OCEAN CITY — The resort’s police chief was named today one of the five finalists for the top cop job in Sarasota, Fla.< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office">
On the short list, released today by Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin, were Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino, Oak Forest, Ill. Chief Gregory J. Anderson, former Tampa, Fla. Major/Division Commander Salvatore Ruggiero and Richmond, Va. Deputy Chief of Police Tonya D. Vincent.
DiPino, who has been chief since 2003, said this afternoon she alerted the Mayor and Council and her command staff as soon as she was named a finalist for the post.
“I wanted to make them aware of it as soon as I could,” she said. “I am excited for the opportunity.”
By virtue of being enrolled in the Defined Retirement Option Program (DROP), DiPino was set to retire in October of 2013 and has been mulling her next chapter of professional life. DiPino has been with the Ocean City Police Department since 1988, rising through the ranks from Pfc. in 1993 to sergeant in 1995 to lieutenant in 1998 to major in 2003 and then chief later in 2003. She began her law enforcement career in 1985 with Baltimore County.
“As I started looking around for my next career, I saw this position open and I applied for the position. I have gone through a couple steps and I was excited to be named one of the five finalists,” she said. “The Sarasota police chief job is a great opportunity, and I am excited and honored to be one of the five finalists for the position.”
DiPino will be heading to Florida in early October for further interviews with city officials and for a community meet-and-greet on Oct. 5.
In a news release this morning, Barwin said the five finalists are an extraordinary group.
“These are impressive candidates,” Barwin said. “Each one has the critical skill sets required to strengthen and improve trust between the community and our police department. Now we need to spend some time with each candidate and determine the best fit for the challenges and opportunities ahead. I’m looking forward to selecting someone with strong professional principles who embraces community policing and has a clear vision to uplift and lead our 175 sworn officers at a time when resources are a challenge."
The new chief will replace Mikel Halloway, who is retiring at the end of October after 30 years of service with the Sarasota Police Department.