Sheriff Tom Knight just began his second term as Sheriff of Sarasota County. Upon first taking office in 2009, Sheriff Knight commenced a comprehensive Management Review that led to the reorganization of the agency in a way that streamlined operations and recognized real cost savings.  Sheriff Knight then led the development of a Strategic Plan for the first time in the agency’s 88-year history, to chart the agency’s priorities in a very public way.

Sheriff Knight has maintained an essentially flat budget for the fifth year in a row, and returned $4.1 million to Sarasota County over the past four years. The Sheriff has improved technology and equipment for the agency, using forfeiture funds and grants to procure advanced resources. Sheriff Knight took on the prescription drug problem and metal thefts with innovative solutions and spearheaded new county ordinances to safeguard residents and businesses from the related crimes. Now, he is implementing “Intelligence 2 Action,” a program based on the intelligence-led policing philosophy that uses better data to target the biggest problems affecting the community, the places crimes occur, and people committing those crimes. Crime dropped 16% last year in Sarasota County; 21% since Sheriff Knight took office.

Sheriff Knight has lived in Florida since 1973 when his family moved to Sarasota County from western Pennsylvania. He graduated from Venice High School in 1981, attended Manatee Junior College and later transferred to Florida State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology in 1986.  He received his Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of South Florida in 2012. Sheriff Knight and his wife Tracy have two daughters and currently reside in Nokomis. 

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