NEWS RELEASE 21-029 - APRIL 26, 2021
Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman announced Monday the expansion of the agency’s How We Serve campaign to highlight how deputies are serving those experiencing mental illness.
How We Serve: Defining the Culture of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office was released June 16, 2020, just more than two weeks after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The document was created in response to the national conversation about police use of force and demand from many advocacy groups to reform law enforcement policies. The document was shared with the public through the agency’s social media accounts and garnered significant media coverage.
To continue the conversation about law enforcement best practices and how the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office serves its community, the How We Serve campaign has expanded to incorporate the unique ways the agency is treating vulnerable populations. In How We Serve: Our Approach to Mental Illness, the sheriff’s office shares information about crucial mental health training that sworn law enforcement and corrections deputies, 911 operators, and members of the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) receive. The campaign also highlights the agency’s partnerships with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Community Assisted & Supported Living, Inc. (CASL), and First Step of Sarasota.
Correctional programs including a 12-week mental health curriculum and the agency’s Collaborative Approach to Reintegration through Education (C.A.R.E.) Pod are featured on the second page of the document. The document also includes the integration of Mental Health First Aid training into the requirements for all sworn and civilian sheriff’s office members.
“It is no secret that the law enforcement profession has evolved ten-fold in just the last decade,” commented Sheriff Hoffman. “Unfortunately, it is a tough field to be in, but we believe to best prepare our deputies for tough encounters, we must train them for any situation they may face. The purpose of this campaign is to highlight the importance of training, community partnerships, and resources. As law enforcement officers, we must modernize our approach and training to address the issues of mental illness so we can better assist citizens who are experiencing a crisis.”
To learn more about the How We Serve campaign, visit SarasotaSheriff.org or visit the agency’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube using the hashtag #SCSOHowWeServe. In coming days, citizens will also be able to visit the agency’s Sarasota headquarters located at 6010 Cattleridge Blvd., to pick up a printed copy of the campaign infographic.