Community Relations Division............................................................................June  2004 Edition



Sheriff Roth met with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in May
to show her the site of the new upper Keys Sheriff's Office substation on Plantation Key.

Sheriff's Report:

Proposed Budget available for viewing

With June's arrival, we always tackle two difficult subjects here at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office: hurricanes and the budget process. Last month, I talked about hurricanes. This month. I'll say a few words about our proposed budget.

The detailed budget proposal is posted on our web site for those of you who wish to look at it in its entirety, so I'll just hit the important points. In synopsis, our proposed budget for fiscal year 2004-2005 is as follows:

The total proposed Public Safety Budget for the year is $39,234,686 which represents an increase of $3,081,724 over the currently approved Public Safety Budget. This increase is primarily due to a salary increase for employees which will begin to allow us to catch up with salaries offered by other law enforcement agencies in Monroe County, and in adjacent South Florida counties. Click here to download the complete proposed budget in Adobe Acrobat Reader format.

We lose employees on a continuous basis because they cannot afford to live in the Keys, and are offered higher salaries elsewhere, in areas which have a lower cost of living. As a matter of fact, in a study we did in April of this year comparing our starting salary for law enforcement and corrections officers with 77 other South Florida departments, we ranked 64th on the list with a starting salary of $31,683.00. Our neighbors in the Key West Police Department ranked 23rd, with a starting salary of $37,378.00. So you can see why we have trouble attracting and keeping employees and why we must work to increase our salaries starting now. Click here to see the complete list of all 77 law enforcement agencies' starting salaries.

This year, we have been in negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police, the union which represents most of our certified law enforcement and detention officers. In cooperation with them, we have decided to ask the County Commission for the following salary increases for our employees:

  • 10.25% salary increase for law enforcement and corrections personnel. This increase is based on a proposal presented by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) during collective bargaining contract negotiations. The FOP represents certified law enforcement and corrections personnel.
  • 10.25% salary increase for law enforcement and corrections commanders who supervise the bargaining unit, as well as other certified staff that are excluded from the unit. I have also included communications officers in this group given the critical nature of their function.
  • 6.8% salary increase for all non-certified support staff.

The proposed budget also includes the following increases:

  • An increase in personnel to allow the Sheriff’s Office to sponsor a law enforcement academy at the community college. The budget has been increased $131,919 to accommodate this academy.
  • Increased operating costs which are primarily the result of increases in inmate medical and food contracts, gasoline, utilities, aviation, and fleet maintenance expenses. The increase in these line items totals $813,270.

If you have any questions about this proposed budget, you can send me email at rickroth@keysso.net and I'd be happy to answer them.

Take care, and stay safe.  

 


General News:

Employees of the First Quarter

Click here for pictures of the Employees of the Quarter, and Service Awards

Recently, the Sheriff’s Staff met and took into consideration those nominations for Officer/Member of the Quarter that were submitted for the First Quarter of 2004. As a result of this consideration the following members were selected:

SWORN : Deputy Paul Schultz has always been a top performer in Sector I, as the actions he took on February 19th demonstrate. While patrolling Stock Island, Deputy Schultz observed a person riding a motorcycle without a license tag. He followed the subject into the parking lot of the Stock Island apartment complex, and observed him move behind a parked car where he quickly took an item out of his pocket and placed it behind the passenger rear tire. The suspect had just thrown down 35 baggies of cocaine (23 grams) and marijuana (7 grams). The subject subsequently fled on foot and slammed a metal gate on Deputy Schultz's hand as he pursued. Deputy Schultz continued anyway and captured the suspect. Because of these actions, Deputy Schultz continues to remove drug dealers from the area, and improve the quality of life for the citizens in his community.

CORRECTIONS: Detention Deputy Alesha Ensminger has been at the Marathon Facility for about a year and within that time, she has demonstrated outstanding leadership. The Marathon Facility experienced a shortage of supervisors several months ago. During that time, supervisors were shifted around to best accommodate the facility. No one was willing to accept the responsibility of Officer in Charge (OIC) on her shift. Officer Ensminger ended up running her own shift, which was short staffed. Since taking on the responsibilities, she has shown true professionalism and dedication to the job and the agency. Her remarkable ability when dealing with emotional and violent inmates is admirable.

Officer Ensminger sees through situations and possible outcomes and then uses good judgment when making decisions. One might say this sounds like a normal routine, well it is, but you must remember this officer has less than two years experience. Her supervisory skills have been consistent and stalwart. She is known for her dedication and knowledge of the job and most of all, having faith in officers. She believes in developing people. When one of our sergeants returned from Military duty after thirteen months, she was instrumental at getting him up to speed on all aspects of operating the satellite facility.

Officer Ensminger was nominated as female Officer of the Year by the American Legion Post 154 of Marathon during the month of March 2004. We here at the Marathon Detention Facility and the Sheriff’s Office are very grateful for her generous contribution as a young leader and team spirit.

SUPPORT :  Ms. Karol Cotton wears many hats, which include coordinator and client case manager for the teen court program. She also has supervisory responsibilities and is case manager for the civil citation program. She oversees the volunteer youth council, at HOB. The HOB youth council sanctions students who violate school policies that do not rise to the level of a civil citation. She participates in their volunteer activities because the program acts as a feeder program for the teen court when the middle school kids reach high school age.

She participates regularly with several assessment teams that meet weekly to discuss, offer advice, and recommend action relative to at risk children. These include FSPT, family services planning team, SST, the Children’s Shelter Student Truancy program at Key West High School, and DJJ/IDDS, the Juvenile Justice and the Sheriff’s diversion program service planning team.

She also provides invaluable assistance to the juvenile programs supervisor and Director Greg Artman. She performs these yeomen tasks with equanimity, and without fuss, all while acting as the designated babysitter for three daughters each with a grandchild under 5 years of age and another grandchild on the way.

Ms. Cotton handles her administrative, case management, and other related duties with great care and competence. This acknowledgement is well deserved.

 RESERVE : Certified Auxiliary Reserve Sgt. Robert Jason’s continuous service to the MCSO’s Dive Team remains exemplary. At 0300 hours on Monday, February 2, 2004, Sgt. Jason responded to a dive team call-out to the site of a plane crash in Monroe County section of the Florida Everglades. He personally selected the special equipment required for that mission, loaded the dive trailer, and towed it with his POV to a relay point with a Sheriff’s Office vehicle. Upon arrival at the staffing site in Flamingo, Florida, Sgt. Jason supervised the loading of the Park Service Helicopter and flew with the equipment into the crash site, where he established a base of operations for the remainder of the team, who followed by boat and by hiking a quarter mile through difficult terrain. For the remainder of the day, Sgt. Jason participated with the team in the difficult, dangerous, and grim recovery of sufficient human remains to permit positive identification of both crash victims. He stood down only after returning to Key West and cleaning and storing the contaminated equipment shortly before midnight. This service went above and beyond his reserve responsibilities.

Again, at 1930 hours on Tuesday, March 23, 2004, Sgt. Jason responded to a dive team call-out, this time for the largest multi-agency search and recovery operation ever launched in the Florida Keys, for a Special Forces solider who had been lost in the bay during helocast operations. On his own initiative, Sgt. Jason contacted a civilian organization that had previously contributed special equipment to the Richard Roth Marine Public Safety Annex at FKCC and obtained use of a side-scan sonar that was not available through any of the military agencies involved in the operation. For the next two days, Sgt. Jason coordinated use of this equipment that served as the centerpiece of the search operation. He remained on duty through Friday morning, the 26th, when the victim’s body was recovered. The extraordinary cooperation exhibited in the use of civilian resources by law enforcement personnel for a military search and recovery operations was formally recognized by the Commanding Officer of the U.D. Army Special Forces Underwater Operations School through subsequent citations.

EXPLORER : Cadet Ryan Kruger has been with Post 905 for two years now and has had to overcome some big hurdles. He is by nature a small built young man; however, when faced with a challenge, you would think he is ten feet tall. Cadet Kruger has always been one to be first to volunteer for training, details, or whatever the Post is doing. Because of his size, we have been fearful of allowing him to park cars, as we did not want to see him injured. He proved to us that he could park cars and park more cars than the older and bigger explorers could. He would and still does run the parking lot to see where there is an empty spot and then flags the car to it. Even if it means that he stands in one spot waving his arm until the driver sees him.

Cadet Kruger has the energy of the everready bunny. He is able to make the best out of any situation and make the detail more enjoyable for all. He will make you smile and reminds us why the Explorer/ Cadet program is so important. He is a constant reminder of what pride, integrity, and guts are all about.

Kids participate in National Crime Victim's Rights Week

On Tuesday, May 25, 2004, the students at Sugarloaf Elementary were presented with Certificates of Appreciation from Sheriff Richard Roth for their participation in National Crime Victim’s Rights Week Art Exhibit.    These children gave of their time to the community to depict in multiple mediums their perception of “America’s Values.”  We should be proud of our children, and their families.

 One week is set aside each year to honor those victims, witnesses, survivors of violent crimes, as well as those individuals and agencies who give of themselves to provide for these persons. 

Cadets participate in flag raising

Sheriff's Office Cadets took part in a special ceremony commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Education, the supreme court ruling that outlawed segregation. The ceremony was held on the steps of the Monroe County Courthouse in Key West with Judge Richard Payne and the Superintendent of Schools John Padgett speaking.

From left to right: Explorer Angela Rainer, Explorer Cpl. Siramad Mercano-Diaz and Explorer Sgt. Andrea Rainer

ART BEHIND BARS GOES NATIONWIDE!

 

Art Behind Bars, the art-based community service program for inmates, is pleased to announce that it has successfully initiated a parallel program in partnership with Kershaw Correctional Institution in Kershaw, SC. Executive Director Lynne Vantriglia recently returned from South Carolina, where she conducted a four-day workshop with volunteers and inmates at the medium-security facility. The visit was made possible through a collaboration with Sunshine Smith, who lives part-time in the area and spearheaded the drive to bring in Art Behind Bars.

 

Over the course of the four days, 21 inmates and 8 volunteers were able to produce 120 Mothers’ Day cards for seniors in eldercare facilities, 42 hand-painted shirts for women and children in local shelters, 18 baby quilts for donation to at-risk infants, and artwork for an upcoming show in Kershaw for which Vantriglia will return. According to her, the inmates were thrilled to have an opportunity to contribute to their community in a positive way. “It was awesome to see it all unfold”, she said. “They were so respectful, and happy for the chance to prove they could make something beautiful and useful for others. In many cases, it is the first time in their lives they have ever done so.”

 

To facilitate the installation of the program, and in response to similar inquiries from around the country, Vantriglia has co-written a training manual with Dr. Rachel Williams from the University of Iowa, who serves as the program’s outside evaluator. As part of her visit to South Carolina, Lynne made a presentation at the Kershaw County Fine Arts Center in Camden, where more than 20 artists, educators, and mental healthcare professionals heard her describe the therapeutic benefits of giving back to the community through art. Two other prisons in the area are also interested in starting a program.

 

Now in its tenth year, Art Behind Bars has donated artwork valued at more than $54,000 to 225 different non-profit organizations locally and nationwide. In April, they produced the gallery debut of “Art After Bars” at Kate’s Gallery, showcasing the work of 14 former inmates, all of whom have re-invented themselves through art. Many of the participants were on hand to share their stories of how crossing paths with Art Behind Bars changed their lives. The program is currently looking for a location to house an ongoing “After” program that would incorporate job skills, computer training, and art workshops for former inmates transitioning back into the community, as well as gallery space to display the finished work.

 

On September 10th, Art Behind Bars will celebrate its “10th Birthday Party Show” at the Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa. Contributions of money, art supplies, or a space for Art After Bars would be gratefully appreciated and can be made by calling 304-7861, or email to info@artbehindbars.org. For more information about the program or to view the artwork, visit their website at www.artbehindbars.org.

 

The program is sponsored in part by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Arts Council, Division of Cultural Affairs, Art in Education, National Endowment of the Arts, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, and private donations.

TAX HOLIDAYS

According to the Governor's Message dated May 21, 2004 on the State of Florida's web site:

The Governor signed legislation to create a sales tax holiday from July 24th to August 4th that will save Floridians more than $90 million. Shoppers will pay no state or local option tax on most back to school items, including books and clothes costing less than $50.

Also, the sales tax on gasoline will be reduced by 8 cents per gallon during the month of August.

LOCALS MONTH - JUNE

Free admission in the month of June for residents of Monroe County to the following attractions in Key West with proof of residency (driver's license, voter registration, utility bill, or lease):

  • Harry S. Truman Little White House
  • Key West Aquarium
  • Flagler Station Overseas Highway Railway Historium
  • Key West Shipwreck Historium


Report from Sector 7

By Captain Jennifer Bell-Thomson, Commander Sector 7

Memorial Day weekend passed by safely in the upper Keys.  We attribute that to the high visibility of law enforcement in upper Key Largo the entire weekend. Not only was the sheriff’s office traffic unit available but we also conducted an overtime traffic detail to put even more marked patrol cars on the street.  An added bonus was the participation of Miami-Dade Police Department working the stretch, and additional FHP troopers working the weekend.  Our intent is to send a message early in the holiday weekend that traffic safety is a top priority for us.  The result was no traffic fatalities in the upper Keys and very few crashes. 

We are in the planning stages for celebrating National Night Out Tuesday, August 3 from 7 – 9pm at Key Largo Community Park.  This event gathers neighbors who participate in Neighborhood Crime Watch to celebrate our successes.  Anyone may attend to learn more about crime watch and its effectiveness. There will be food, music, and entertainment and information booths hosted by law enforcement, ambulance and fire/rescue groups.  Last years’ event was a huge success and we know this year will be even better.  For more information please contact Sgt. Lou Caputo or Sgt. Deb Ryan at 853-3211.


Report from Islamorada:

By Captain Joe Leiter , Station Commander, Sector 6

The big event in Islamorada this month was of course Hospitality Expo, formerly Bartender's Week, at Holiday Isle.  We had lots of help from both inside the Sheriff's Office and from other agencies, including the Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Coast Guard. It has grown to be such a big event we needed all the help we could get. At one point, there was a waiting list for prisoners to be booked at the Sheriff's Office Command Post. 

 There were an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people in and around Holiday Isle, 800-1000 boats at the sandbar and Whale Harbor Channel, and lots of partying everywhere.  But thanks to all the help, and large police presence,  no one was seriously injured or killed. 

 The final numbers were:  MCSO & FWC...57 Calls for Service, 560 vessel stops/boardings, 48 arrests, 17 Boating Under the Influence by FWC (great job!), 8 Marchman Act detentions of intoxicated persons, 1 Battery on LEO and various arrests for trespassing, disorderly conduct, disorderly intoxication and domestic violence.  Also 133 boating citations were issued.US Coast Guard:  480 vessel spot checks for safety, registration, and loading violations; 25 vessel citations, 10 terminated voyages; and 4 BUI suspects turned over to FWC. 


County News

State and County conduct hurricane Zane Exercise

Florida State Emergency Response Team (SERT) conducted this year's hurricane exercise, "Hurricane ZANE", at the Monroe County Government building in Marathon this week. Monroe County's Office of Emergency Management participated in the four (4) day drill, along with other local departments, agencies and organizations.

The scenario for this year’s drill was a MAJOR HURRICANE making landfall in the Keys and then traveling up the West Coast of Florida as a Major Hurricane. Damage from such a storm would be severe to catastrophic. Additionally, due to the exit path of the storm, assistance from elsewhere in the State would not be readily available.

The "Hurricane Zane" simulated storm gave State and local agencies the opportunity to test response capabilities and train new personnel. Monroe County Emergency Management staff activated the EOC in preparation for implementing a phased mandatory evacuation of the entire Keys, as part of the exercise.

Hurricane season begins June 1,  now is a good time to prepare for the fast approaching hurricane season. For more information visit the County website http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov

Senior Director of Monroe County Emergency Management Billy Wagner, presents to Hurricane Zane Exercise participates storm surge levels throughout the Keys during category 5 hurricane.
Photo By Jonathan Weinshank/Monroe County

Commissioners Celebrate Earth Day: Grand Opening of Reef Relief’s Reef World

Monroe County Commissioners David Rice, Dixie Spehar, and Sonny McCoy participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of Reef World, Reef Relief’s new educational facility at the Historic Seaport in Key West. The Commissioners, pictured here with Montessori Elementary Charter School students and other on lookers attended the open house to celebrate Earth Day and the grand opening of the new Reef World facility.

Local artist Ray Rolston created a unique underwater feeling for the new space with life-like pictures of fish, corals and vivid re-creations of coral reef ecosystems with explanatory text line the walls. A video viewing area, a DVD studio, an interactive computer station, an activity area that includes reef games and other activities for children, an information and reference library for adults, and a classroom area for presentations combine to make Reef World a powerful and enjoyable educational experience for students, scientists and local and visiting groups. Reef World will benefit individuals of all ages who are interested in discovering the wonders of our magical underwater world that are unique to Monroe County.

“We’ve moved our gift shop into what was a small classroom on the boardwalk and have converted the former gift shop at the foot of William Street into a larger classroom and public education facility to learn about coral reefs,” noted Reef Relief’s DeeVon Quirolo.

For more information please contact Reef Relief at 294-3100 or email Reef Relief at reef@bellsouth.net.

Employee of the Month Awards

The BOCC presented several Employee of the Month awards at their recent April meeting.

Dan Adams, was named Employee of the Month December 2003. Adams started working for Monroe County April 11, 1996 after serving seven years in the United States Coast Guard. He began as an entry-level mechanic and has since worked his way up to Chief Mechanic at the Fleet Management garage in Key West. Dan is well known for his dependability, professionalism and helpful nature. He has been complemented by the County's Road Department, Sheriff's Office and others for his skilled mechanic work and other types of assistance with generators, small buses, off-road equipment, etc. He is a member of the Fifth Street Baptist Church in Key West and is currently working on his Bachelor's Degree in Ministry. He spends many volunteer hours involved in activities for children and adults, teaches weekly Sunday school classes and also presides as Chair of the Fifth Street Baptist Church Day Care Center.

Hank Kokenzie, received an Employee of the Month award for December 2003. Hank Kokenzie, Senior Systems Analyst, for Technical Services has worked for Monroe County since December 2000, receiving notes of appreciation for his fine service since that time. Accolades have come from inside and outside county government. He promptly handles all work orders from minor issues to major problems with a positive attitude. He always gets the problem resolved as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Margy McMennamy, Senior Grants Acquisition Administrator, County Administrator's Office, also was presented with the Employee of the Month award for December 2003. Margy has helped research and obtain several grants that have helped fund Emergency Communications, Emergency Services, and HIV early intervention services for the County Health department. She has created and published a Grants Bulletin to inform local agencies and County Divisions of funding opportunities. She has taught Grantsmanship training classes to several County groups and manages the County's "Art in Public Places" program.

April Cine, Administrative Assistant Transportation Program, Social Services, Community Services was named Employee of the Month for April 2004. April has held her current title for four years. She possesses expertise in many operations including Trapeze Reservations, a Scheduling and Dispatching software system. She has covered dispatching, reservations, scheduling, manifest creation, bus updates, counting fares, making deposits, along with filling in as the acting Social Service Director's Administrative Assistant when needed.

Employee of the Year, 2003

Jim Crane was named 2003 County Employee of the Year. Crane is a Sign Technician/Installer, Road Department, Public Works Division. Mr. Crane has been employed by Monroe County since August 1998. He began his employment with the County as a Maintenance Worker, and was soon promoted to his current position because of his exceptional skills and outstanding work ethic. Jim takes great pride in his work and in his role as a public servant. He wholeheartedly is committed to performing his duties and serving the taxpayers. Signs and markings throughout the County continually receive positive feedback from the community.

Besides being the County's Employee of the Year, he also received the following awards:

  • Employee of the Quarter and the Year from the Florida Keys and Key West Hotel/Motel Association
  • Unsung Hero Award from the Florida Keys Community Foundation for pulling an unconscious man from a burning vehicle.

In addition, Mr. Crane is a Big Brother volunteer who sets a great example and who truly cares for the youth that he mentors. He is a great asset to the County and the citizens served.

From left- Dent Pierce, Public Works Division Director, Commissioner Spehar,
Jim Crane, Commissioner Rice, Commissioner Neugent.

Photo By Jonathan Weinshank/Monroe County


Crime Prevention Tip of the Month:

Spam, Spoofing and Phishing: How to avoid being a victim of an email scam

The following information is from the Federal Trade Commission

Email Spam

Do you receive lots of junk email messages from people you don't know? It's no surprise if you do. As more people use email, marketers are increasingly using email messages to pitch their products and services. Some consumers find unsolicited commercial email - also known as "spam" - annoying and time consuming; others have lost money to bogus offers that arrived in their email in-box.

Typically, an email spammer buys a list of email addresses from a list broker, who compiles it by "harvesting" addresses from the Internet. If your email address appears in a newsgroup posting, on a website, in a chat room, or in an online service's membership directory, it may find its way onto these lists. The marketer then uses special software that can send hundreds of thousands - even millions - of email messages to the addresses at the click of a mouse.

Email Spoofing

Email spoofing may occur in different forms, but all have a similar result: a user receives email that appears to have originated from one source when it actually was sent from another source. Email spoofing is often an attempt to trick the user into making a damaging statement or releasing sensitive information (such as passwords). Examples of spoofed email that could affect the security of your site include:

How Can I Avoid Spam Scams?

The FTC suggests that you treat commercial email solicitations the same way you would treat an unsolicited telemarketing sales call. Don't believe promises from strangers. Greet money making opportunities that arrive at your in box with skepticism. Most of the time, these are old fashioned scams delivered via the newest technology. Here are some of the most common scam offers likely to arrive by email:

  • Chain letters. Chain letters that involve money or valuable items and promise big returns are illegal. If you start one or send one on, you are breaking the law. Chances are you will receive little or no money back on your "investment." Despite the claims, a chain letter will never make you rich. For more information on chain emails, check out www.ftc.gov/chainmail.
  • Work-At-Home Schemes. Not all work at home opportunities deliver on their promises. Many ads omit the fact that you may have to work many hours without pay. Or they don't disclose all the costs you will have to pay. Countless work at home schemes require you to spend your own money to place newspaper ads; make photocopies; or buy the envelopes, paper, stamps, and other supplies or equipment you need to do the job. The companies sponsoring the ads also may demand that you pay for instructions or "tutorial" software. Consumers deceived by these ads have lost thousands of dollars, in addition to their time and energy.
  • Weight Loss Claims. Programs or products that promote easy or effortless long term weight loss don't work. Taking off weight, and keeping it off, requires exercise and permanent changes in your diet. All the testimonials and guarantees in your email are not worth the space they take up on your hard drive.
  • Credit Repair Offers. Ignore offers to erase accurate negative information from your credit record. There's no legal way to do that.
  • Advance Fee Loan Scams. Be wary of promises to provide a loan for a fee, regardless of your past credit history. Remember, legitimate banks don't issue credit cards without first checking your credit.
  • Adult Entertainment. You may get an email from an adult entertainment site that claims to offer content for "free" and doesn't require a credit card number for access. All you have to do is download a "viewer" or "dialer" program. However, once the program is downloaded onto your computer, it may disconnect your Internet connection and reconnect to an international long distance phone number, at rates between $2 and $7 a minute. Be skeptical when you see opportunities to view "free" content on the web.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

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