Police panel to question focus groups


Police panel to question focus groups


Date: March 9, 2010
by: Robin Roy | City Editor


In its preparation to meet with two minority focus groups, the Police Advisory Panel has agreed on several questions to ask the members of those groups.

The panel, formed to examine the policies and procedures of the Sarasota Police Department, plans to meet with a group of Newtown residents and with a group of Hispanic residents to get their thoughts on how the police department is run.

The goal of the panel is to see if they can determine if officers treat minorities differently.

The four initial questions that will be asked of the focus group members are:

What is it you want from the police?

What is a good cop?

What is a bad cop?

What is respect to you?

Panel members also decided that they want to hear from a homeless focus group to see if they also receive different treatment than the majority of Sarasotans.

In other Police Advisory Panel action, Chief Peter Abbott again came under heavy fire from two of the panelists, during a discussion about low morale in the police department.

“I don’t know that the chief can be repaired,” said Wayne Genthner. “It’s a bit harsh, but that’s how I see it. This is truly a dysfunctional police department.”

Said Barbara Langston: “The problem is that our chief is not leading the department.”

Fellow panel member Dan Bailey came to Abbott’s defense.

“I’m not qualified to recommend to the city manager about possible deficiencies of the chief,” he said. “That’s not our job.”

For more on the Police Advisory Panel, read the March 11 issue of The Sarasota Observer.

Contact Robin Roy at rroy@yourobserver.com.

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