July 2, 2015

ACCREDITATION TEAM INVITES PUBLIC COMMENTS ABOUT THE MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Sheriff Rick Ramsay announced today, a team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) will arrive August 18th to examine all aspects of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services, Even though MCSO is CALEA Accredited, the agency still must comply with an additional 84 standards in order to receive CFA accredited status. Many of the standards are critical to life, health and safety issues.

As part of the on-site assessment, agency members and the general public are invited to offer comments to the assessment team. A copy of the standards is available through the MCSO Public Information Officer at (305) 292-7116.

For more information regarding CFA or for persons wishing to offer written comments about the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office’s ability to meet the standards of accreditation, please write: CFA, P.O. Box 1489, Tallahassee, Florida  32302, or email toinfo@flaccreditation.org.

The Accreditation Program Manager for MCSO is Lt. Dennis Coleman. The assessment team is composed of law enforcement practitioners from similar agencies. The assessors will review written materials; interview individuals; and visit offices and other places where compliance can be witnessed. The CFA Assessment Team Leader is Master Officer Tammy Farnham from the Stuart Police Department. Other team members are Accreditation Manager Maureen Buice from the Fort Myers Police Department and Lieutenant John Schardine from Maitland Police Department.

Once the Commission’s assessors complete their review of the agency, they report back to the full Commission, which will then decide if the agency is to receive accredited status. Accreditation status is for 3 years. Verification by the team that MCSO meets the Commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process to gain or maintain accreditation--a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.

July 1, 2015

Juveniles involved in Islamorada crime spree

A group of juveniles ranging in age from 13 to 17 burglarized cars, stole a car and bicycles and caused havoc on Plantation Key between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

One of the juveniles – 15 year old Richard Williams – has been charged with two counts of felony vehicle burglary and theft. A second juvenile – 16 year old Daniel Placide – has been charged with grand theft of a vehicle. Charges may be pending against others as the investigation continues.

Members of the group told Detective Ian Barnett they left the Children’s Shelter on Plantation Key at 9 p.m. Monday. After leaving, members of the group say they entered numerous unlocked cars and took money from inside. They went to Founder’s Park in Islamorada where they swam in the pool after closing hours. They took bicycles from bike racks at the park and scattered them throughout the park.

They entered one unlocked car – a 1998 Toyota - which had the keys in the ignition. They stole the car and drove it to Coral Shores High School, where they left it parked. They returned to the shelter at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Deputy Caridad Bellon responded to a vehicle burglary report Tuesday morning. The victim told her he’d been walking his dog in the early morning hours and heard juveniles swimming in the pool at the park. He said he went out to his car later and found bikes strewn around the park and his vehicle burglarized.

Deputies knew a group of juveniles had been reported missing from the shelter at the same time these crimes were taking place. When they began interviewing the juveniles, who had since returned to the shelter, they discovered the extent of their activities.


After interviews were conducted, Williams was charged with two counts of vehicle burglary and theft. Placide was charged with grand theft of an automobile. More charges may be pending against them and other members of the group.

June 30, 2015

Pirate charged with disorderly conduct

Deputies responding to a “shots fired” call on the old Seven Mile Bridge Monday night arrested a man in a full pirate costume, complete with operational black powder pistols in holsters on each hip, a sword and two knives.

Dispatchers received a call at 8:20 p.m. The caller wanted to report a pirate firing a gun on the bridge. When Deputy Garrett Bragg arrived, he found 58 year old Jamie Spering, who said he is an entertainer. He said he was on the bridge with friends for sunset. He admitted shooting both of his black powder pistols. He said there was no projectile loaded in the pistols, just the powder. He said he shot the guns safely,  toward the water. Witnesses contradicted his story, saying he fired one shot toward the water and one toward cars traveling on the bridge.

Spering was taken into custody, charged with disorderly conduct and booked into jail.

Deputies investigate mailbox damage

Sheriff’s deputies took numerous reports in the early morning hours today of someone damaging mailboxes on Duck Key.

A witness saw a gold colored Dodge truck speeding away from the area just before 2 a.m. He said he believes the occupants of the truck are responsible for the damages to the damaged mailboxes. At least 17 mailboxes were found to have been damaged with an object – possibly a baseball bat. Most of the mailboxes were located on South Indies Drive, with others on Bimini Drive, Antigua Street and Bahama Drive.

Anyone with information should contact the Sheriff’s Office.

June 21, 2015

Update on the deadly house fire on Ramrod Key this morning:

The people who died in the house fire were 46 year old Robin Ferrer; her son, Roman, age 7 and her daughter Hazel, age 5. Robin Ferrer’s older son, 18 year old Jacob Shores, was burned attempting to save his family. He is at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami where he is expected to recover from his injuries. Robin Ferrer’s older daughter, 19 year old Courtney Shores, also attempted to save her family. She was not injured.

Neighbors, other family members and deputies who arrived minutes after the call was dispatched also attempted to rescue those inside the burning house, but the flames and smoke were spreading too quickly for them to be able to enter the building.

The State Fire Marshal and Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives are investigating the cause of the fire.

House fire kills three

A mother and her two small children, ages 5 and 7, died in a house fire in the early morning hours this morning on Anguila Lane, Ramrod Key.

Sheriff’s Office dispatchers began receiving calls reporting the fire at 12:35 a.m. When deputies and firefighters arrived on scene, the home was fully engulfed. An older male sibling of the two children who were killed was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center for severe burns he sustained from the fire. A female sibling escaped from the burning home without injury.


The State Fire Marshal and Sheriff’s detectives are working together to determine the cause of the deadly blaze. Detectives are also working to notify family members of those who died. Names will be released as soon as they are able to do that.

June 20, 2015

Marathon man faces gun charges

A Marathon man is in jail, charged with pointing a gun at another man in a confrontation over a woman.

Deputies responded to Trailerama Trailer Park at 8:15 a.m. to reports of a man with a gun. When they arrived, the 38 year old victim said he was walking through the trailer park when 37 year old Chris Cortes came out of a trailer at lot #57 and began yelling at him about a woman. Cortes then walked underneath a nearby trailer and came back out with a gun. He pointed it at the victim, who thought Cortes was going to shoot him.

The victim told Cortes he was calling the Sheriff’s Office. Cortes then fled toward the trap yard at the rear of the trailer park.

Deputy Rosa DiGiovanni spoke with a witness who said she saw Cortes take the gun from under a washing machine at a trailer at the trailer park. She said she saw him point the gun at the victim.

The gun was recovered from under a nearby trailer, where the suspect is believed to have discarded it. A check on the serial number revealed it was reported stolen in April from Stock Island.


A warrant was obtained for Cortes and he was found later that afternoon. He was charged with aggravated assault and grand theft of a firearm. He was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm – he has over ten felony convictions in the state of Florida and is currently on active felony probation with the Florida Department of Corrections.

Tip leads to arrest on Miami murder warrant

A tip called in to the Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest of a Miami man on a warrant for second degree murder.

33 year old Steve Singleton of Homestead was apprehended Friday at 7 p.m. at 20 High Point Road in Tavernier. At the time of his arrest, he had a Smith and Wesson semi-automatic handgun in a backpack which turned out to be stolen in April of 2013 from Miramar, Florida.


Singleton, who is a convicted felon, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and with the warrant for second degree murder from Miami-Dade County. Miramar police were notified of the recovered stolen weapon.

June 19, 2015

Cleaning up Stock Island

Deputy Sean Moran, cleaning up a camping area near the Lighthouse Christian Academy on Stock Island.

Cleaning up in Marathon

Lt. Derek Paul periodically walks 15th Street in Marathon to keep the area clean. He also talks with residents about assisting with his efforts.