High Visibility Enforcement in the City of Sarasota to Improve Pedestrian & Bicycle Safety

SARASOTA, FL  – September 4, 2018   – 3 p.m.

The Sarasota Police Department has received a grant for a High Visibility Enforcement program for pedestrian and bicycle safety.  The City of Sarasota ranks in the top 25 counties in the state of Florida for traffic crashes resulting in serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists.

In an effort to protect the safety of the most vulnerable road users, the Sarasota Police Department will be conducting High Visibility Enforcement Details (HVE) from now until May 2019 throughout the City of Sarasota with focus on several key roadways including:

·         N. Tamiami Trail (SR 45) from Mound Street to University Parkway

·         Main Street from N. Tamiami Trail (SR 45) to N. Washington Blvd (SR 683)

·         Fruitville Road from N. Tamiami Trail (SR 45) to Beneva Road

·         N. Washington Blvd (SR 683) from Main Street to Myrtle Street

The roadways in the City of Sarasota that were chosen were selected based on crash data involving both pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles.  HVE details are funded through a contract with the University of North Florida, Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM) in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation’s focused initiative to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. 

The goal of this enforcement effort is to increase awareness of and compliance with traffic laws that protect the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.  Enforcement efforts will focus primarily on education to drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.  However, violations may result in warnings or citations depending on the circumstances.

“The safety of our community is our number one priority.  We want every driver, pedestrian and bicyclist to understand and know the rules of the road,” said Officer Jason Frank, Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit.  “Safety doesn’t happen by accident.”

All contacts with citizens will be documented and results will be sent to the Florida Department of Transportation for evaluation at the conclusion of the safety campaign.



Grandfather and Father Charged with Child Neglect

SARASOTA, FL  – August 23, 2018  – 12:30 p.m.

A grandfather and father have been arrested and each charged with two counts of Child Neglect following an incident in the 2100 block on Main Street in Sarasota.

Paul Houle, 51, and Paul Houle, III, 22, were inside a vehicle parked on the street in the 2100 block of Main Street.  Both individuals were passed out in the front seats and two children, ages 4 and 2, were in the back seat unresponsive.  A passerby noticed the situation and called 911.

When Sarasota Police Officers and Sarasota Fire Rescue responded, both men and both children were awoken and were removed from the vehicle, which had all four windows up, with no air conditioning running inside.  The vehicle was parked directly in the sun.  All four victims were visibly sweating and pale in color.  All four individuals were transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment.  According to witnesses on scene, they were inside the car for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.  The children are related to both men.

Both men were under the influence of alcohol at the time they were contacted by Officers.  They told Officers they did not know what was going on and that the children were left in their care.  Inside the vehicle Officers found two bottles of alcohol and an open beer.  51-year-old Houle was in possession of Dextroamphetamine, a schedule two controlled substance. 

Both men were arrested and transported to the Sarasota County Jail.  51-year-old Houle was charged with two charges of Child Neglect without Great Bodily Harm and Possession of a Controlled Substance.  22-year-old Houle was charged with two charges of Child Neglect without Great Bodily Harm.  Both children recovered and were taken into the care of the Department of Children and Families.


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Sexual Predator Notification for the City of Sarasota

SARASOTA, FL  – August 22, 2018   – 9:30 a.m.

The Sarasota Police Department is informing the public that Michael A. Arsenault, 56, has updated his address in the City of Sarasota.  Arsenault is a Sexual Predator and a transient listing his current address of Central Avenue and 10th Street, Sarasota. 

Arsenault was designated as a Sexual Predator in November 2000 in Sarasota.  His past charges includes sexual battery with a victim 12 or older.  Arsenault is a white male, 5’9” tall, 130 pounds, brown hair and blue eyes.

Photographs and additional information on sexual offenders and predators can be retrieved on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) website at https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/sops/home.jsf 

Residents can also sign up to receive notifications from FDLE of sex offender and predator registrations and address changes. The Sarasota Police Department distributes this information to area schools, state registered daycare centers and posts the information on all social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the Sarasota Police Department website, www.sarasotapd.org


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Sarasota man arrested for Trafficking in Amphetamine (bath salts)

SARASOTA, FL  – August 21, 2018   – 8:30 a.m.

Michael Peterson, 38, has been arrested on an outstanding warrant in connection to a July 2018 case after lab results showed he was in possession of more than 40 grams of N-Ethlypentylone, also known as bath salts.

On July 17, 2018 at approximately 1:30 a.m., Sarasota Police Officers were on patrol in the area of 25th Street and Maple Avenue in the City of Sarasota.  Officers observed Peterson traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of Maple Avenue with no lights.  When Officers attempted to stop Peterson, he fled, throwing a backpack in was in possession of.

Officers caught Peterson a short time later and located his backpack.  While searching the backpack, Officers located a digital scale, U.S. currency and a mixture of methamphetamine and cocaine in five small plastic baggies with a total weight of 42.2 grams.  The substance tested positive for cocaine but was submitted to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Lab for testing.

On July 17, 2018, Peterson was charged with cocaine possession within 1000 feet of a church, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting a law enforcement officer without violence.  Peterson was taken to the Sarasota County Jail and later bonded out. 

On August 8, 2018, Officers received results from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Lab advising the methamphetamines testing positive for N-Ethlypentylone.  A warrant was issued for Peterson’s arrest.  Last Friday, August 17, 2018, Peterson was arrested for Trafficking Amphetamine or mixture and was taken to the Sarasota County Jail and later bonded out.


Michael Peterson, 38

Michael Peterson, 38

This Labor Day and Every Day: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Each year, Americans mark the end of summer with the Labor Day holiday weekend.  Sadly, the Labor Day holiday has also become one of the deadliest, with drunk drivers endangering themselves and others on their way home from holiday festivities.

The Sarasota Police Department is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to get drunk drivers off the roads and help save lives.  A high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from August 15 through September 3, 2018.  During this time, Sarasota Police officers will show zero tolerance for drunk driving.  Increased messages about the dangers of driving impaired, coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road, aim to drastically reduce drunk driving on our nation’s roadways.

A special Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Tweet from the Beat will be held on Friday, August 17, 2018 beginning at 9 p.m.  Followers will be able to ask questions and interact with Sarasota Police officers while they are on patrol.  To join in the virtual ride-along, Twitter users can follow the Twitter handle @SarasotaPD.

According to NHTSA, 10,497 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2016.  On average, 10,000 people were killed each year from 2012 to 2016—one person killed every 50 minutes in 2016.  This is why the Sarasota Police Department is working with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to Labor Day festivities, remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Drunk driving isn’t the only risk on the road: Drug-impaired driving is also an increasing problem on our nation’s roads.  If drivers are impaired by any substance—alcohol or drugs—they should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Driving while impaired is illegal, period.  The bottom line is this: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI. It’s that simple.

Over the 2016 Labor Day holiday period (6 p.m. September 2 – 5:59 a.m. September 6), there were 433 crash fatalities nationwide.  Of the fatal crashes, more than one-third (36%) involved drivers who were drunk (.08+ blood alcohol concentration [BAC]), and one-fourth (25%) involved drivers who were driving with a BAC almost twice the legal limit (.15+ BAC).  Age is a particularly risky factor: Among the drivers between the ages of 18 and 34 who were killed in crashes over the Labor Day holiday period in 2016, 47 percent of those fatalities involved drunk drivers with BACs of .08 or higher.

“We need our community to understand: It’s up to them to make the smart decision to drive sober—Labor Day, and every day,” said Traffic Unit Officer Tim Bales, Sarasota Police Department.  “Drunk driving is a huge problem in our country, and the numbers are rising, little by little.  This isn’t about a ticketing campaign.  This is about a campaign to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and it takes lives.  Help us put an end to this senseless behavior,” Officer Bales said.  “The trend for the Labor Day holiday is in a positive direction, but our goal is to have zero fatalities, always.”

The Sarasota Police Department and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely.  There are safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

·         It is never okay to drink and drive.  Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride sharing service to get home safely.

·         Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on Google Play for Android devices: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide&hl=en), and Apple’s iTunes Store for iOS devices: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8). SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.

·         If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911 or your local law enforcement agency immediately.

·         Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.


Four teenagers arrested and charged with robbery with a firearm

SARASOTA, FL  – August 9, 2018   – 10 a.m.

Four individuals (two adults and two juveniles) have been arrested and charged with robbery with a firearm following a call for service on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, just after midnight, Sarasota Police Officers were dispatched to the 400 block of East Cornelius Circle in reference to an alleged armed robbery.  The victim told Officers he was riding his bicycle home when a car pulled up beside him and a person got out wearing a black ski mask and gloves and pointed a gun at him.  Another individual was outside of the car while two other individuals were inside the car.  The victim told Officers when the suspects realized he had nothing of value, they got into the car and left.

When Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle in question, using overhead flashing lights, the vehicle accelerated and sped away at a high rate of speed.  Officers located the vehicle at the dead end of the 200 block of St. Lucie Avenue, Sarasota.  Three males and one female exited the vehicle and were placed under arrest.

While searching the vehicle, Officers located a Smith and Wesson replica BB pistol, a black winter hat with eye holes and mouth cut out, an air wedge and other various tools to open vehicle doors.  Officers also located various items that may have been stolen during vehicle burglaries near Cornelius Circle.  If you are a victim of a recently vehicle burglary in this neighborhood, you’re asked to contact Detective Megan Buck 941-954-7067.

The following suspects have been arrested and charged.  The juvenile names are being released since they have been charged with felonies however their booking phots were not available on the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office website.

·         Orlando Deulofeu, 18, of 2732 Nancy Street, Sarasota, charged with Robbery with a Firearm

·         Russell James, 18, of 1695 24th Street, Sarasota, charged with Robbery with a Firearm – Principal

·         Scott Lunt, 16, of 2027 Pompano Avenue, Sarasota, charged with Robbery with a Firearm – Principal

·         Iliana Barros, 14, of 2298 Seward Drive, Sarasota, charged with Robbery with a Firearm – Principal


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