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DiPino resigns as Sarasota police chief

Bernadette DiPino will depart her position at the end of the week, and city administration has begun the process of selecting an interim chief.

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  • | 9:00 a.m. January 28, 2021
Bernadette DiPino joined the Sarasota Police Department as chief of police in December 2012. File photo.
Bernadette DiPino joined the Sarasota Police Department as chief of police in December 2012. File photo.
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Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino has submitted her resignation to the city and will depart her post at 5 p.m. Friday, the city announced Wednesday.

DiPino’s resignation came after the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported earlier this month about a November incident in which the chief of police joked about using a stun gun on an individual who was homeless. In the wake of the report, both city administration and a police union leader criticized DiPino’s conduct.

The city’s announcement did not detail a reason for DiPino’s resignation, stating only that City Manager Marlon Brown executed a separation agreement with the chief on behalf of the city. The agreement waives a clause in DiPino’s contract requiring notice 30 days ahead of a voluntary resignation. The agreement entitles DiPino to a lump sum of five months’ pay as well as 982.5 hours of pay for accrued time off.

“This agreement is not, and shall not be interpreted or construed as, an admission or indication that [the] city or DiPino has engaged in any wrongful or unlawful conduct of any kind,” the agreement states.

In the release, city leaders offered kind remarks for DiPino’s work as chief, a position she’s held since December 2012.

“Through her leadership and dedicated efforts with community policing, she helped reduce crime by nearly 40% and strengthened trust between residents and officers through extensive community outreach initiatives from the Citizens Police Academy to Coffee with a Cop and family movie nights on the SPD lawn,” Brown said in the release.

DiPino said she was proud of the work she’s done as chief and would pursue another position in law enforcement.

“I believe I am leaving the Sarasota Police Department in good standing for the next chief,” DiPino said in the release. “This has been a bittersweet decision, but I know the men and women of the Sarasota Police Department will continue to keep the city of Sarasota a safe place to live, work and play.”

Brown said the process of appointing an interim police chief will begin immediately.


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