Community Relations Division............................................. November 2003Edition


Sheriff's Report:


The Sheriff's Office, along with other area law enforcement agencies, honored the memory of Detective Patrick Scribner after his death of an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound this month. Members of the Sheriff's Special Weapons and Tactics squad are pictured passing a folded American flag from hand to hand. The flag was then presented to Scribner's daughter by Lt. Colonel Rick Ramsay.

Editor's Note: This month, Lt. Colonel Rick Ramsay is filling in for Sheriff Roth. He wrote the following article.

On the 15th of Oct. we had a police memorial service at headquarters for Detective Patrick Scribner. This service was held to honor a friend and fellow law enforcement officer, who was dedicated and truly loved his job. His life came to an end way too soon and he will be truly missed.

In addition, our School Resource Sergeant John Barber's house was recently destroyed after a terrible house fire. John is a school resource officer supervisor working out of Key West. John and his wife were out of the home when their daughter noticed smoke and flames coming from behind a dresser. She immediately exited the house and went for help, but by the time that fire units arrived the house was well into the burning stage. The fire units did a great job considering the situation, but it was futile as the house and contents were lost. No one was injured during the fire, which is the most important thing.

On a lighter note,  Monroe county Fire/Rescue held it's annual awards banquet at Hawk's Cay Resort on October 10th. This event was not only for emergency services personnel, but for law enforcement as well.  A good portion of the awards given out were for our men and women and I was very proud to be there to support them and see them receive their awards.

Quite a number of people toured the new Aviation Hanger facility and the new Mobile Command Post in Marathon October 22nd during a special open house. It was nice to see members of the public take time to attend the open house.  The safety and security of the public is, of course, our primary responsibility and something we are concerned about every day. We could  not do our job as well as we do, however, without the support and partnership of the community.

Take care, and stay safe.
Lt. Colonel Rick Ramsay


An open house held October 22nd in Marathon showcased the new Sheriff's Mobile Command Post and the new Aviation Hangar. Members of the public were able to tour both the hangar and the vehicle during the course of the day, as well as the two Sheriff's helicopters and the prisoner transport plane, all of which are stored in the hangar building.


General News

You can receive missing children information via email, text messaging

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Missing Children Information Center is offering a new way for you to receive information about missing children immediately and directly.

At www.missingchildrenalert.com you can sign up to receive the information by email and/or by text messaging on your cell phone. The system will send you information when there is an Amber Alert, or when there is a missing child alert so you can help law enforcement in locating these children.

You can also sign up to receive headlines from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on your desktop. Visit their web site at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us for more information. FDLE offers many useful tools to it's web site visitors, including background checks, wanted person checks, information about sexual offenders and predators, career offenders, unsolved homicides, and more.

Attorney General offers information about Identity Theft

Attorney General Charley Crist and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched a new website on October 15th to assist Floridians with the crime of Identity Theft. Identity Theft is a growing problem in the United States, and this web site will help you learn about it, avoid it if possible, and deal with it if you become a victim.

Identity theft is the criminal use of an individual's personal identification information. Identity thieves steal information such as your name, social security number, driver's license information, or bank and credit card accounts and use the information to establish credit, make purchases, apply for loans or even seek employment.

The statistics are staggering. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Florida was ranked sixth in the nation for identity theft in 2002, with over 10,000 reported victims. Victims of identity theft can come from any lifestyle regardless of race, gender, age or socioeconomic status. This website is designed to be a centralized "one-stop" resource center for victims of identity theft in Florida. Individuals in other states who had their personal information fraudulently used in the state of Florida will also find this resource useful.

Victims of identity theft should review Florida's Identity Theft Victim Kit, an all-in-one resource that provides victims with specific instructions for filing a police report and beginning to clear their names. Visit http://www.myfloridalegal.com/identitytheft for more information.

Remember to review paperwork, and keep your will up to date

By Sheriff's Office Risk Manager Tamara Snider

In lieu of the recent events with our Sheriff's Office families over the past few weeks, I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone to review your personal paperwork on a regular basis to make sure it is up to date. That includes any life insurance policies you might have, wills, property insurance policies and any other important paperwork. Beneficiaries change, as does the value of your house and property and it is important that all the information be up to date just in case.

As for those of you who are homeowners, make sure your policy limits are sufficient for the current replacement value of your home. You should sit down with your insurance agent every year or two and review  your policies to make sure they will cover you in the event of an emergency, disaster or other occurrence.

Make sure you have a will and that you keep it up to date. Your will should be in a place where your survivors will be able to find it should something happen to you, either on file with an attorney, in a safe deposit box or somewhere else accessible but secure.

You should also consider keeping important paperwork - like wills, insurance policies, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage certificates and vehicle titles - in a safe deposit box just in case something happens to your house, such as a fire, flood or hurricane.

Recent events should teach us all something: it can happen to you, and you should be prepared if it does.

Heroes of the Keys

Deputies, firefighters, and emergency medical services workers from around the Keys were honored recently at a special "Heroes of the Keys" dinner held at St. Peter's Church on Big Pine Key. The photos featured below were taken by Joyce Cordell:


The Sheriff's Honor Guard took part in the "Heroes of the Keys" dinner at St. Peter's Church on Big Pine Key and Sheriff Roth was a featured speaker at the event.

 


Islamorada:
By Lt. Tom Brazil, Station Commander, Sector 6

Recently the Islamorada Sector of the Sheriffs Office purchased two Trek mountain bikes with funds donated to the Village of Islamorada from local citizens and businesses.

Volunteer officers who receive special training will use the bikes to patrol neighborhoods throughout the Village, to deter crime, promote bicycle safety and encourage more personal contacts between residents and officers. In addition the bikes will be used during special events and special patrols such as on Halloween.

Theater of the Sea Owner Kenny McKenny was the largest contributor to this project, donating $2,000.00 for the purchase and maintenance of the bicycles. Additional contributors included Papa Joe’s, Tower of Pizza and Bob’s Buns Restaurants, as well as Islands in the Sun Nursery and The Equipment Locker.

Thus far the program has received high praise from the citizenry and Village officials. This program is being funded solely through public donations . Any resident or business wishing to donate to this program should contact Sergeant Gene Williams at the Islamorada Sheriffs Station.

Kenny McKenny presents a check to Islamorada Deputy Kristy Jackson and Sergeant Gene Williams  

In early September the law enforcement contract with Islamorada was renewed with the Sheriff. From the feedback we have received both council and residents are pleased with the service we have provided over the last three years. The Village is going to include a new station in the government center being built on the south end of the property at Founders Park, which will give us considerably more room than we have now. Construction is expected to start next year.  


Sector One: the Lower Keys
By Captain Chad Scibilia, Commander, Sector One

A number of our deputies should be commended for efforts they've made recently to target juvenile problems we've been having in the Stock Island area. I want to thank Sgt. Vaughn Sommers, Dep. Matt Dowling and Dep. Maretta McNichol for putting a lot of time and effort into tackling these issues.

These three officers arranged a meeting between the Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office to come up with ideas to combat the problem. They then held a community meeting to seek input, support and assistance from the citizens. This resulted in a strong partnership with the community and another crime watch group being started on Stock Island as well as putting us all on a strong path to solving the juvenile problem. We are still looking for anyone interested in serving as a Crime Watch Chairperson in various neighborhoods of Stock Island. If you think you might be interested, please contact Sgt. Sommers or Deputy Dowling. I would also like to thank Dep. LaVache and Dir. Artman of the Community Relations Division for their assistance with the project. 

Monroe County EMS held it annual awards banquet last week and recognized several officers for their efforts throughout the year. Congratulations to Dep. Mark Long and Dep. Jimmy Williams for receiving an award for the delivery of a baby. Also receiving awards were Dep. Diane Mimosa and Sgt. Daryl Hull for life saving efforts. Congratulations to all. 


The City of Marathon and Sector 5
By Captain Robert P. Peryam, Commander, Marathon District

Hello again from Metro-Marathon and Sector 5.  It’s been a busy time here with many special operations and events.  The Poker Run was successful and we were fortunate to have had a crash free event here.  The traffic has been very heavy as the season gets started and we have added numerous operations for enhanced traffic enforcement to address the situation. 

The week of October 20th to 24th was National School Bus Safety Week and we gave special attention to that violation and wrote many tickets during that time along with numerous warnings.  In November we will be increasing our seat belt and DUI vigilance to assist with the statewide Combined Safety Belt and DUI Enforcement Mobilization from November 21st to January 4th.

Victim Advocates Sally Ann Crawford and Carol Johnson were nominated for awards for their dedication to victims rights and advocacy.  They were both cited for their work at a recent awards banquet and awards ceremony held at the Marathon Yacht Club and hosted by the Domestic Abuse Shelter.

Sally Ann and Carol receiving recognition for jobs well done at a recent awards banquet by the Domestic Abuse Shelter.

The Aviation Division has just had an open house at the new Marathon Aviation Hangar and displayed the beautiful facility that has been constructed for the benefit of us all.  Lieutenant Mike Pandol is to be highly commended for the many hours of dedication he has committed to this project.

We have tested a few boat types and have put in a request for the new boat that will soon be on patrol here in Marathon.  The boat patrol position will be funded beginning the first of January, 2004 and Deputy Harry Boyden will be skippering the new vessel.  We look forward to having a “feet wet” Deputy here and he will always be available when called for any service necessary. 


County News

New Look, New Services for County Website

The Monroe County website has a new look, new features and a new address. The new website address is www.monroecounty-fl.gov and provides visitors with a fresh, new appearance, and easier navigation to more information.

Designed to be user-friendly and easy to follow, the site has many new features and information to meet the increasing need for online public information. Just a few of the new features available include:

  • The "BOCC" section containing information about the BOCC duties, meeting schedules, and individual commissioner pages containing contact information and biographies. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting agendas are always available online the Friday before the BOCC meeting.
  • A newly redesigned "Employment" page, offers a Monroe County job application to download and job descriptions online.
  • The "County News" section contains updated press releases and news articles related to county services and events.
  • "Links", connects to numerous information websites such as the Keys Chambers of Commerce, utilities, and schools. There are also links to Federal, State, and local government websites, Florida Keys environmental links, and all other Florida Counties.
  • The "Depts. & Divisions" page provides a directory to all County services with contact names, numbers and emails. Links to colorful pages guide you though the diverse services County government provides to the citizens of Monroe County.
  • Emergency information is available through emergency management pages including Hurricane Preparedness, Emergency Operations Center Situation reports (tropical updates and homeland security updates), weather information, and the special needs registry.
  • There are "Kids Pages" especially designed as resources for kids. Topics include Florida history, state, local, and national government, Homework Help with many links and resources to help with homework, "Teen Pages" with information about colleges and careers, and pages "Just for Fun" with links to arts and crafts, brainteasers, and sports websites.
  • There is even a way to translate the entire Monroe County Website into other languages. There are many E-Government online services available on the new website. Take advantage of them to save you time and effort.

The Monroe County web site will continue to be upgraded and enhanced to better serve the needs of online visitors. We invite you to visit our new site and submit a website survey form on the new "Contact Us" page, to share any suggestions or comments about the new site. You may contact the website manager at website@monroecounty-fl.gov.

Key West Airport receives FAA Safety Award

The Key West International Airport was presented the Airport Safety Mark of Distinction Award for developing and carrying out an emergency-disaster exercise. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) developed the award to promote safety among the FAA Southern Region certified airports and to acknowledge any action, effort, or event a certified airport demonstrates in the advancement of safety.

The Key West International Airport Fire department has taken the initiative to develop and document an excellent training program. Chief Almeda aggressively instituted and carried out a scenario that exercised the full capabilities and resources of the local emergency response system.  The most important goal of the exercise scenario was coordination of the participating agencies to ensure prompt response and proper treatment during a major incident.

The training exercise scenario staged by Key West International Airport Department involved tow planes colliding over the airport, one plane crashed on the field and another in the salt ponds.

Chief Almeda has also implemented monthly lesson plans and quarterly disaster drills to maintain the department's level of readiness. He is only required to perform an annual table top drill, and a full scale emergency drill every three years for the over 500,000 flights to and from Key West International Airport each year.

Ephemeral Cities Grant Awarded for local partnership 

The federal Institute of Museum and Library Services agency has awarded funding for a University of Florida project, Ephemeral Cities. The Monroe County Public Library, City of Key West, and the Key West Art & Historical Society will partner with the University of Florida in this ambitious grant project.

Ephemeral Cities is based on linking historical resources (texts, photographs, and digitized objects) to historic maps, serving as GIS layers and allowing users to step through local history both by location and through time. Funding will also provide for school curriculum and local events and lectures. It is the first project of its kind and one of only three projects awarded in Florida.

For more information, contact Anne Layton Rice, Public Library Administrator, at 305-292-3594.


Crime Prevention Tip of the Month:
Watch out for car repair scam

In October, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office took a report of a possible car repair scam in the Lower Keys.

Two Latin males approached the victim at the Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Key West. They said they noticed his car had some damage and offered to repair it for a reasonable price. The two men followed the victim to his home on Shark Key. Once at the home, the men saw a second vehicle parked there which also needed repair. They offered to repair the second car as well. They did some superficial repairs to the vehicles, then told the victim they’d ordered some replacement parts from an auto repair shop in Key West. They said the parts were scheduled to arrive the following week. They promised to return and finish the repair job at that time. They gave the victim what turned out to be a false contact name and phone number. The victim paid the men $800.00 and he never heard from them again. A check with the auto repair shop revealed no parts had been ordered.

Several other people have reported being approached in or near the parking lot of the Overseas Market, and at the Days Inn Motel in Key West with similar proposals.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to do a thorough check on anyone doing any type of work for you. Anyone operating a legitimate business will have a business license, and should produce it if asked. You should also ask for references and check those references before agreeing to have any type of work done. Never pay for work that is not completed, and don’t hesitate to check people’s identification. The bottom line is – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

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Questions or Comments?
Contact
Deputy Becky Herrin, Public Information Officer and Web Author or Sheriff Richard Roth via e-mail
For other phone and e-mail contact information, see the "Contact Information" page.
  

This web site was last updated Thursday February 26, 2004


 
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