Sarasota police chief announces retirement after 7-month term due to ‘unexpected health issues’

Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sarasota’s police chief announced Wednesday his retirement from the City of Sarasota effective at 5 p.m.

“Because of recent unexpected health issues and after much consideration and reflection, I have submitted my retirement,” Chief James Rieser said. “I have been honored and humbled to serve as the chief of police for the past seven months. It’s been an honor to serve this beautiful community I consider paradise over the past 29 years. The professionalism, integrity, and level of service of the men and women of the Sarasota Police Department are above and beyond what any leader could ask for.”

He was appointed as the city’s 12th police chief on Jan. 29 and has nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience. He joined the Sarasota Police Department in April 1992.

During his time with SPD, Rieser served in the Patrol Division, Professional Standards Division, Narcotics and Criminal Investigations Division, and most recently was the commander of the Support Services Division before being appointed chief of police.

Mayor Hagen Brody told 8 On Your Side Chief Rieser accomplished a lot in his time as the department’s leader.

“We really needed somebody that would bring stability to the department. We had some morale issues in the department that he has completely reversed. I think he has refocused the department on the things that matter most to our community like violent crime and traffic and speeding enforcement,” said Mayor Brody.

City of Sarasota Manager Marlon Brown appointed Deputy Chief Rex Troche as interim chief of police.

“One of the things that I committed to when I appointed Chief Rieser was obviously that if and when he retired, that we would engage the community in terms of helping us to find the next chief,” said Brown. “I am really thinking hard and fast about that in terms of how do I engage the community in that process of hiring the next chief.”

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