January 28, 2010

Crime Watch meeting on Big Pine Key


There was a Crime Watch meeting recently at Royal Palm Trailer Village on Big Pine Key. At the meeting, Crime Watch Coordinator Emil LaVache raffled off some new Crime Watch t-shirts. There was a great turn out and everyone enjoyed the raffle. In the picture, Emil stands with the group from the trailer village and with Colonel Rick Ramsay, bottom right.

Sheriff’s Traffic Unit targets “Move Over Law” violations

Note: For more information on this topic, and for access to a variety of printed materials, audio public service announcements and video, go to http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/misc/SafeEdCamps.htm.

 
Starting in February, and running for several months, the Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement Unit will begin some special patrols targeting the “Move Over Law”, which requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle with its emergency equipment activated.

 
This law, and similar laws passed in most states in the U.S., aim specifically to keep first responders safe as they perform their duties. More than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America's highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

 
Below is synopsis of the basics of the “Move Over Law”.

  • On a two-lane roadway, you are required to slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.
  •  If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, you must slow down to five miles per hour.
  • If you are driving on an interstate or roadway with multiple lanes of travel in the same direction, and you approach an emergency or law enforcement vehicle parked along the roadway, you must vacate the lane closest to that vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are not able to safely move over, you must slow down to a speed of 20 MPH below the posted speed limit unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer.
  • Fine $ 166.00 and 3 points on your license. 
The Traffic Unit will be conducing Saturated Patrols, also known as “wolf packs”, throughout the County over the next few months. Any other traffic violation observed during the operation will, of course, be stopped and either educated or cited.

Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers about the “Move Over Law”:

What should I do if I see an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road with lights flashing?

 
Multi-Lane Roadway:

 
When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing parked on the side of a multi-lane road, you MUST move over by changing lanes away from the emergency vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. Motorists must vacate the lane closest to an emergency vehicle to prevent crashing into the emergency vehicle or any emergency workers performing their jobs in the area.

 
Two-Lane Roadway:

 
When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing parked on the side of a two-lane road, you MUST slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit and approach with caution unless otherwise directed by an emergency worker on the scene.

 
What if I am not able to move over safely or change lanes away from the emergency vehicle?

 
If you are unable to move over or change lanes safely, you MUST slow down to at least 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

 
If I cannot change lanes safely should I stop my vehicle in the roadway?

 
No, you must slow down while maintaining a safe speed. You must not stop in the roadway or block the flow of traffic.

 
What can I do to prevent an accident when approaching an emergency vehicle, traffic congestion, a crash scene, or a construction area?

Stay alert! The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others is to pay attention behind the wheel. If you keep your eyes ahead of you on the road, pay attention to the activity around you (other vehicles, signs, etc.) you will be able to anticipate problems and react more quickly to any potentially dangerous events.

 
What can happen if I break Florida's Move Over Law?

 
If you are caught, you will be issued a ticket and have to pay a fine. More seriously, you could crash into an emergency vehicle or strike an emergency worker, causing serious injury or death. You could injure or kill another person or yourself.

For more information, and for access to a variety of printed materials, audio public service announcements and video, go to http://www.flhsmv.gov/fhp/misc/SafeEdCamps.htm.

January 26, 2010

Two charged with beating, cutting a third man

Stock Island - A fight at a Stock Island residence sent one man to the hospital and two others to jail early today.

Deputies Evan Calhoun and Caridad Bellon responded to Ocean Spray Trailer Park at 2:45 a.m. When they arrived at Lot #8, they found two men yelling, with blood on their hands and clothing, yelling in front of the residence. Assuming someone was injured, they called for an ambulance. They then found a third man - the apparent source of all the blood - in back of the house. The 32 year old victim was bleeding heavily from cuts on his face. He also had damage to his eye.

The two suspects who were in front - 20 year old Jimmy Campbell and 32 year old Timothy Rushing - admitted to attacking the victim. Witnesses confirmed their story. They said they fought with him because he was "loud and obnoxious". They said they had to use a bottle because he was "big" and was "disrespecting" their house.

Campbell and Rushing were both charged with aggravated battery and they were booked into jail. The victim had a lacerated cornea, a laceration to his left ear a contusion on his forehead and lacerations above and below his eye.

Two runaway juveniles steal fire truck; are arrested

West Summerland Key - Two 17 year old boys who ran away from Camp Sawyer on West Summerland Key early Monday were caught in a stolen fire truck just hours later, as they attempted to flee the Florida Keys.

Sheriff's deputies were called to Camp Sawyer on West Summerland Key at 4 a.m. Monday. Counselors at the camp wanted to report the two boys missing. Steven Barron and Joshua Ryan are both from a school in Pennsylvania called "Outward In". They were at the camp attending a juvenile diversion program for troubled juveniles. They had gone missing from their tent at the camp. A report was taken and a notice to be on the lookout was issued for the boys.

At 8 a.m., deputies were called back to the camp. A bright red 2006 Chevrolet truck belonging to the Big Pine Key Fire Department had been stolen from the camp, where it was parked overnight. Responding Deputy David Chavka realized the likelihood that the missing boys had taken it, so they immediately issued a notice to be on the lookout for the truck.

Deputy Sever Hustad was at the 105 mile marker of the highway and the truck had just passed his location. He radioed ahead to the Florida Highway Patrol to keep an eye out for the truck. FHP pulled the truck over at the 125 mile marker of the highway, arresting the two boys for grand theft auto.

The truck, which had evidence of fresh damage on the right rear of the vehicle, was returned to the fire department.

Cleaning up on Big Pine Key


The Sheriff’s Office and the Big Pine Motel partnered this past weekend to clean up a brushy area on Cunningham Lane which was making the area unsafe for pedestrian and vehicle traffic. In the photo, Lt. Gene Thompson wields a chain saw while Deputy Linda Kohout looks on. Motel maintenance man Art Brown assisted.

Inmate turns himself in

Stock Island - An inmate who failed to return from a work release detail in the early morning hours Monday turned himself in at the jail Tuesday morning.

At about 4:30 a.m., 38 year old Ryan Stamets pushed the call button at the jail's Intake and Release door on the side of the main jail building. When a corrections officer answered the call button, he said he was there to turn himself in.

He was booked into the jail on charges of escape.

January 25, 2010

Inmate fails to return from work release


In the photo: Ryan Stamets, wanted for escape

Key West - A Monroe County jail inmate, working at a downtown restaurant in the work release program, failed to return to the jail in the early morning hours today.

38 year old Ryan Stamets was scheduled to leave his work assignment and return to the Detention Center on Stock Island at 2 a.m. When he failed to return, deputies were sent to the work establishment and to his last known address to look for him. He was not found at either location. A notice to be on the lookout for Stamets was sent to Key West Police and to Sheriff's deputies county-wide.

Stamets was arrested June 13th by Key West Police for driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with his license suspended. He'd been participating in the work release program since September. He is now facing escape charges when he is found.

Anyone with information about Stamets location should contact the Sheriff's Office or contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters may remain anonymous and may receive a reward if their information leads to an arrest. Tips can be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or called in to the Crime Stoppers hot line at 1-800-346-TIPS.

Letter to the Sheriff: Animal Farm

Hi,

My name is John Delamater and My wife and I are regular visitors to the Animal Farm. Jeanne does a wonderful job with all of the animals and always has a great smile and warm greeting for us when we visit. I honestly don’t know how she manages to keep the farm running seven days a week with only the assistance of the “guests” of Monroe County. I understand that she is also responsible for the grounds maintenance of the buildings on Stock Island as well. I hope that the farm continues to draw the number of visitors and can keep going as it is a wonderful way for a lot of kids to see animals that most of them might not otherwise see.

Farmer Jeanne has also implemented a number of changes that are very good for the residents of the farm. One of the best yet is limiting the traffic into the rabbit pen as they are easily spooked and despite the way they appear, are not really good pets for children. Supervised visits with all of the animals is the best way to handle the increasingly large crowds of people that visit.

My wife and I have attempted to have the Citizen publish some of our thoughts and comments about the great job that Jeanne is doing and how good this little farm is for the community and the people that visit the lower keys. Unfortunately, to this point, our comments have apparently fallen on deaf ears or blind eyes, as the saying might go, and we would like to let everyone at MCSO know how much a great many people in the community appreciate everything that all in the department do and especially extend a Thank You to Jeanne Selander for her efforts to keep the farm going.

Yours Truly,

John Delamater

January 22, 2010

Sheriff's Animal Farm open Sunday January 24th

Everyone is invited to visit the Sheriff’s Animal Farm Sunday, January 24th between 1 and 3 p.m. The farm is a terrific family activity that is FREE OF CHARGE. Donations are, of course, greatly appreciated because they help keep the animal’s habitats in good repair and help pay for food and upkeep at the farm.

The farm has about 250 animals of all kinds and is truly a wonderful place for children and adults alike. The farm is open second and fourth Sundays of every month. Groups may schedule special trips by contacting Farmer Jeanne Selander at 305-293-7300. The farm is located underneath the Monroe County Detention Center, off of College Road on Stock Island.

Sheriff's Office helps out at Domestic Abuse Shelter race Saturday

Members of the Sheriff’s Office helped out with the Domestic Abuse Shelter race on No Name Key Saturday morning.

Assisting with traffic and parking were the lower keys cadets led by Dep. Sonja Morgan, Sgt Glenn Test, and Candi Busald. Reserve deputies included Bob Smith, Colleen Carter, and Emil LaVache. Also assisting were Det. Harry Boyden and Lt. Gene Thompson, who complimented everyone on the job they did at the event.

In the pictures, the Sheriff's Office participants pose as a group; Cadet / Explorers perform traffic control and parking duties Saturday morning.


Bicycle safety rodeo teaches kids about riding safely



The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office participated in a bicycle safety day held at the Academy School at Ocean Reef recently. The event included a bicycle safety rodeo for kids and a bike-a-thon which raised $9,110.00 the Keys Children’s Foundation. Monica Woll, the Greenways Trail Coordinator for the Department of Environmental Protection also attended, bringing new bike helmets for all the kids who participated. In the picture: Deputy Ray Jodlowski talks to kids at Ocean Reef Academy School about bicycle safety.

January 19, 2010

Teen charged with distribution of Marijuana

Big Pine Key - A Big Pine teenager was arrested Monday evening, charged with distribution of Marijuana.

Deputy Peter Garcia was on routine patrol at the 30 mile marker of the highway when he spotted to teens on bicycles riding southbound. One of the bicycles was not equipped with a light. He stopped the two boys and did pat down searches of both of them.

The boy who did not have a light on his bicycle was warned about the requirement that he have one after dark. The second boy, 15 year old Richard Price, had 28 grams of marijuana in one of his pants pockets. Each gram was individually packaged in a plastic bag, as if prepared for sale.

Price was placed under arrest. Because the traffic stop was made within 1,000 feet of the Vineyard Christian School, the charge of distribution of Marijuana could have enhanced penalties attached. He was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after a piece of a ballpoint pen was found in his pocket which had been altered and used as a marijuana pipe.

Price was booked at the jail and was released to the custody of his father after consultation with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

January 16, 2010

Search warrant in Marathon results in drug arrest

Grassy Key - The Sheriff's Special Investigations Division served a search warrant Friday afternoon at 317 Guava Avenue on Grassy Key.

At the residence, they found a small amount of Crack Cocaine, Ecstasy and marijuana. Also seized in the warrant was cookware for manufacturing crack cocaine. These cookware items field tested positive for cocaine.

As the warrants was executed at the home, 24 year old Deanthony James Jackson and another man arrived at the residence in a vehicle. Jackson was found to be in possession of Marijuana and Crack Cocaine and was arrested for possessing those illegal substances.

Assisting with service of the search warrant were Marathon Road Patrol deputies.

Single vehicle accident sends one to Miami

Marathon - A motorcyclist crashed in front of Marathon High School just after midnight. The driver was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami by Monroe County's Trauma Star helicopter. The Florida Highway Patrol is the investigating agency on the case.

January 13, 2010

Detectives investigate six business burglaries

Marathon - Detectives are investigating six business burglaries in the Marathon area over the past few days.

In all six cases, suspects forced their way in through a door or window and took, for the most part, cash. The break in at Key Colony Beach Realty and Rental was discovered Sunday morning; break ins at Surfside Citgo and the Shellman in Marathon were discovered on Monday morning; break ins at the Blackfin Resort, Tildens Dive Shop and Captain Pips Marina were discovered on Tuesday morning.

Crime Scene investigators were called to take fingerprints and gather evidence. Detectives have been canvassing nearby businesses to see if they can obtain any video footage of the crimes. Anyone with information about the cases should call the Sheriff's office or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Callers to Crime Stoppers are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

Soldier Ride comes to the Keys

The annual Soldier / Wounded Warrior ride will be coming to the Florida Keys January 15th and 16th. Riders will travel distances in Islamorada, Marathon, the Boca Chica four lane in the lower Keys and in the City of Key West and will be escorted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Key West Police Department.
“This ride is a wonderful gift from the community to these wounded warriors,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “We are proud to be a part of it and we hope everyone in the community turns out to cheer these brave men and women who were wounded while defending our freedom,” he said.

Bike riders are expected to be riding between Coral Shores High School and Holiday Isle Resort, on the old road, between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. They will only be on the highway a short distance over the Snake Creek Bridge.

They will most likely be on the Seven Mile Bridge sometime between 4 - 5 p.m. on Friday. Anticipate some traffic slow downs while they are riding the bridge.

On Saturday, they will ride from NAS Boca Chica south in the outside lane of the highway to Cow Key Bridge at the entrance to the city of Key West. This ride will start at 10:30 a.m.

From that point, their escort will be taken over by the Key West Police Department. During the entire time they are riding, they will be escorted by marked patrol cars from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and other local law enforcement agencies.

We hope members of the public will keep an eye out and will come outside and cheer the riders on.

January 11, 2010

Two charged with possessing canisters of Nitrous Oxide

Key Largo - Sheriff's deputies arrested an adult and a teenager in Key Largo Sunday evening after stopping their car on a report of reckless behavior.

Dispatchers received a phone call from a driver who said he was behind a truck that was behaving dangerously. He said he'd been following it from Florida City to Key Largo and had the two people in the car were throwing firecrackers out the windows.

Deputies stopped the truck at the 106 mile marker of the highway and found 22 year old James Francois of Oakland Park, Florida and 16 year old Robert Pace of Fort Lauderdale inside. They gave deputies permission to search the vehicle. Inside they found a small amount of marijuana. They also found 100 Nitrous Oxide canisters; 50 of them were used and 50 were still full. They also found a silver device used to dispense the gas. The two admitted to using the drug to get high; they said they had been using it as they were driving.

Both were placed under arrest. They were charged with inhaling dangerous chemicals; unlawful distribution of nitrous oxide; possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of marijuana. They were booked at the Monroe County Detention Center.

January 6, 2010

Cold Weather Shelters Open In The Keys

1. The Burton Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 93001 US Highway 1, Tavernier, will be operational as a Cold Weather Shelter for the Upper Keys when temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Hours of operation are 9:00 PM to 7 AM.

Any individuals desiring to serve as shelter managers may call Pastor Kerry Foote at (305) 852-2581, or, e-mail him at Kmf_bmumc@bellsouth.net.

2. The Island Christian School, Family Life Center, located at 83400 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, will also be operational as a Cold Weather Shelter for the Upper Keys when temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Hours of operation are 9:00 PM to 7 AM.

Any individuals desiring to serve as shelter managers may call Dick Shainline at (215) 859-2144.

3. St. Peter Catholic Church, located at MM #31.3, Big Pine Key, will be operational as a Cold Weather Shelter for the Middle, and Lower Keys, when temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Hours of operation are 9:00 PM to 7 AM.

Any individuals desiring to serve as shelter managers may call Ms. Jennifer Kearney at (305) 872-2537, or, as an alternative number, (305) 731-9444.

Sheriff's Animal Farm open Sunday January 10th

Everyone is invited to visit the Sheriff’s Animal Farm Sunday, January 10th between 1 and 3 p.m. The farm is a terrific family activity that is FREE OF CHARGE. Donations are, of course, greatly appreciated because they help keep the animal’s habitats in good repair and help pay for food and upkeep at the farm.

The farm has about 250 animals of all kinds and is truly a wonderful place for children and adults alike. The farm is open second and fourth Sundays of every month. Groups may schedule special trips by contacting Farmer Jeanne Selander at 305-293-7300. The farm is located underneath the Monroe County Detention Center, off of College Road on Stock Island.

January 5, 2010

Detectives leave ransom note for marijuana; arrest suspect



Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations detectives employed an unusual tactic to arrest a suspect who was growing marijuana. They left a note in place of the plants asking him to call; in return for cash they offered him his plants back.

“Thanks for the grow! You want them back? Call for the price…we’ll talk,” the note read, with a phone number (see picture on the left).

The plants were found after a tip from a citizen that marijuana plants were growing on a wooded lot off of Coco Plum Drive in Marathon. When detectives arrived, they found six large plants and confiscated them as evidence, leaving the note in their place. About ten minutes later, 48 year old Steven Alan Locasio called the number asking what he would have to do to get the plants back. He offered $200 for the safe return of the plants, which detectives agreed to.

They loaded up the plants and met Locasio at the corner of Coco Plum Drive and Avenue H. He handed over the cash and he was arrested in return.

A search warrant was obtained for Locasio’s apartment at 140 Coco Plum Drive, #2. The search turned up 20 more marijuana plants, four pounds of freshly harvested marijuana (see picture on the left, as detectives found it in a chest freezer) and several 80 milligram Oxycontin pills. They also seized $1,380 in cash – most likely proceeds from drug sales.

Steven Locasio and his wife, 50 year old Christine Locasio, were both charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and sale of marijuana. They were booked into jail.

Soldier Ride comes to the Keys

The annual Soldier / Wounded Warrior ride will be coming to the Florida Keys January 15th and 16th. Riders will travel distances in Islamorada, Marathon, the Boca Chica four lane in the lower Keys and in the City of Key West and will be escorted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Key West Police Department.

“This ride is a wonderful gift from the community to these wounded warriors,” said Sheriff Bob Peryam. “We are proud to be a part of it and we hope everyone in the community turns out to cheer these brave men and women who were wounded while defending our freedom,” he said.

A schedule of the event, issued by the Wounded Warrior Project, can be found on our web site: http://www.keysso.net/ - Press Releases.

Sheriff's Office is professionally re-accredited


The Monroe County Sheriff's Office recently received state re-accreditation in both law enforcement and corrections. The Sheriff's Office has been a professionally accredited law enforcement agency since the late 1980s, when Sheriff William "Billy" Freeman first applied for and achieved national accreditation status. Of the 3,060 Sheriff's Offices in the nation, only 147 are accredited, putting the MCSO in the top 2% of professional law enforcement agencies in the United States.

"We are currently nationally accredited and we are proud to say state accreditation assessors confirmed our status as a professionally accredited agency as well," said Sheriff Bob Peryam. "The process of re-accreditation is a long and difficult one and I want to thank my accreditation team and the rest of the employees of the Sheriff's Office for all their hard work in achieving this honor." The agency will face the difficult task of national re-accreditation coming up in 2010; agencies must go through the re-accreditation process every three years.

The Office of Accreditation makes sure all divisions within the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, and all members of those divisions, are aware of Office policies and procedures and are in compliance with them at all times. They draft policy, at the direction of the Sheriff and in compliance with Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditations (CFA), the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC) and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). These policies and procedures are the foundation of a modern, professional law enforcement agency, and are also the foundation to being state and federally accredited.

Inspectors from the office are charged with seeing that all policies and procedures are up to date at all times, and being complied with by all members of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. To that end, they visit all offices on a regular basis, inspecting records and making sure all procedures are being followed appropriately.

What is Accreditation?

Law Enforcement Agencies in the state of Florida can attain law enforcement and corrections accredited status through the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditations (CFA) and Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission (FCAC). Agencies nationwide can become accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

An accreditation program has long been recognized as a means of maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. Accreditation is the certification by an independent reviewing authority that an entity has met specific requirements and prescribed standards. Schools, universities, and hospitals are some of the most well known organizations that are required to maintain accreditation.

Law Enforcement accreditation is only achieved after an assessment team of law enforcement/corrections professionals from other agencies around the state and nation conduct an on-site assessment. An on-site assessment entails a detailed and extensive review of an agencies policies and procedures checking for compliance with established standards, physical facilities and documentation that an agency is doing what it says it is. For Corrections they also look at safety and emergency procedures, food services, rules and discipline and other subject areas that comprise good correctional practices.

"I am proud to say our employees are true professionals and they have proven that over and over again, during difficult and extensive examinations by outside entities during the accreditation process. The citizens of the county can also be proud that their local law enforcement agency is one of the top agencies in the country for its level of professionalism," said Sheriff Peryam.