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Knight announces final term as Sarasota sheriff

First elected in 2008, county's 10th chief law-enforcement officer's term expires in January 2021.

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  • | 8:57 a.m. June 6, 2019
Sheriff Tom Knight was first elected in 2008. Photo Courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Tom Knight was first elected in 2008. Photo Courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff's Office
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Sheriff Tom Knight, the 10th Sheriff of Sarasota County, announced he will not be seeking election to another term in office Thursday.

Knight, who was first elected in 2008, grew up in Venice and began his career in law enforcement with the Sarasota Police Department in 1987. Two years later he joined the Florida Highway Patrol, where he worked for 20 years.

After winning a contentious primary election and general election in 2008, Knight was sworn in as sheriff. He was elected to two more terms with no opposition.

After being sworn in, Knight created a strategic plan that included a community-based policing model as well as intelligence-led policing, which focuses on frequent offenders, according to a release. Those efforts led to a nearly 52% crime rate reduction in Part 1 offenses throughout Sarasota County.

After working with the local faith community and Salvation Army, Knight also instituted the first jail-based addiction recovery pods in the southeast United States, which led to the development of specialty pods for inmate veterans and those suffering from mental illness.  

Additionally, Knight collaborated with county commissioners to pass ordinances that helped end local opioid "pill mills." 

In an effort to be more transparent with the community, Knight launched citizen advisory boards in north and south Sarasota County,  and the agency's "Rightful Policing Strategy," which has a goal of building trust among law enforcement and county teenagers.

His current term ends January 2021. 


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