- October 31, 2013
City commissioners met with interim police chief Rex Troche during April 4’s regular commission meeting, where public safety statistics and a plan to find a permanent chief were discussed. A decision on hiring from within or externally will be made by the end of April.
In most categories, violent crimes occurred at a 23.5% lower rate since the first of 2022, compared to the same time frame last year. Property crimes occurred at nearly the same rate as they did in last year’s statistics.
“Public safety is obviously important for our community. I hear about traffic, loitering and violent crime the most, and that seems to be the focus we're taking with the department,” said Commissioner Hagen Brody. “I greatly appreciate that, and I know our community does too.”
According to the Uniform Crime Reporting statistics presented in the meeting, sex crimes decreased by 41% during the studied time frame this year, while aggravated assault went down by 24.7%. Homicide was up 400%, owing to one reported in the time period in 2021 and four in 2022.
Burglary and larceny incidents both decreased this year, but a 10% increase in motor vehicle theft kept property crimes static, compared to last year’s data. While crime generally decreased, Commission Kyle Battie had a new concern regarding the new Veo scooter program.
“Now that we have these scooters riding down the road, they’re coming down the wrong side of the street,” Battie said. “That’s going to be an issue, and it annoys me to no end, even when bike-riders are going towards traffic as opposed to against it.”
Sarasota recently introduced electric scooters and bikes through a partnership with mobility company Veo. Commissioners agreed that a discussion on policy regarding the new scooters would occur at a later date.
City Manager Marlon Brown also discussed the process of hiring a permanent police chief; Troche has served on an interim basis since August. But before his presentation, Mayor Erik Arroyo commended Troche for his work in two recent homicides in Sarasota, as well as his efforts in general.
“I’ve been extremely impressed of his (Troche's) presence in the community, which I have not seen in a while. The morale at the police department has been just amazing,” Arroyo said. “I commend him for the great job with the two murders we had and how he worked together with other departments.”
Brown, Arroyo and several commissioners voiced their support of hiring a permanent police chief from within the department. Brown said analysis of who citizens and police union members would like to see as chief have already occurred. If Brown decides to hire a police chief from within at the end of the month, it is presumed Troche would take on the position permanently.