Division............................................. February 2004 Edition
Tourist season is
here, along with traffic and vehicle break-ins
Tourist season is in full
swing, as I'm sure anyone who has to drive on the highway is
well aware of. Traffic is heavy, as it always is at this time
of year and we've seen our share of accidents recently as a
result of the increased number of cars out there.
Accidents are almost always
caused by someone practicing unsafe driving habits. Some of
the most common, and most deadly are passing in no passing
zones, or passing when it is unsafe to do so; speeding;
driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol; or letting anger
interfere with good driving judgment - what the media commonly
calls "Road Rage".
Here are my recommendations for
staying safe on the road:
First of all, eliminate all of
the dangerous driving listed above from your own driving.
Instead, add a little extra time into your travel plans, relax
and just go with the flow of traffic.
Don't drink and drive -
designate a sober driver if you are going out to have a few
Don't get angry when you drive
- most of the time, road rage results from someone getting
angry when another driver makes a mistake - just let it go.
Pay attention to your own safe driving instead of getting
angry about someone else's driving habits. This is
particularly true if you have children - children pick up on
what you do. If you pound on the steering wheel, scream at
other drivers and tailgate them just to "teach them a lesson"
then they will probably do those things too when they start to
drive. Do you really want to teach your children that type of
And, lastly, be a defensive
driver. Pay attention to what is happening around you at all
times. You may be driving with good, safe habits, but others
may not be. There are many tourists on our highway who may be
looking at our beautiful scenery, or trying to find their
hotel. They may not be paying as much attention to traffic as
they should. To avoid accidents, keep a safe following
distance, make sure you signal turns and change lanes well in
advance, turn on your lights at all times to help with
visibility and watch what everyone else is doing closely.
Vehicle burglaries a problem:
The reporting of four automobile burglaries in
a two day period in late January should serve as a reminder to
everyone in Monroe County to always lock a vehicle’s doors
when you are not driving it. In all four cases, one in Key
Largo and three in the lower Keys, the vehicle owners left
them parked overnight, unlocked. A cell phone, charger,
stereo, scanner, digital camera and a handicap placard were
stolen in the burglaries.
Even if you are only exiting the vehicle for a
few minutes, it doesn’t take much effort to lock it. You
should also remove any valuable items from sight, putting them
under a seat, in a glove compartment, in the trunk, or taking
them with you. And remember – no place is really safe - many
of these crimes take place in residential areas, when the
vehicles are parked in driveways, or on the street in front of
the owner’s house.
Save yourself the trouble of dealing with the
loss of your belongings, and save us the trouble of doing all
the paperwork and investigation associated with a burglary.
Lock your car doors and secure your valuables before you
become a victim.
Vehicle burglaries in December,
Sector 1(lower Keys) - 3
Sector 4 (Marathon) - 7
(6 were unlocked cars)
Sector 5 (unincorporated middle
Keys) - 1
Sector 6 (Islamorada) - 4
Sector 7 (Tavernier and Key
Largo) - 8 (six were unlocked vehicles)
and stay safe.
Community and Sheriff's
Office work together to solve neighborhood problem
The Lincoln Gardens sub-division on Stock
Island has recently been plagued by a number of juvenile related
incidents, and, with the help and input of the community and the
Neighborhood Crime Watch in that area, the Sheriff's Office was able to
use forfeiture funds to pay for some extra law enforcement effort to deal
with the problem.
Sheriff's deputies were assigned to work
special details consisting of driver's license checkpoints and foot
patrol. Four checkpoints of four hours each were conducted with the
63 traffic citations issued
50 written warnings issued
30 verbal warnings issued
5 field contact cards completed
17 criminal citations issued
2 warrant arrests made
2 traffic arrests made
Foot patrol details in the area had the
28 field contact cards completed
2 traffic citations were issued
11 traffic warnings issued
1 stolen car was recovered
1 person arrested for possessing drug
1 person arrested on felony charges
1 vehicle towed
2 Notices to appear in court were issued
As a result, juvenile related incidents
have declined, although we have noticed that some of the activity has
moved to another area of Stock Island. We will be moving some of our extra
patrols and attention to that area next in an effort to keep it in check.
This demonstrates what we can do when a
residential area is having a particular problem that needs to be targeted.
In this case, the citizens that were being affected called our agency,
explained the problem, then worked with us to implement the solution. If
you or your neighborhood is having a particular crime-related problem and
you would like to work with us to find a solution, give your local
substation a call or contact Crime Watch Coordinator Emil LaVache and get
the ball rolling.
Changes in Sector 7
|There have been many changes in Sector
7 over the past few months – the most welcome are two
promotions and several new hires. Don Fanelli, an 18-year
member of the Sheriff’s Office was promoted by Sheriff
Roth to Lieutenant and second in command of the Plantation
Key Substation in December.
Fanelli has an impressive record as a law enforcement
officer. He started his career in Ohio where he worked as
a deputy and as an undercover narcotics officer. He saw
the wisdom of policing in a warmer climate in 1986 and has
worked his way up the ranks during that time. In 2001 he
was recognized as the agency’s Law Enforcement Officer of
the Year. Lt. Fanelli replaces Lt. Bill Moran who has
taken command of the Ocean Reef division of our sector.
Lt. Don Fanelli
Sgt. Deb Ryan
was reassigned from her midnight shift supervisory position to
fill Lt. Fanelli’s Zone Commander’s position. Along with
running her shift, Deb is now responsible for making all good
things happen in her zone – from mile marker 100 to the county
line. She and zone commander Sgt. Lou Caputo make will make
an excellent team, and we look forward to good things from
another long-time member of the agency, was promoted from
deputy to sergeant also in December. Sgt. Heffron’s
experience, knowledge, good decision-making skills and
maturity were among the reasons he was chosen for this
position. He will be a great asset to our midnight shift.
Passarelli transferred from the lower Keys to Sector 7 after
14 years in that sector as a supervisor. Joe brings with him
very positive supervisory traits and we’re glad to have him
Sgt. Ryan, Lt. Fanelli
and Sgt. Passerelli
Lt. Fanelli and Sgt.
many other new faces among our ranks. Deputy Lee Cowart who
came to us from FWC; Deputy Jim Fitzgerald, formerly of the
City of Miami Police Department; and Deputies Ray Jodlowski
and Jason Keith, both from Jacksonville. All experienced law
enforcement officers; these new members are a welcome addition
to our roster. As they get out in to the community to meet
people I know you will all make them feel welcome.
pleased to learn that for the third year in a row the
Neighborhood Crime Watch Chairperson of the Year comes from a
Key Largo neighborhood. Lou Freiheit, chairwoman of the
Pirate’s Cove Crime Watch received this award from Sheriff
Roth for her strong leadership and many positive
accomplishments in that neighborhood. Congratulations to you,
Lou, and thank you from all our members for the work you do.
We were able
to add two neighborhoods to our Crime Watch program recently –
Sexton Cove and Tradewinds Hammocks. We continue to encourage
people to become involved in this program, which we believe is
one of the most effective ways to deter crime. If you are
interested in learning more about Neighborhood Crime Watch,
please call Deputy Emil LaVache at 292-7116.
reviewed our December burglary statistics I was distressed
again to find that in 6 of the 8 auto burglaries the suspect
merely opened an unlocked car door to remove the items. I
realize and appreciate that our residents and visitors feel
safe – as they should given our low crime rate. However, just
taking one extra moment to lock your car or remove valuables
can help lower that crime rate even more.
burglaries and thefts are crimes of opportunity and there are
simple ways we can eliminate the opportunity, saving us all
time, money and the aggravation of insurance reporting. If
you would like to learn more about protecting your property
the Sheriff’s Office offers several free programs – like
security surveys of your homes or businesses. For more
information call our Community Relations Division at
We wish you
all a very successful and healthy New Year.
NEWS from Sector 6
Captain Joe Leiter, Commander, Sector 6
The Holidays were busy
in Islamorada with the usual compliment of inbound tourist traffic. The week
between Christmas and New Years is traditionally the heaviest week of
traffic in the Keys with traffic backing up sometimes 8 miles on the US 1
stretch. The joke goes like this: The only way to get to the other side of
US 1 during the tourist, season is to be born there!
The Sheriff was up here this week to present the
keys to a seized car to Village Manager Bernie LaPira. The car, a 1996
Mercury was forfeited to the Sheriff's Office when it was used in a felony
in Islamorada. Islamorada will use the vehicle for Government business.
Sheriff Roth also recently agreed to purchase a new 225 HP motor for one of
the Village Patrol Boats to replace the 9 year old Johnson motor that is on
there now and to pay for an addition to our small Islamorada Station which
we have quickly outgrown. So to our boss we say....thank you.
Sheriff Roth hands over the keys to Bernie LaPira.
County Officials help
launch Reef License Plate
Commissioner Spehar, Tax Collector Danise Henriquez, and
Philippe Cousteau , grandson of famed marine explorer Jacques Cousteau helped
launch the new ""Protect Our Reefs" specialty plate at the Monroe County Tax
Collectors office during a recent press conference.
The new license plate depicts a Keys underwater coral reef
scene. The Florida Reef is the only barrier reef system in the continental U.S.,
and like other reefs, suffering tremendous decline. The proceeds from these $25
plates will help fund Mote’s Center for Coral Reef Research in Summerland Key,
Florida and other Florida-based organizations involved in research, education
and conservation of reefs. The plate is available for purchase at all tax
Commissioner Spehar, Tax Collector Danise Henriquez, and
Philippe Cousteau , grandson of famed marine explorer Jacques
Cousteau helped launch the new ""Protect Our Reefs" specialty plate
National Endowment for the Humanities Awards grant to Library
The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the Monroe County
Public Library a Preservation Assistance Grant. The project is entitled "On the
Waterfront: Preserving Key West's Treasures." Funding will be used to develop a
conservation plan for treating artifacts and to train staff on preservation
practices. Artifacts in the Library's Florida History collection include:
Spanish-American (1898-1900) Sheet music, 1828-1919 Court Documents, and World
War I era Waterfront Passes. These passes were used for identification of Key
West's waterfront workers. The information on the passes include a small photo,
name, birth date and place, occupation and employer.
Over 8,000 annual visits are made to the Florida History Department of the
Monroe County Public Library. Researchers from around the world visit the
Library seeking primary source information. Recently several educational
television and film projects, including those for the History Channel, Discovery
Channel, PBS, the Weather Channel and National Geographic, have featured primary
sources from the Library's collection. The preservation activities from this
grant will allow researchers, genealogists, and scholars greater hands-on access
to these special collections.
By Communications Shift Supervisor Carol Cain
Question: How do I know if I have a real emergency?
An emergency is when immediate police, fire, or medical assistance is
necessary to protect life or property. If an emergency situation arises,
ask yourself one important question: Is there an immediate need for
police, fire, or paramedics to protect or save life or property? If you
can answer, "yes" to this question, then dial 9-1-1.
Question: What should I tell the Communications Officer when I
- Stay Calm; Give your name, location, and nature of the emergency.
- Listen Carefully to the questions and instructions of the
- Answer all questions as accurately as possible. Speak clearly and
- Do exactly as instructed during the course of the call.
Question: Should I hang up and try to help, or stay on the line?
Never hang up until you are told to do so. If you hang up and redial,
you will go to the end of the line of people waiting for service. It may
be frustrating for you, but the Communications Officer will need you to
stay on the line until he/she advises you that it is all right to hang
up. Be patient if the Officer seems to ask a lot of questions. There are
certain things that they must know to provide you with the services you
need. Remember, while that Officer is talking to you, getting pertinent
information, another one is dispatching help to your location.
Question: If I accidentally call 9-1-1 should I hang up?
No, stay on the phone and let the Communications Officer know that it
was a mistake. Also remember to place your cell phone on "Lock or Key
lock" mode so that it does not accidentally dial 9-1-1.
Question: Should I dial 911 if I have a non-emergency situation?
No, do not dial 911 for non-emergency situations. For non-emergency
situations such as noisy neighbors or incidents which have already
occurred, use the non-emergency telephone numbers: (305)296-2424,
(305)745-3184, (305)289-2430, (305)853-7021 or (305)853-3211. Never tell
the Communications Officer that a situation is more serious than it
really is. It is against the law to intentionally and knowingly gives
false information to the police or emergency services. Abuse of 911 may
delay someone else's access to emergency assistance.
Question: When I call 9-1-1 am I calling the agency that I need
for my emergency?
If you need assistance from an agency other than the Sheriff's Office
your call will be transferred to the proper agency.
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