Special Operations


Much of Sarasota County is still rural. The deputies assigned to the Agricultural Unit respond to agricultural crimes and work closely with property owners to ensure that their lands remain safe. The Unit also works closely with the Southwest Florida Agricultural Task Force, which serves twelve counties, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.



The Aviation Unit utilizes a 2005 Bell 407 single engine helicopter with the call sign “Air-1.” This aircraft and the three pilots that fly it provide the Sheriff’s Office and all other city and county agencies with assistance in a variety of missions. These might include missing person searches and surveillance patrol. Thanks to a partnership with the Sarasota County Fire Department, an aircraft was acquired that can also assist in firefighting. In addition to the pilots, the unit is comprised of five part-time observers who are integral to the operation, manning the Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) extended range camera in both day and night environments.


The Sheriff’s Office is responsible for serving all criminal, misdemeanor, traffic and juvenile warrants in Sarasota County. The Sheriff’s Office receives more than 10,000 arrest warrants from the Clerk of Court’s Office each year. The Fugitive Apprehension Unit searches for wanted subjects, placing a priority on individuals who have warrants for violent felony offenses. They also assist the FDLE, FBI, U.S. Marshal’s Office and the Florida Department of Corrections.



The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit is comprised of six teams. Five of the K9 teams are dual purpose dogs that perform narcotics searches and man work, and one is dual purpose performing explosive detection and man work. These teams augment the Patrol Bureau's activities by responding to incidents requiring the unique abilities of the K-9 partnership. These might include missing person searches, apprehending fleeing criminals, high-risk vehicle stops, article searches, drug odor detection, and explosive detection. Each team receives nearly 500 hours of training prior to going into service and is certified annually by both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the National Police Canine Association.


The Marine Unit’s two full-time deputies are supplemented by 6 deputies who provide assistance on a part-time basis when required. The Marine Unit functions primarily to ensure the safety of the county’s many waterways. Marine Patrol deputies enforce boating laws and conduct routine boat safety inspections. They respond to all emergency calls for service on the water, including vessel and aircraft crashes, reports of missing boaters and divers and sick or injured subjects. The Unit also works in partnership with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to keep local waterways safe.


The Traffic Unit is responsible for enforcing all state and local traffic laws. It is comprised of 14 specially trained deputies, six of whom dedicate their efforts to DUI enforcement. The Unit uses a variety of radar and laser speed monitoring devices together with portable breath test instrumentation, and conducts periodic saturation patrols throughout the county to remove dangerous, uninsured or impaired drivers. The seven Harley-Davidson motorcycles that are available to the Traffic Unit are invaluable when called upon to provide dignitary escorts and in parades.