Recently, I was given a very informative and enjoyable tour of the Sarasota Police Department building on Adams Lane. Compared to the Sarasota police station that I served in at State Street and Lemon Avenue years ago, well, there just isn't any comparison.
Back in the 1950s we had no crime lab, did not have interrogation rooms, no immediate information on tag numbers, fingerprints and so on. We did have a large book with local tag numbers and information, furnished by our local tag office. Any other tag numbers or information was not available.
Our radios were so large they were mounted in the trunks of our vehicles (of course, our mikes were mounted on our dash boards), and the radios were so poor, at times we were not even able to contact the station from Lido Key. The bridge from the mainland to Lido Key was a flat wooden bridge.
There was no I-75 and all of the "snow birds" going south used U.S. 41, which ran through Main Street. We had about five or six uniformed officers to a shift.
Never miss a local story.
One officer was on the north side of Main Street and one officer south of Main Street, one on Lido Key and a "rover," plus a sergeant or lieutenant.
There was very little crime, no drugs to speak of, and a respect for officers from most all of the residents. The police officers of today face a very different job. Very little respect, more crime, and many more drug problems.
Thank goodness they have more technology at their command. I met the chief and was introduced to many of the personnel at their work stations. The experience was most enjoyable and informative, and being in my upper 80s, I realized how time changes things!