BRADENTON, Fla. (FOX 13) - Restaurants, shops, and new homes await customers and buyers in east Manatee County at Lakewood Ranch.
“Just living here is about conveniences,” resident Laura Cole said. “We are able to walk to our neighborhood shopping centers, our schools.”
As more people moved east, Manatee sheriff deputy patrols increased. However, there was one piece of the community many felt was missing.
“It’s just natural, if you are able, to have a sheriff’s office nearby, should the need occur to have to walk in and talk to somebody,” Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells pointed out.
An MSO substation is now open in a former Lennar sales office.
Getting to this point has been a community collaboration and one that will save deputies a 20-mile trip to the main headquarters in Bradenton.
“We really are just barely hanging on, in regards to the growth and the population, and we want to be able to continue to be able to be pro-active,” Sheriff Wells said. “We want to be able to prevent crime, not to react every time a crime occurs.”
The substation is just the beginning. Sheriff Wells says, within a few years, he has plans for a fully-functional district to serve east Manatee County and the Lakewood Ranch community, which continues to grow.
“We will be the first to tell you that east Manatee is growing; north of the river is growing. We have to have as many resources as we possibly can out here,” the sheriff said.