+ Police bashing needs to be put to rest
As a 29-year officer at the Sarasota Police Department and currently a patrol sergeant, I can assure you there has been no organized or suggested attempt by the police union or anyone else to cut back on productivity at the police department.
These are difficult times at the Sarasota Police Department, and if officers are not appearing to be as enthusiastic as in past years, it goes right in line with the attitudes and treatment of the department by the city manager, City Commission and certain members of the police advisory board.
Our manpower has been cut; salaries, benefits and pensions are in jeopardy or being reduced; and criticisms and false accusations are made every week by persons who have been given a soapbox from which to express their dislikes and prejudices.
The officers on the street know they have no support from management and that each complaint against an officer, no matter how trivial or in most cases no matter how fictitious, will be addressed with the assumption that the officer is guilty.
Commissioner Fredd Atkins recently made a comment in response to the police board’s number that only 2% to 3% of officers are responsible for most of the complaints, that if that’s the case, then 60% to 70% of the officers are covering it up. He went on to say that the police department has been getting away with everything but murder for years.
This comment is not substantiated with any facts or even actual cases to lend one ounce of support, but Atkins again goes unchallenged with his hatred of the police.
The police advisory board has demonstrated that in its short existence it will not stop until it gets its pound of police flesh. Members Susan Chapman and Barbara Langston have personal agendas, made obvious by their constant attacks against Police Chief Peter Abbott and the entire workforce.
Now Langston, in light of these recent facts of a decline in productivity, wants us to ignore her criticisms and go on with the job we took a pledge to perform, knowing full well that she and her anti-law enforcement cronies will be there to undermine, critique and condemn everything we do to accomplish making Sarasota a safe place to live.
If the citizens of Sarasota want a police department that has shown in the past to be the most professional, hard-working, highly-trained and motivated force in the state, then they need to speak up and put the witch hunt to rest and restore the confidence and praise it once had for the men and women at the Sarasota Police Department who have made it possible to enjoy the quality of life we’ve all grown to appreciate.
Thank you for your support.
Sarasota Police Department
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