Sarasota Memorial’s Public Safety Department has created a patrol team, but its officers aren’t armed with the tools you’d typically expect to see from officers on the beat. What visitors to the hospital can expect to see are Officers Tom Franco, Derrick Brown and Jeffery Peters patrolling the area…on bikes. Priding themselves on being friendly and attentive, the three-man Bike Patrol force has been tasked with keeping tabs on the hospital and surrounding neighborhoods during the ongoing construction. Their duties range from assisting lost visitors to intervening in a crisis situation.
Sergeant Tom Franco, the Bike Patrol’s team leader, has been working with the hospital for more than two years and has racked up a considerable number of disaster preparedness certifications. But his serious qualifications don’t dampen his sense of humor; he states his favorite thing to do outside of work is “not riding a bike.”
A former United States Marine, Officer Derrick Brown also has a considerable amount of safety experience. Before his duties began at Sarasota Memorial ten months ago, Officer Brown worked for the ISMG Security Company based out of Atlanta, Georgia. When he’s not keeping tabs on the hospital, the officer likes to keep in touch with his artistic side by dabbling with both music and the visual arts. “But family always comes first on my agenda,” Brown adds with a smile.
The newest addition to the patrol, Officer Jeffrey Peters, should have people thinking twice before creating any mischief on hospital grounds. Although it is hard to believe from his friendly demeanor, Officer Peters has training in hand-to-hand defense and enters body building competitions in his free time when he’s not volunteering at his church.
Sarasota Memorial’s Bike Patrol offers a wide variety of support to patients, visitors and staff throughout the day and night, including escorting individuals to their cars or other campus destinations. “If you feel the need, don’t hesitate to call us, we’ll be glad to help,” said Sergeant Franco.
“We’re always in the area, too,” Officer Peters adds, “so if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to come up and talk to any one of us about them.”
The officers also shared some helpful tips for staff and visitors:
“Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you at all times,” offers Officer Peters. “Always look for things that are suspicious and report them as soon as you can. This is a huge help in preventing potential crime.”
Officer Brown encourages you to “keep your vehicle secure, and hide all valuables inside it from public view.”
As far as hospital construction goes, Sergeant Franco adds a few more helpful suggestions. “Read the traffic and directional signs when you’re unclear on how to proceed. There’s ample parking in the garages, but please don’t park in the van access aisles because they are reserved for the handicapped.” But most importantly, Franco adds, “Always have safety in mind.”
If you have concerns about construction, security or parking issues, please contact Tom Franco through SMH’s Public Safety Department at 917-2058. He’s available to provide assistance and answer any questions you may have. The team typically works Monday through Friday, with Officers Franco and Brown patrolling from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Officer Peters working the night shifts from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
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