The sheriff’s office drug laboratory performs testing on the drugs seized during arrests made by all law enforcement agencies in Sarasota County. Quantitative and qualitative testing is done using state-of-the-art analysis equipment. The laboratory’s equipment was originally funded through a grant from the Selby Foundation.
CRIME SCENE UNIT
The Crime Scene Unit is a vital link between detectives and crimes committed within Sarasota County. The unit utilizes the latest in available crime scene technology and is highly trained in documenting and collecting items of evidentiary value. Once collected, items are processed in the forensics laboratory and turned over to the property office where they are stored pending criminal proceedings. The photo lab processes and prints all crime scene photographs that are subsequently used in investigations and courtroom proceedings.
The agency's Tactical Unit functions as part of patrol and is tasked with the identification, disruption and displacement of prolific offenders throughout the county. The Unit works closely with the Special Investigations and Criminal Investigations Sections, the Intelligence Unit, Fugitive Apprehension Unit and other local, state and federal agencies. The Tactical Unit also augments patrol by focusing on especially problematic areas, conducting surveillance and apprehending offenders where necessary to reduce the incidence of crime.
The AFIS Unit processes all fingerprint evidence, which is stored in the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and evaluated by latent print experts.
INTELLIGENCE AND HOMELAND DEFENSE
The Intelligence and Homeland Defense Unit functions to collect, store, assess, and disseminate criminal intelligence information using established criteria that provides for the legitimate needs of law enforcement. The unit gathers intelligence for the purpose of identifying criminal patterns or trend development, identification of suspects and criminal enterprises, and to identify law enforcement safety issues. The unit also works closely with the Joint Terrorism Task Force and manages Crime Stoppers.
Crime analysis is a pivotal part of the Investigations Bureau. Crime Analysts are tasked with the development of crime trends in the community and utilize various technical resources to accomplish this goal.
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS SECTION
The Criminal Investigations Section is tasked with investigating crimes against persons and property throughout the county. These crimes include burglaries of homes, businesses and vehicles, robberies, grand thefts, aggravated assaults, battery, sex crimes, fraud and homicide. Detectives are assigned cases on a daily basis and investigate them to conclusion. Cases are closed in several ways; with an arrest, the filing of a Probable Cause Affidavit, a Waiver of Prosecution, or by deactivating the case. Sometimes detectives find that a crime did not actually occur. These cases are reclassified as unfounded or civil in nature.
SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS SECTION
The Narcotics Unit is responsible for disrupting the manufacture, transportation, sale, and use of illicit drugs within Sarasota County. The Narcotics Unit enforcement efforts also focus on street-level enforcement strategies to effect a reduction in Part I crimes, thereby resolving community problems and improving the overall quality of life of residents. The Narcotics Unit collaborates with the U.S. Postal Service, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT
The Special Victims Unit is a component of the Investigations Bureau. This unit is tasked with follow-up investigations of crimes against children, child death or injury cases, and crimes against the elderly such as abuse and/or exploitation. The unit works closely with Florida Department of Children and Families Child Protection Investigators and Adult Protection Investigators. Detectives within the unit attend frequent training dealing with child interviews, family dependency issues, and neglect or fraud relating to the elderly.
VICTIM ASSISTANCE UNIT
The Victim Assistance Unit helps victims to understand their rights and assists with obtaining restitution and compensation. Victim Advocates also counsel crime victims and their families, provide referrals to social agencies, assist crime victims through the difficult court process, and help promptly return property used as evidence. The unit gives special attention to child victims, the elderly, victims of sexual assault, victims of domestic violence, and victims with disabilities. Crime scene response is also provided in certain cases. Learn more here.