Community Affairs Office & News Media

The Community Affairs Office strives to be responsive and professional in its activities. We act in full compliance with the Florida Public Records Law and in the best interests of the agency, the news media, and the people of Sarasota County. Routine media inquiries and records requests are handled as expeditiously as possible during normal business hours.

This office handles all media inquiries, issues news releases, responds to public records by members of the media, coordinates agency social media, special projects and other communications.

The Community Affairs Office includes Community Affairs Director Kaitlyn Perez, Media Relations Specialist Megan Krahe and Creative Communications Specialist Doug Johnson. The office is staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., in the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Headquarters located at 6010 Cattleridge Blvd. For general media inquiries, please contact the Community Affairs Office at 941.861.4005. To contact Community Affairs Director Kaitlyn Perez, email kaitlyn.perez@sarasotasheriff.org or call 941.861.4927. To contact Media Relations Specialist Megan Krahe, email megan.krahe@sarasotasheriff.org or call 941.861.4003. For afterhours breaking news onlyPerez can be reached at 941.504.1378.

AFTER HOURS POLICY
Written records, including arrest affidavits and offense reports, are not available after hours. Staff will not have information readily available regarding non-fatal vehicle crashes, routine arrests, crimes not resulting in death or critical injury, or the status of cases that are not considered breaking news. Flash Reports may be issued by the on-duty Watch Commander regarding certain incidents of interest to the public.

If you need verification of an incident after hours, call the Front Desk Deputy and ask for the Watch Commander. The phone number is 941.861.4260. Understand that if the Watch Commander is not available, the deputy will page them to call you. Should there be a high profile or large scale incident after hours, on holidays or weekends the media will be notified.

SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

Our social media accounts are not monitored in real time. To report a crime, speak with a deputy, or for any other issue that requires law enforcement assistance, please dial 911 or our non-emergency line at 941.316.1201.

Social media accounts of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office are limited public forums intended to provide the public with law enforcement- and public safety-related information. We welcome citizen interaction by way of posting relevant comments to our social media pages and ask that you exercise reasonableness, courtesy, and respect for others. 

We reserve the right to limit posts from members of the public to those that directly relate to our content and conform to our guidelines.  Comments must not contain any of the following:

  • Obscene, vulgar, sexually explicit, or otherwise offensive language/content, or links to such material.
  • Threats of any kind, particularly toward any other user or member of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Words advocating criminal acts or other illegal behavior.
  • Material that has the potential to compromise public safety or the safety of law enforcement personnel.
  • Remarks that disparage or discriminate against anyone based upon sex, race, gender identification, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, etc.
  • Remarks that may be considered libel, made toward any person or organization.
  • Anything not relevant to the subject matter of the post.
  • Information that is clearly inaccurate or purposefully designed to mislead others.
  • Campaigning of any type, political or otherwise.
  • Links to third-party sites or advertisements.
  • Any form of solicitation.

Comments that violate these guidelines may be removed by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office at its own discretion and without prior notice but will be retained for the applicable records retention period. The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office also reserves the right to block access to our social media pages to any user who consistently violates these guidelines, without warning or notice.   

Communication on this page is subject to Florida public records laws, and relevant records retention schedules apply. Comments made by users do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office or its members, should not be deemed as an endorsement by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office or its members, nor should they be considered accurate or verified. Comments posted on our social media pages are public and are available for viewing by the public. We urge you to protect your privacy and not to list any personal or sensitive information about yourself when commenting on a post. 

REQUESTS TO VIDEOTAPE FIRST APPEARANCE
Sarasota County’s first appearance generally takes place daily Monday – Friday at 1:00 p.m., and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays at 9:00 a.m. The first appearance courtroom is located within the Sarasota County Correctional Facility, a secured building located at 2020 Main Street in Sarasota.

Members of the media can record first appearance in a designated media room on the first floor of the facility. The room is equipped with a large flat screen television and multiple SDI outputs.

In order to attend and record first appearance, members of the media must notify court administration within reasonable time and with as much advanced notice as possible, prior to court proceedings. The contact for court administration is Public Information Officer Donna Rhodes. She can be reached by email at PIO@jud12.flcourts.org or by phone at 941.960.3432.

RULES FOR ATTENDING FIRST APPEARANCE

  1. Media must check in with the correctional facility's front desk upon arrival. They will be asked to provide photo identification at which time they will be directed to the media room.
  2. Due to the location of the media room which is within the public visitation area, media is asked to keep the door closed at all times during court proceedings and keep the television volume at a reasonable level.
  3. Media is asked to turn off the television upon departure and leave the room as they found it.
  4. No food or drink is allowed within the media room.
  5. Media should consider parking arrangements as downtown Sarasota requires paid parking.


INSTRUCTIONS FOR OPERATING FIRST APPEARANCE TELEVISION

To Turn Power On

  1. Access power button under TCL insignia.
  2. Push middle button to turn on.
  3. A highlighted box labeled HDMI1 will appear with the courtroom view contained inside.
  4. Push the middle button to select this box.
  5. The input screen will now appear.
  6. Use the right button to scroll down to HDMI1
  7. The courtroom view will appear automatically.


To Turn Power Off

  1. Push middle button under the TCL insignia which will prompt input screen.
  2. Use right button to scroll down to turn off TV.
  3. TV will countdown and turn off.


***For any and all technical issues with media room equipment, please contact Court Administration’s Technology Services at 941.861.7860.***