Sheriff Tom Knight, the 10th Sheriff of Sarasota County, has served since January 6, 2009, following a 20 year career with the Florida Highway Patrol where he held the position of Troop Commander, managing a seven-county region with more than 300 employees, a central communications center and a $20 million budget.
Sheriff Knight, has stood atop the Sarasota legal landscape for more than a decade as the top cop, but that will come to an end next year after he announced he will not seek another term in office.
Knight, 56, has been omnipresent at local events since 2008, and his departure marks a big shift in a community where he worked tirelessly to control the opioid crisis, reduce the jail population and modernize his department.
(You may have heard your children talking about Snapchat, Kik, Whisper, or even an app called Calculator%. But Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight says you should be keeping a close eye on them. They might be hiding a secret online world of abuse, nudity, or worse. Sheriff Knight his agency arrested 21 men who thought they were chatting online in 2018, through one of these apps, with a young boy or girl. Courtesy of FOX 13 News – Tampa Bay and YouTube. Posted on May 30, 2018.)In November, during a media meet-and-greet at the sheriff’s headquarters, he hinted at running for a fourth term, but following the event, he said he spoke to his wife, Tracy, about the energy a four-year commitment takes, and changed his mind.
“Everything that my wife and I have done for over 30 years revolves around our daughters and our family,” explained Sheriff Knight.
“As much as I would like to stay, and I’m committed, a couple things: these are not easy jobs; the Sheriff’s Office is bigger than the sheriff. I’m just a figurehead of it.
“I get to make the decisions and live with the decisions and answer for them. It takes a lot of energy to do it and do it right.”
“Right now, I’m still energized.”
Sheriff Knight, of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) is being honored for his steadfast dedication to protecting Sarasota County children from online predators and human trafficking.
Most recently with Operation Intercept VI, a four-day initiative that resulted in the arrest of 25 child predators.
Suspects ranging in age from 19-65 responded to Internet-based ads, online apps and social media sites to engage in sexually explicit written and verbal conversations.
One of the suspects rode a three-wheel bicycle to the home while in possession of cocaine and another brought with him two firearms and several narcotics.
One man attempted to lure the child into his vehicle while several sent explicit photos and brought condoms with them.
Ultimately all 25 arrestees traveled with the intent of having sex with a male or female child.
(The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested 25 people during Operation Intercept VI, a 4-day initiative focused on protecting Sarasota County children from online predators and human trafficking. Courtesy of SarasotaSheriff and YouTube. Posted on July 26, 2019.)
“Unfortunately, the internet allows for easy and anonymous access to children by strangers who are hiding behind a computer screen,” explained Sheriff Tom Knight.
“That is why these operations are paramount to ensuring our most vulnerable population is safe and protected.”
“The men arrested during this operation managed to blend into society and attempted to prey on children by developing a trust through promises to exploit them for sexual purposes.”
“So long as men like these prey upon our community, I will ensure our ongoing commitment to putting them behind bars.”
Following the arrest of another 23 men for traveling to meet a child for sex, we are re-releasing this list. WE WILL KEEP ADDING TO IT SO LONG AS MOBILE APPS ARE UTILIZED BY PEOPLE WHO WANT TO PREY ON YOUR CHILDREN. LOOK THROUGH YOUR CHILD’S PHONE. #PREVENTIONSTARTSATHOME pic.twitter.com/QqGTccMWkx
— SarasotaSheriff (@SarasotaSheriff) September 27, 2019
Sheriff Knight has lived in Florida since 1973 when his family moved to Sarasota County from western Pennsylvania.
He graduated from Venice High School in 1981, attended Manatee Junior College and later transferred to Florida State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology in 1986.
Sheriff Knight and his wife Tracy have two daughters and currently reside in Venice.
Sarasota Sheriff Knight Honored in 2019 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program
Winners to be Announced at the ‘ASTORS’ Awards Luncheon at ISC East – Register Today
Time is running out to Register for the ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Luncheon on November 20th, in New York City and give yourself & your clients a break from the show!
The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program is specifically designed to honor distinguished government and vendor solutions that deliver enhanced value, benefit and intelligence to end users in a variety of government, homeland security and public safety vertical markets.
The highlight of the 2019 AST Homeland Security Awards Program will be the ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon at ISC East, in the Jacob Javits Exhibition Center from 12:00pm – 3:00pm, room 1A05.
ISC East is the Northeast’s largest security industry event and ISC East 2019 will feature Drones & Robotics.
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Two Global Leaders – One Combined Conference and Exhibition
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The 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program drew an overwhelming response from industry leaders with a record high number of corporate and government nominations received, as well as record breaking ‘ASTORS’ Presentation Luncheon Attendees, with top firms trying to register for the exclusive high – end luncheon and networking opportunity – right up to the event kickoff on Wednesday afternoon, at the ISC East registration!
Over 130 distinguished guests representing National, State and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Firms, gathered from across North America, Europe and the Middle East to be honored among their peers in Physical and Cyber Security Fields including:
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
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- Argonne National Laboratory
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- The Department of Justice (DOJ)
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The Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program highlighting the most cutting-edge and forward-thinking security solutions coming onto the market today, to ensure our readers have the information they need to stay ahead of the competition, and keep our Nation safe – one facility, street, and city at a time.
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