Meet The Police Chief Semifinalists

Community open house with the five Sarasota police chief candidates set for Friday at the Van Wezel.

Get to know the five Sarasota police chief candidates at a reception Friday.

But before you do, here's a snapshot of the backgrounds of each candidate below.

The reception is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall's Grand Foyer. The public can mingle and talk with the candidates in an informal setting. 

The candidates are:


  • Gregory J. Anderson:  Chief of Police, Oak Forest (Ill.) Police Department

Anderson has applied for other positions outside of Oak Forest and was passed over, Oak Forest Patch reported. He applied for a chief position in Champaign, Ill., but didn't get the job after becoming one of four finalists,  Oak Forest Patch reported. 

, in 2011, but was eliminated in the final round. 

Anderson has been on the job in Oak Forest for about three years after leaving Campton Hills, Illinois, where he spent two years starting the town's first-ever police department, according to The Beacon News

In his 2011 cover letter to the City of Champaign, Anderson touted his experience in Campton HIlls, Aurora and Oak Forest:

"I have dealt successfully with various concerns from diverse communities including those arising from cultural and racial issues. In Aurora, I was tasked with and established the Police Advisory Council comprised of community leaders from various civil rights and civic organizations as well as neighborhood groups to be a liaison within the community. "

The town isn't to be confused with another Chicago suburb, Oak Park, where Barwin previously worked.


  • Bernadette A. DiPino:  Chief of Police, Ocean City (Md.) Police Department

DiPino applied after opting to retire from the Ocean City Police Department through the department's Deferred Retirement Option. 

Here's her career in a snapshot from OceanCityToday.com

A fourth-generation law enforcement officer, DiPino began her career with the Baltimore County Police Department in 1985. She moved to the OCPD in 1988, and advanced through the ranks to private first class in 1993, sergeant in 1995, lieutenant in 1998, and then to major and shortly thereafter chief of police in 2003.

Ocean City is Maryland's second largest city during the summer due to the influx of visitors for its beach, boardwalk, fishing and crabbing as well as its humming nightlife scene. The average summer population swells to more than 260,000, and can easily reach 350,000 on the weekends.

During DiPino's tenure, she had to deal with investigating rowdy, overcrowded party buses during senior week, reports OceanCityToday.com, a week known for its high amount of underage drinking each year and banning Salvia and synthetic drug sales, crackdown on those scoot coupes that are popular here on Siesta Key, and cracking down on open containers.

The department was recognized for its traffic safety this year and has investigated more than 500 crashes and about 400 DUI/DWI arrests, reports TV station WMDT. 

  • Salvatore Ruggiero: Retired Major/Division Commander, Tampa Police Department

Ruggiero spent most of 27 years with the Tampa Police Department in South and West Tampa before becoming major in 2009, according to the City of Tampa's website. His work included 15 years on patrol, and at various times supervised or served in a drug task force, plain-clothes unit, firehouse unit, auto thieves task force and more.

Ruggiero is a native of East Providence, Rhode Island has has a Administration of Justice degree from Roger Williams College and a Master of Arts Degree in organization management from University of Phoenix.

He retired in September 2011. Ruggiero had also applied to be the Venice Police Chief in 2011.  

  • Mark A. Teunis: Major/Division Commander; Clearwater Police Department

Teunis has spent 30 years with the Clearwater Police Department and was promoted to captain in 2007 before his promotion to major.  

He's has a breadth of experience, the Clearwater Gazette reported in 2007:

Before his promotion, he served as a Lieutenant in the Criminal Investigations Division, overseeing Robbery/Homicide and Crimes Against Children and Families, as well as a Lieutenant in Patrol. Captain M. Teunis served on the Special Weapons & Tactics Team (SWAT), the Special Enforcement Unit (SEU), and has received several awards and commendations throughout his career.

As Major of the Services Bureau, Teunis prepares the department's payroll, purchasing, grant applications and helps with budget preparation. He also is in charge of the Records Section and the department's Information Technology. 

Teunis also applied to be the Venice Police Chief in 2011.


  • Tonya D. Vincent:  Deputy Chief of Police; Richmond (Va.) Police Department 

Vincent spent about a year with the Richmond Police Department as deputy chief of administration after working as a captain in the Arlington County (Va.) Police Department.

In Arlington County, a bustling, high-tech, high-income suburb of Washington, Vincent was in charge of outlining the department's long-term vision for Information Technology through upgrades, enhancing paperless formats of documents, upgrade wireless technology and interoperability with police departments in Virginia, Maryland and Washington.

After on-site interviews with each of the candidates, Barwin will then announce his selection, according to the city. 

Current Police Chief Mikel Hollaway is set to retire following the hiring of a new chief.

Ruth Ensing October 03, 2012 at 07:02 PM
What the heck is wrong with Oak Forest for keeping this guy here? He hasn't done anything for us except put us in the news during his job hunt. Anderson obviously does not want to work for the City of Oak Forest so why don't we give him what he wants? That's what we get for hiring outside the department. Didn't give our own guys a chance to work up to the chief's position.


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