to make a difference after seeing the criminal justice system fail victims of drunk drivers,” the release continues, Hoffman pursued a law degree at Nova Southeastern University and, upon graduation, began his career at the 12th Judicial Circuit’s State Attorney’s Office in Sarasota.
“During his time as a prosecutor, he handled countless DUI cases and challenges throughout the circuit,” the release points out. He became the first prosecutor in the 12th Circuit “to get the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) admitted into evidence without the necessity of an expert witness. This policy change was considered a significant milestone for the local criminal justice system in the early 2000s,” the release notes.
In 2005, he began his career with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), serving as the agency’s general counsel, the release adds. He was promoted through the ranks as captain, major and colonel before being elected as sheriff in 2020, the release continues.
“Since taking office, the sheriff has overseen several initiatives designed to reduce crashes, increase education, and mitigate traffic issues through high-visibility enforcement. In the past three years alone,” the release says, “SCSO deputies spent 1,581.5 hours dedicated to these programs — educating 2,512 motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Under the sheriff’s direction, deputies continue to prioritize traffic safety within the community and proactively work to mitigate residents’ concerns.”
The release also explains, “The prestigious IACP J. Stannard Baker Lifetime Achievement in Highway Safety Award is awarded annually to an individual nominated by a law enforcement agency or other traffic safety group” who has made a significant lifetime contribution to highway safety.