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North Sarasota Crackdown Leads to 181 Arrests

Sarasota Police Department and Sarasota County Sheriff's Office announced in a joint press conference Friday morning the results of a crackdown of crime in North Sarasota.

Work by the and is not done after a joint North Sarasota crackdown led to 181 arrests and 249 charges.

"The bad guys haven't seen the last of us," Sarasota Police Chief Mikel Hollaway said.

The two agencies announced those figures and released 46 pages' worth of arrests during the past month made by the agencies through the sheriff's office intelligenece-led policing model, where the two shared information and focused on known offenders.

The arrests ranged from curfew violations to serious offenses like eluding the police, drug possession, larceny, weapons possession and more.

The agencies highlighted four "prolific offendors:"

• David Baker: 36 felony arrests, 8 felony convictions

Latest Charges: Fleeing to elude police; resisting arrest and battery on law enforcement officer by sheriff's office

• Derrick Brown: 33 felony arrests, 6 felony convictions, 1 state prison incarceration

Latest Charges: possession of marijuana with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of a synthetic narcotic with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school by police department

• James Richardson: 20 felony arrests, 8 felony convictions, 2 state prison incarcerations

Latest Charges: felony count of habitual traffic violator by sherif's office

• Stanley Jones: 42 felony arrests, 30 felony convictions, 1 state prison incarceration

Latest Charges: possession of cocaine, possession of paraphernalia; driving on a suspended license by sheriff's office

Agencies have received pressure from the community and public officials to focus on battling crime in North Sarasota and Newtown after the majority of Sarasota's shootings and homicides ocurred there in 2011.

The two agencies also highlighted the three concealed weapons arrests to reduce gun violence in North Sarasota:

• Trae Ward: 7 felony arrests, 1 felony conviction

• Terhon Wright: 39 felony arrests, 11 felony convictions, 1 state prison incarceration

Latest charges: possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; carrying a concelead firearm, carrying a firearm in force of a final domestic violence injunction; resisting an officer without violence, on Jan. 7 by sheriff's office and again on Jan. 19 for posession of cocaine and possession of marijuana less than 20 grams.

• James Ball: 17 felony arrests, 3 felony convictions

Latest charges: carrying a concealed weapon; felon in possession of a firearm by sheriff's office.

Of the 181 people arrested, they shared a combined 1,509 prior felony arrests and 1,932 prior misdemeanor arrests. Only a fraction of those cases resulted in convictions, and while many of these subjects served jail time few have spent time in prison for their crimes.

“Under the current dynamics of the system it is clear that we cannot arrest our way out of this issue,” Sheriff Tom Knight said. “That said, we will continue to perform our law enforcement function and arrest those who choose to break the law.”

Hollaway agreed that the overall justice and prosecution system needs to be looked at.

"At some point and time, we have to take a look at that system and do a better job," Hollaway told Patch. "Law enforcement is held accountable for what we do, but the entire system needs to be held accountable."

Hollaway added, “Law enforcement is only part of the solution. To truly make a difference in North Sarasota it will take a strong commitment from everyone to enhance the quality of life we expect. It is necessary to hold each other accountable for what we must achieve. Failure is not an option.”

To do so, the city is preparing a budget to to study the David Kennedy approach to community policing and reducing the homicide rate.

Hollaway said he's not as interested in what Kennedy did compared to the community there in North Carolina.

"I want to go sit and talk to grandmother, I want to sit and talk to momma, and I want to talk to the guys who've turned their lives around because I wanna know why," he said. "If it's worked there as they've said it has, then we're going to make it work here."

The Rev. Kelvin Lumpkin of  is part of the local ministerial alliance of Newtown and is organizing efforts and volunteers to help the neighborhood's turnaround.

His approach is that of using mentoring and educating.

He said that some of the offendors could come from broken homes where their father isn't around and they need guidance to put them on the right track, and he hopes that the community can reach those kids before they turn to crime.

"I believe if a lot of them would have had a father figure around constantly, we wouldn't see as much violent crime," he said

By The Numbers

• 181 total arrests

• 294 charges

• 149 felonies

• 145 misdemeanors

• 12 weapons seized

• 1,509 prior felony arrests

• 475 prior felony convictions

• 1,932 prior misdemeanor arrests

• 621 prior misdemeanor arrests

Lora February 04, 2012 at 12:12 PM
I have never understood how people with over 30 felony arrests, FELONY arrests, are not incarcerated? Do we need a law stating 10 felony arrests designate you as a Career Felon, with a minimum 20-year sentence? Even that probably wouldn't be enough, since few serve a full sentence ...
Joe Mo February 04, 2012 at 03:50 PM
ending the drug war would clean up much of the crime in this area -- there would be no financial incentive to sell drugs on street corners.
Mark February 04, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Unfortunately, many of these losers have numerous felony "arrests" and not "CONVICTIONS". Looks like much more work needs to be done to make the charges stick and to convince a jury that the person is guilty. THEN we need judges that are not bleeding heart Liberals who pass out "slap-on-the-wrist" sentences that just place the criminals right back among us law-abiding citizens to once more steal from, rob, rape, and murder us! Lucky me, I have jury duty next week. Maybe I can do my part to ensure justice is served. (Take that how you wish)
Eric Wind February 04, 2012 at 09:26 PM
It is clear that everyone who posted here does not have a clue on how the justice system system works in Florida. We have a very tough system, the judges are not bleeding hearts, We have 107,000 people in prison as I write. And who knows how many on probation. Everyone actually in the system gets convicted over 98% of the time. I do not believe any of the cases listed. The police are only trying to prove that business is good and they need to expand yet again or justify the bigger buget. For example Derrick Brown: 33 felony arrests, 6 felony convictions, after only 3 felony convictions he would have got at least 15 years. And every proceductor I know would have tried to give it to him. Get your facts together and try not to believe everything the police tell you. They want to protect their jobs like everyone else.
The Patriot March 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Eric, I couldn,t have written it better my self, maybe when their property taxes hit a thousand dollars a month for every 200k in value, these people will see the real motive of the police agencies. In Palm Beach County one half of the county budget is portioned to the Palm Beach County Sherrif's Dept. High property taxes = Low property values.

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