April 30, 2016

Man scammed out of thousands

A Key Largo man was scammed out of $2,500 because he believed his wife was kidnapped.

The 30 year old man told Deputy Gil Gonzalez he received a call Friday at 10 a.m. from a man – “Mike” -  who claimed to have his wife; Mike said the victim’s wife was involved in a car crash and had killed Mike’s son in the crash. Mike said after the crash he kidnapped her. He claimed to be a drug dealer and said he did not want to involve law enforcement. Mike said he was keeping the victim’s wife in the trunk of a car and would kill her if the victim did not pay him $2,500.00. Mike repeatedly played the victim an audio tape over the phone that sounded like his wife screaming. The caller instructed him to wire money to two different people in Puerto Rico.

The scammer kept the victim on the phone, insisting if he hung up he would kill his wife. The victim walked to a nearby grocery store and withdrew money from his bank account and did what he was instructed to do.

After the money was paid, the scammer hung up the phone. At that point, the victim received text messages from family members and from his wife letting him know she was fine and he realized he had been scammed.

Deputy Gonzalez spoke to the victim’s wife and she said she received similar calls that same day from a man claiming to have kidnapped her husband. She said she told him she didn’t believe him and hung up the phone.


This scam is a common one and a number of other people in the Keys have also been victimized in a similar fashion. The scammers always claim they have a family member and usually threaten to kill or injure that family member in order to get compliance. They also always insist the victim stay on the phone the entire time because they do not want to allow the victim to talk to anyone who might realize it is a scam. They ask that money be wired to a location outside the United States; sometimes they also ask the victims to purchase green dot or other types of cash cards as payment.

April 29, 2016

Cleaning up in Key Largo

 Deputies Jason Keith and Debbi Johnson say there is no job too big or too small - if it needs to be done they do it. On the left, they noticed an obscured stop sign at Atlantic Boulevard and Caribbean Drive in Key Largo and took time to cut back bushes so it could be seen. On the right, Deputy Johnson noticed a broken bottle while handling a hit and run accident at Tradewind’s Plaza in Key Largo. She took the time to stop and pick it up so no one would be injured stepping on it.

Town hall meetings went well

Crime Prevention town hall meetings in the Lower Keys, Marathon and in Key Largo were successful; newly trained Crime Prevention Specialists talked to members of the public about how to prevent crime and ow to make their homes and businesses safer and more secure. Here are pictures of the Lower Keys event, on the left, and the Key Largo event.

Two migrant landings in the Keys

Sheriff’s deputies were at the scene of two Cuban migrant landings today.

This morning, at about 5 a.m. Sheriff’s dispatchers received a report from Harry Harris Park in Tavernier of a group of Cuban migrants by the boat ramp in the subdivision. When deputies arrived, they found 12 Cuban males in good condition, slightly dehydrated. Customs and Border Protection officers responded, taking custody of the men. The 15 foot long boat they arrived in was near the dock by the boat ramp.

At 11 a.m. Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call reporting a group of Cuban migrants on a small island offshore of Geiger Key. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded and transported a deputy to the island; the group of 7 men on the island were brought to shore. They were in good condition and were held until CBP could respond to take custody of them.

In the pictures: Deputy Luis Sanchez stands with the group of 12 migrants who arrived in Tavernier in a 15 foot boat. Deputy Aaron Roddy is shown on a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission vessel bringing 7 Cuban migrants to shore on Geiger Key at 11 a.m. Thanks to Deputy Deanna Torres and Deputy Josh Gordon for sharing the pictures with us.


April 28, 2016

Next week is National Correctional Officers and Employees Week

Next week – May 1st to the 7th - our agency and others across the nation will take time out to recognize the employees working in our detention facilities in Monroe County. Next week is National Correctional Officers and Employees Week.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation creating this special week. Employees working in detention facilities have a difficult job. They are charged with working in a truly stressful environment and at the same time, ensuring the custody, safety and well-being of those under their care.

Please join the Sheriff’s Office in thanking all of our Corrections deputies and employees for their hard work and dedication.

Learn about Crime Prevention in Key Largo!

Don't forget, if you are in the Upper Keys, we are having a crime prevention town hall meeting at the Murray Nelson Building tonight at 6 p.m. Stop by, meet your local deputies and learn something about crime prevention!

April 26, 2016

List of found / abandoned property

Here is a list list of found or abandoned property. The Sheriff's Office has exhausted all other avenues for finding the owners, so thank you to all of you for taking a look at this current list to see if you know who these items might belong to. If you know, please contact one of our Property offices and refer to the Offense # associated with the item.

April 25, 2016

Detectives look for help identifying theft suspects

Sheriff’s detectives are releasing surveillance photos and video of suspects who stole a large number of expensive razor blades from Walgreens on Big Pine Key. The same suspects are believed to have stolen razor blades from a CVS Pharmacy in Key Largo earlier in the day.

video
Deputy Donald Stullken responded to the Walgreens on Big Pine Key the morning of April 21st. He met with the manager who confirmed there had been a theft from her store on April 18th – the same day as the theft in the Upper Keys. Surveillance photos showed two adult males, an adult female and a male child enter the store. The female reportedly distracted the clerk in the cosmetics section of the store; the clerk said every time she tried to leave to continue working, the female would ask another question, apparently to keep her busy. In the surveillance footage, one of the adult males appears to be keeping watch on the section of the store that has the razor blades. He also engages two employees in conversation, perhaps to distract them. The other adult male and the boy go to the razor .

Employees later found the suspects had accessed the locked plastic box which holds all the razor blade packages; this container requires a magnetic key to open. They removed packages of razors and then opened the packages. They left behind the empty plastic packaging. One adult male is seen leaving the store with the boy in front of him; it appears he is walking stiffly and is using the boy to hide behind as if he placed the stolen razors in his pants.

The group stole over $1,100 worth of Gillette Fusion razor blades from the Big Pine store. Almost $500 worth of razors were taken from a CVS store at the 99 mile marker  of the highway.

The video and pictures depict the three suspects and the young boy. In the video you will see:

One male suspect walks in the store with the boy. The male suspect is wearing a light colored short sleeved t-shirt, dark pants, dark shoes with a Nike logo and no hat. You will notice he has no problem walking, does not appear to limp or have stiffness in his legs.

He is followed by the female suspect with her hair pulled back and a headband, possibly pink in color. She has on a shirt with dark colored arms, mid length, and a white colored body. She is followed by another male suspect who is wearing a yellow collared shirt, a baseball style hat, long pants and black and white colored shoes.

The male suspect with the boy disappear from video for a while. When they reappear, the male suspect is hugging the boy from the back and walking stiffly, as if he has something stuffed into his pants. They walk around a bit, join up with the female suspect where they appear to look at merchandise, eventually leaving the store.


Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office at 305-745-3184 and ask for Detective Diane Mimosa. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Explorers say thanks to dispatchers

Explorer Post 906 paid a visit to our Marathon Communications Center and delivered cupcakes and roses in appreciation for all those valuable members do for the agency.

Bomb threat joint exercise

This group, from the Sheriff’s Office, Navy and Coast Guard, trained together last week in a full scale bomb threat assessment and response exercise. The name says it all. Great work and thanks for keeping us safe with your hard work!

Donations to Seacamp

The folks at Seacamp on Big Pine Key were very grateful that Sgt. David Smith thought of them when he heard about all this fishing equipment from Director Diane O’Dell in our Property Division. Also among the items donated from our property division was a telescope found abandoned on the side of the road. All the items will be used for their various educational programs for kids.

Cleaning up in Marathon

Middle Keys Deputy Aaron Coller has been busy painting out graffiti and cleaning up trash in the Marathon area. Great job, Deputy Coller!

Reminder: Crime Prevention Town Hall meetings, Lower Keys, Marathon and Key Largo

The Sheriff’s Office is holding a series of town hall meetings in various areas of the Florida Keys to discuss with the public tactics for preventing crime.

At these meetings, trained Crime Prevention Specialists will talk about simple strategies for preventing crime and keeping yourself from becoming a victim.

Upcoming meetings:

·       Lower Keys, Sugarloaf Fire Station, Monday April 25th at 6:30 p.m.
·       Middle Keys, Marathon Airport – Sheriff’s Office Hanger classroom, Tuesday April 26th at 6:30 p.m.
·       Upper Keys, Murray Nelson Building, Thursday April 28th at 6 p.m.

Anyone with questions can contact their local Sheriff’s Office substation:

Lower Keys: Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key, 305-745-3184
Middle Keys: Marathon Sheriff’s Substation, 305-289-2430

Tavernier / Key Largo: Roth Building on Plantation Key, 305-853-3211

April 21, 2016

Two charged with drugs after search warrant

A search warrant was served Wednesday evening at a Marathon resort. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit served the warrant at the Blackfin Resort and Marina, located at 4650 Overseas Highway, Room-16, in Marathon. Inside the room Detectives found several occupants including 42 year old Shayon Bryant of Marathon, 30 year-old Jessica L. Frederick of Miami and two young children. 

The search of the room turned up approximately eleven grams of Crack Cocaine, eleven grams of Heroin, five grams of Marijuana, over a dozen Alprazolam (Xanax) pills, drug paraphernalia and over eight hundred dollars of possible drug proceeds. Bryant was charged with possession of Cocaine with the intent to sell, Heroin Trafficking, possession of Heroin with the intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence, and child neglect. Bryant was also arrested on an active arrest warrant for Violation of Probation with an underlying charge of sale of ecstasy.

Frederick was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and child neglect. Both were booked into the Marathon jail.

Bird Rescue

This gull was apparently not feeling well this morning. It was found sitting in the middle of the highway at the 12 mile marker by Deputy Josh Gordon. He picked it up and drove it to the Key West Wildlife Rescue operation at Indigenous Park on White Street. You've done your good deed for the day, Josh!

April 20, 2016

Crime Prevention Town Hall meeting, Marathon

The Sheriff’s Office will hold a town hall meeting in Marathon to talk about crime prevention. The meeting will take place at the Sheriff’s Office Hanger classroom at the Marathon Airport on Tuesday, April 26th at 6:30 p.m.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay says he is happy to announce a new phase in his program to make the county a better, cleaner and safer place for our residents and visitors. Six of his officers have been formally trained as Crime Prevention Specialists and, over coming months, they will be implementing a number of programs aimed at both residential and business crime prevention.

During the first phase of the new crime prevention initiative, there will be town meetings held in various areas of the Keys.

Residents who attend will meet the new Crime Prevention Specialists in their area, who will discuss strategies for making the community safer, including offering hands-on security surveys of businesses and residences.

In coming months, these trained specialists will be offering security surveys county-wide to anyone who requests one. They will also be pro-actively visiting specific businesses and making suggestions about how to make each property safer.

Some crime prevention strategies might include removing large signs or displays from front windows so the interior of the business is more visible; making sure surveillance cameras and alarm systems are in good operating condition; installing secure locks on doors and windows and checking lighting outside after dark.

The trained specialists will also be concentrating on the prevention of certain types of crimes which are of particular concern in Monroe County. They will be tackling the prevention of vehicle burglaries, marine related thefts, bicycle safety, fraud and identity theft.

“We all need to work together as a community to tackle these issues,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We would much rather spend time with a business owner or resident helping them to prevent a crime from taking place than to respond to a crime after the fact. This is a very safe place to live, work and play but together we can make it even safer.”

Anyone who wishes to request a security survey of their home or business can call their local Sheriff’s Office substation and request one. Someone will do an on-site visit and make suggestions for improving safety and security. Another aim of this program is to encourage neighborhoods to get together and organize Crime Watches in the county. If you are interested in organizing such a group in your neighborhood, contact your local Sheriff’s Office substation.

Lower Keys: Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key, 305-745-3184
Middle Keys: Marathon Sheriff’s Substation, 305-289-2430
Islamorada: Islamorada Sheriff’s Substation, 305-664-6480

Tavernier / Key Largo: Roth Building on Plantation Key, 305-853-3211

April 18, 2016

Seat belts save lives

Sergeant Sheila Seago wants to remind everyone that wearing a seat belt can save your life! She took this photo at the scene of a rollover crash on County Road 905 in Key Largo on Saturday afternoon. The driver walked away from the crash without injury due to wearing a seat belt.

Deputy looks for help identifying purse theft suspect


Update on this investigation: Detectives in Marathon have closed the investigation into an alleged purse theft at Subway Restaurant in Marathon. Upon further review of the case, they say it is not possible to determine whether or not money was actually taken from the purse. At this point, unless further information is uncovered regarding the incident, there will be no charges in connection with this case.

Sheriff’s Deputy James Pettorini is looking for help identifying a man who stole a girl’s purse from the Subway Restaurant in Marathon.

A 15 year old girl was eating at the restaurant and accidentally left the purse there on March 17th just before 3 p.m. When she returned, it was gone. The man who stole it later turned it in to BB&T bank. Everything was in the purse except $80 in cash.

Video footage from Subway shows the man who appears to be a white male in his 40s, medium height and build with dark blonde or light brown hair. He is wearing a lime green shirt with a blue logo on it and blue jeans. In the video, he picks up the purse and hides it with his belongings before leaving the restaurant.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact Deputy Pettorini at 305-289-2430. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.tipsubmit.com.

Burglary suspect caught by video

A burglary suspect was arrested after a video camera at a Key Largo residence caught him stealing fishing rods and reels.

Deputy Bryan Cross was called to a home on 7th Lane in Key Largo on April 2nd. The homeowner had returned after several days away and found the window on a storage shed broken and a number of rods and reels missing from inside.

A security camera on the property caught the burglary and gave a clear picture of the man who committed the crime as well as the vehicle he was traveling in. Detective Bob Dosh was assigned to investigate.

Detective Dosh was aware of another burglary being investigated in which a possible suspect, 55 year old Billy Costner of Key Largo, had been questioned. He recognized Costner as the person in this video stealing the rods and reels. He confirmed the identification with the detective investigating the other case.


A warrant was obtained for Costner and on April 16th he was arrested. He was charged with burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief and he was booked into jail. The other burglary case is still under investigation.

Burglary suspect caught by video

A Tavernier man is in jail after a home surveillance system caught him stealing rods and reels from a storage shed at a Key Largo residence.

Deputy Titus Hodges responded to a home on South Ocean Shores Drive in Key Largo March 19th. The homeowner wanted to report over $5,000 worth of rods and reels and a power drill stolen from his storage shed. He told the deputy he knew the man who stole his property.

The victim said he had hired someone to do work on his property. He said the man he hired had hired a helper, 48 year old Sergio Yero. When he found his property missing, the victim reviewed footage from his surveillance camera. On the video, he saw Yero breaking a lock on the shed, taking his property from the shed and putting it into a black Chevrolet truck.


A warrant was issued for Yero and on Sunday he was arrested. He was booked into jail on charges of burglary and grand theft.

Stock Island man charged with marijuana

A Stock Island man was arrested Saturday afternoon on multiple charges including possession of over 100 grams of marijuana.

Traffic Deputy Greg Korzen was on patrol at 1 p.m. when he saw a silver Chevrolet Impala on Fourth Avenue, Stock Island. The car was driving erratically, weaving and crossing the center line of the roadway. Deputy Korzen also noticed one of the brake lights was not working, so he pulled behind the vehicle. The vehicle stopped in a nearby parking lot and the deputy pulled in behind it.

As Deputy Korzen approached the vehicle he could smell an odor he recognized as marijuana. The driver had no driver’s license and said he had just purchased the car and had not yet registered it. He said he was driving erratically because the steering mechanism was in “bad shape” and needed repair. He said he’d put his girlfriend’s license plate on the car in order to drive it to the store.

A search of the vehicle turned up four plastic bags in the trunk; in each bag were 50 buds of marijuana. The marijuana weighed 103 grams.


The driver, Clifford Leconte, was arrested. He was charged with possessing a felony amount of the illegal substance. He was also charged with possessing drug paraphernalia after rolling papers were found in the car. He was cited for attaching a tag not assigned to the vehicle, failing to exhibit a driver’s license, having no proof of insurance and driving his vehicle in an unsafe condition.

Crime Prevention Town Hall meeting, Key Largo

The Sheriff’s Office will hold a town hall meeting in Key Largo to talk about crime prevention. The meeting will take place at the Murray Nelson Building on Thursday, April 28th at 6 p.m.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay says he is happy to announce a new phase in his program to make the county a better, cleaner and safer place for our residents and visitors. Six of his officers have been formally trained as Crime Prevention Specialists and, over coming months, they will be implementing a number of programs aimed at both residential and business crime prevention.

During the first phase of the new crime prevention initiative, there will be town meetings held in various areas of the Keys.

Residents who attend will meet the new Crime Prevention Specialists in their area, who will discuss strategies for making the community safer, including offering hands-on security surveys of businesses and residences.

In coming months, these trained specialists will be offering security surveys county-wide to anyone who requests one. They will also be pro-actively visiting specific businesses and making suggestions about how to make each property safer.

Some crime prevention strategies might include removing large signs or displays from front windows so the interior of the business is more visible; making sure surveillance cameras and alarm systems are in good operating condition; installing secure locks on doors and windows and checking lighting outside after dark.

The trained specialists will also be concentrating on the prevention of certain types of crimes which are of particular concern in Monroe County. They will be tackling the prevention of vehicle burglaries, marine related thefts, bicycle safety, fraud and identity theft.

“We all need to work together as a community to tackle these issues,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We would much rather spend time with a business owner or resident helping them to prevent a crime from taking place than to respond to a crime after the fact. This is a very safe place to live, work and play but together we can make it even safer.”

Anyone who wishes to request a security survey of their home or business can call their local Sheriff’s Office substation and request one. Someone will do an on-site visit and make suggestions for improving safety and security. Another aim of this program is to encourage neighborhoods to get together and organize Crime Watches in the county. If you are interested in organizing such a group in your neighborhood, contact your local Sheriff’s Office substation.

Lower Keys: Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key, 305-745-3184
Middle Keys: Marathon Sheriff’s Substation, 305-289-2430
Islamorada: Islamorada Sheriff’s Substation, 305-664-6480
Tavernier / Key Largo: Roth Building on Plantation Key, 305-853-3211


Crime Prevention Town Hall meeting, Lower Keys

The Sheriff’s Office will hold a town hall meeting in the Lower Keys to talk about crime prevention. The meeting will take place at the Sugarloaf Fire Station, Monday, April 25th at 6:30 p.m.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay says he is happy to announce a new phase in his program to make the county a better, cleaner and safer place for our residents and visitors. Six of his officers have been formally trained as Crime Prevention Specialists and, over coming months, they will be implementing a number of programs aimed at both residential and business crime prevention.

During the first phase of the new crime prevention initiative, there will be town meetings held in various areas of the Keys.

Residents who attend will meet the new Crime Prevention Specialists in their area, who will discuss strategies for making the community safer, including offering hands-on security surveys of businesses and residences.

In coming months, these trained specialists will be offering security surveys county-wide to anyone who requests one. They will also be pro-actively visiting specific businesses and making suggestions about how to make each property safer.

Some crime prevention strategies might include removing large signs or displays from front windows so the interior of the business is more visible; making sure surveillance cameras and alarm systems are in good operating condition; installing secure locks on doors and windows and checking lighting outside after dark.

The trained specialists will also be concentrating on the prevention of certain types of crimes which are of particular concern in Monroe County. They will be tackling the prevention of vehicle burglaries, marine related thefts, bicycle safety, fraud and identity theft.

“We all need to work together as a community to tackle these issues,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We would much rather spend time with a business owner or resident helping them to prevent a crime from taking place than to respond to a crime after the fact. This is a very safe place to live, work and play but together we can make it even safer.”

Anyone who wishes to request a security survey of their home or business can call their local Sheriff’s Office substation and request one. Someone will do an on-site visit and make suggestions for improving safety and security. Another aim of this program is to encourage neighborhoods to get together and organize Crime Watches in the county. If you are interested in organizing such a group in your neighborhood, contact your local Sheriff’s Office substation.

Lower Keys: Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key, 305-745-3184
Middle Keys: Marathon Sheriff’s Substation, 305-289-2430
Islamorada: Islamorada Sheriff’s Substation, 305-664-6480
Tavernier / Key Largo: Roth Building on Plantation Key, 305-853-3211


April 15, 2016

Explorers at Boot Camp

 Explorers traveled to Camp Blanding for boot camp this past weekend. They trained in traffic stops, building searches, land navigation and in leadership skills.  Stephen Normington, Tyler Callahan and Ellis Speagle all took home awards and everyone did very well at the event.

Cleaning up on Stock Island!

Deputies Lazaro Valdes and Freddy Rodriguez continue their efforts to improve Stock Island with this clean up on 11th Avenue. Thanks to Monroe County Public Works for the help!

Graffiti eradication in Islamorada

Sergeants Eric Mixon and Bobby Burkett spent time this week eliminating graffiti found in Islamorada.

Big Pine man charged with exposing himself on the beach

Sheriff’s detectives charged a Big Pine Key man Thursday with exposing himself and fondling himself at Coco Plum Beach in Marathon Thursday.

In response to complaints about nudity and inappropriate sexual acts in public in the area, detectives were at Coco Plum Beach Thursday afternoon when they saw 51 year old Guy Lovering lying on the beach wearing only a straw hat on his head. A short time later, they observed him fondling himself.


Lovering was charged with exposure of sexual organs and was issued a notice to appear in court on the charge.

April 11, 2016

Teen charged with burglary at campground

A Miami teen staying at an Upper Keys campground was arrested after he was caught on camera burglarizing the housekeeping building at the campground.

Deputies responded to Fiesta Key Campground Saturday at 7:30 a.m. after a housekeeper noticed someone had forced the door open burglarized the building and take several items from inside. A surveillance camera showed a young man wearing shorts and sandals enter the burglarized area. He takes something from a refrigerator, then rummages around in a purse on a table inside, taking a phone charger from the purse. He is seen on video leaving the area on a distinctively styled bicycle.

Deputies Kendall Bailey and Tony Conde drove around the park and found the bike in front of a travel trailer. Inside, they found a young man who looked like the man in the video footage. The man was identified as 19 year ikd Daniel Tabares of Miami. Tabares admitted to “just going around and going into stuff” in the campground. Several bottles of beer were found next to his bed in the trailer. He said he took the beer from a campsite to drink later.


Tabares was arrested. He was charged with burglary, criminal mischief, theft and possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21. He was booked into jail.

April 8, 2016

Law Enforcement run for Special Olympics

The Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run took place today with many participants. Special thanks to Publix, a major sponsor of this event!

Explorers look sharp and perform well

The Marathon Explorer Color Guard took part in the ceremonies at the Marathon Relay for Life event this past weekend. In the photo with them is SRO Deputy Derick Velez and Deputy Dave Campbell on bagpipes.

Helping feed the needy

Members from the Detention Center turned out to help St. Mary’s Star of the Sea food program with sorting donated goods.

Highway clean up, Big Pine Key

A large group of volunteers showed up this week to clean up the highway between
mile marker 29 and mile marker 31 on Big Pine Key.

Kids Fishing Tournament on Big Pine Key coming up this month. Mark your calendars!!!


National Telecommunications Week – help us recognize these important people!

April 10th to the 16th is National Public Safety Telecommunications week and during that week, the Sheriff’s Office will be recognizing the diligence and professionalism of our Telecommunicators – Sheriff’s communications officers - who serve in our communications center in Marathon. We would like to encourage others to recognize them as well.

Our communications officers are the first ones to receive your emergency calls and what they do with those calls can often greatly influence the outcome of the event in question. The pressure and stress of the job is high, and the hard work they do every day deserves thanks from all of us.

Since 1968 911 has served as the vital link between the American public and emergency services, and it is with great pride that our highly skilled public safety communications officers who have contributed substantially to the apprehension of criminals, suppression of fires, and treatment of patients be recognized for their efforts.

“Our communications officers are a crucial part in our efforts to keep this community safe,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “They talk with people in crisis on a regular basis; they keep track of our deputies and detectives and make sure they are safe; and they do it all so well we sometimes take them for granted. This week is a time for us all to remember how hard they work, and how much they do,” he said.

Public safety agencies nationwide take one week a year - the second full week in April - to recognize the pivotal role played by telecommunicators, dispatchers, communications operators, communications officers, radio control personnel - ALL those people, by whatever job title, who utilize telephones, radios, computers and technical skill to provide support to law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services and other governmental field personnel.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office would like everyone to take a little time to think about the crucial role played by our Sheriff's Office communications officers. They handle thousands of phone calls, dispatch deputies, firefighters and paramedics and do their utmost to keep the public safe as they perform one of the most stressful positions in law enforcement. Anyone who wishes to do something to recognize these hard working individuals can email the director of the division, Lt. Charlene Sprinkle-Huff at csprinkle@keysso.net.

In honor of these dedicated men and women, here is a review of the rules to follow when you call 911 to report a crime or emergency:

The 911 System

911 is an emergency response service provided by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to assist the citizens of our county with receiving law enforcement, fire, and ambulance service during times of crisis. Sheriff’s Office communications officers answer special emergency phone lines 24 hours a day so the citizens of Monroe County may receive help as expeditiously as possible. The Sheriff's Office answers these emergency phone lines for Monroe County, the cities of Marathon, Islamorada and Key Colony Beach as well as for Firefighters and ambulances in those areas.

Sheriff's Office communications officers also answer non- emergency calls on regular phone lines. Obviously, someone in a crisis situation will get assistance prior to someone calling with a non-emergency situation.

When Should You call 911?

911 Emergency calls should be made only in cases such as a crime in progress, a fire, a medical emergency, or a similar immediately threatening case. A possible 911 situation can involve something you see - a burglar breaking in to a neighbor’s house, a fire, an automobile accident. It can also involve what you hear - a woman screaming or yelling "Don’t hit me again," gunfire, an explosion or glass breaking. Also, a reckless or suspected drunk driver is always a 911 call. They’re potential killers not only of themselves, but of innocent bystanders as well.

Before you call, gather as many facts as you can under the circumstances and write them down so you won’t forget them. Take a second look - a minute gathering more complete information may be worth the delay. If you are describing a person, include the race of the person, whether it is a male or a female, what the person is wearing, the color of his or her hair and any other outstanding characteristics. With a car description, a tag number is great if you can get it, and a report that the vehicle had a ladder on top or a dented left front fender is more useful than simply describing the vehicle as a "white van".

The job of the communications officer is to gather as much pertinent information relative to the situation as possible and to keep you on the phone if at all possible. This action better prepares deputies coming to your aid.

What to expect when you call 911

When you call 911 emergency lines, one of the first things you will be asked is "Is this an emergency?” This question is a necessary one because unfortunately, some people do call 911 for non-emergencies.

Communications officers must often deal with 911 calls for directions, weather conditions or traffic information. This misuse of 911 is unacceptable, and has the potential of delaying true emergency calls.

Once it is established you do have an emergency situation, the communications officer will ask you a series of questions in an effort to get enough information so he/she can send the proper assistance to you as soon as possible. Try to answer the questions as calmly and clearly as possible. Help will be sent to you right away, and the more cooperative you are over the phone, the faster help will arrive. When you call 911 from a regular phone line, a computerized system will automatically tell the communications officer your address and phone number. If you are calling from a cellular phone, you will need to tell the officer where you are. The officer will continue to talk with you after help has been dispatched to you. The longer he/she can keep you on the phone and the more information that can be relayed to the responding deputy, ambulance or fire truck, the better and safer the situation is.

Communications officers in Monroe County are trained in emergency medical dispatching. This means if you have a medical emergency, the communications officer will be able to assist you with initial treatment steps, such as performing CPR, the Heimlich maneuver for choking victims, or other common medical emergencies.

Misuse of the 911 Emergency system

Unfortunately a substantial number of 911 calls received by MCSO communications officers are not of an emergency nature. If you are reporting a non-emergency situation such as a suspicious person, a previously stolen bike or a dog continually barking, 911 is not the proper number to call. The Sheriff’s Office offers non-emergency phone numbers for the reporting of such calls. Your call will still be handled appropriately, but this will allow true emergencies to be handled first.

Let me re-emphasize: 911 is for emergency calls only and is not equipped to answer questions, give directions, weather forecasts or road conditions. How would you like it if you had a real emergency and someone else was tying up the communications officer asking where the closest post office is?

To report a non-emergency call, the following phone number may be called 24 hours a day: 305-289-2351.


April 6, 2016

Minor incident, Key West airport

Small float / sea plane involved in a minor crash at the Key West Airport just before 6 p.m. Initial reports are one pilot and 10 passengers on board. They are being evaluated but injuries are reported to be very minor. The airport tarmac is currently closed until the situation can be resolved. The Florida Highway Patrol is being notified and will be the agency assigned to investigate the initial circumstances of the crash.

Seven Mile Bridge Run will impact traffic

On Saturday, April 9th the Seven Mile Bridge Run will shut down traffic both north and south for two and a half hours at the Seven Mile Bridge. Travelers should plan to be across the bridge by 6:30 a.m. to avoid being stuck on one side or the other. Traffic flow will resume at 9 a.m., but usually takes at least an hour after that to get back to normal flow.

April 5, 2016

Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run coming up

The annual Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run is set for this Friday, April 8th at 9 a.m. It will start at the Florida Keys Community College Public Safety Building on Stock Island at 9 a.m.

Local law enforcement agencies and members of the community will run in a group through the streets of Key West carrying the Special Olympics torch in a kick off to the Florida State Special Olympics games.

Runners will meet at the FKCC campus Friday morning, with the run kicking off at 9 a.m. The group of runners will be stopping to meet and greet Monroe County School children and Special Olympics athletes. Stops will include:

                 Gerald Adams Elementary School
                 Sheriff’s Office Headquarters Building, Stock Island
                 Publix Supermarket in Key Plaza (Publix is a major contributor to Special Olympics)
                 Poinciana Elementary School
                 Key Wet High School
                 HOB School
                 Glenn Archer School
                 MARC House

There will be a ceremonial “hand-off” of the torch from the Sheriff’s Office to Key West Police at the Southernmost Point, and the run will then continue to Mallory Square where it ends.

There will be water stops at all the schools and the pace will be slow – no faster than 10 minute miles. Runners can choose to run the entire time, or just select legs of the journey. Support vehicles will accompany the runners.

Anyone can register to participate in the run by contacting Jim Painter at jpainter@keysso.net or 305-292-7027 or Jo Socha jsocha@keysso.net or 305-292-7042. Jo also has T-shirts for purchase before the run or on the day of the run.

Thanks to Publix for being a major sponsor of the Torch Run and of Special Olympics.


April 3, 2016

Ramrod man charged with machete threats

A Ramrod Key man was arrested Friday evening for threatening his ex-girlfriend with a machete.

The suspect, 56 year old Kevin Smith and the victim still live together on St. Lucie Lane, Ramrod Key. According to the victim, she and her two girlfriends went to dinner and Smith joined them. She said they all eventually returned to the house on St. Lucie Lane where Smith was acting strangely.

She said Smith started a bonfire behind the house. She said it got too big, so she began to use a hose to put the fire out. She told Deputy Wendy Negron that is when Smith grabbed a machete and began to swing it at her, making threatening and aggressive comments.

She and her two friends retreated into a downstairs room and locked the door. They called 911 for help as he was hitting the door and the outside wall with the machete.


When deputies arrived at 8:20 p.m. they found Smith still on the scene. They found the machete and  damage to the door and wall consistent with the victim’s story. Both the victim and her two girlfriends all told the deputy what happened. Smith was arrested. He was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and he was taken to jail.

April 1, 2016

Painting the Lion's Club


Basic Law Enforcement Academy 60 helped to spruce up the Lion’s Club building in Key West. Here they are giving it a face lift with a little paint. Great job!

Learning about law

Sgt. Jennifer Torres with a large group of AVID students who visited the courthouse to learn about the judicial system and court security.

Safe car seat installation

Florida Keys Healthy Start Coalition sent a letter thanking SRO Deputy Dave Stark for his help as a trained and certified car seat technician. Here he is making sure this car seat is installed properly.

Clean up in Key Largo

The Sheriff's Office and Monroe County worked together today to clean up an area behind the Salvation Army at the 100 mile marker in Key Largo. Here are some pictures, taken by Sgt. Tom Kiffney, of the effort!



Pawn shops in compliance, Lower Keys

Lower Keys sheriff’s detectives and the KWPD Criminal investigative unit work together to conduct quarterly pawn shop inspections to ensure compliance with state laws. The most recent inspection took place on March 30, 2016.  There were no violations found.

Detectives inspected each business for the following:

1.      Current emergency contact information, scale inspection sticker (precious metal weighing), business license.
2.      Each pawn shop was audited on three Regional Automated Property Information Database (RAPID) transaction forms to verify all information was correctly filled out, including the name of item, description, serial number, model number, gem stone description if applicable.
3.      Several items in each business are pulled from inventory to verify the paperwork associated with each item was correct.
Pawn shops must have a 30 day hold on any items pawned or purchased by the store.  All items are required to be entered into the RAPID program per Florida State Statue.  The RAPID computerized system allows investigators to check pawn shop inventories against property that is reported stolen in criminal cases. Investigators complete inspections every quarter to make sure the pawn shops are in compliance.    

No violations were found on the following businesses in the Lower Keys:

Key West Liquid 8 Pawn Shop
Real Deal Pawn Shop
Key West Pawn Shop
Florida Keys Jewelry and Pawn
Southernmost Pawn Shop
Jeff’s Gems
Blue Sophia Jewelry
Molly’s Pawn Shop

Paradise Recycling

Detective seeks identity of burglary suspects

Sheriff’s Detective David Brummer needs help identifying two suspects captured on video committing a business burglary on Big Pine Key Tuesday evening.

Surveillance cameras at M & M Automotive on Avenue A, Big Pine Key shows the two men just after 7 p.m. walking around outside the business near vending machines and near some tires stored outside. They removed a key from a scooter stored at the business. They appear to be looking at tires perhaps to find a specific size. The business reported the key missing along with two tires and rims.

videoAnyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff's Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a Crimestoppers tip leads to an arrest, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crimestoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may be made anonymously on line at www.tipsubmit.com.