Community Relations Division.....................................................March  2003Edition


Sheriff's Report


Sheriff Roth at a ceremony welcoming the ship "Amistad" to Key West in January.

Tourist Season: In coming weeks we will all be seeing an increase in traffic on our roads due to tourist season, spring break, and Daytona Bike Week, which always creates spillover bike traffic in the Keys. I would like to ask you all to be patient as you drive to work, home, to the grocery store or wherever your day takes you. It does no good to lose your temper behind the wheel, and can result in accidents or other roadway incidents. The important thing is to get where you are going safely.

We should all try to be defensive drivers, and keep in mind that many of the cars on the highway belong to people who have never seen our beautiful county before. They may be marveling at the scenery, or may be trying to find a hotel or restaurant, and may not be paying as much attention to the road as they should. It does no good to get angry - instead, be patient and remember, tourists are the livelihood for most of us here in the Keys.

Homeland Security: In February, I flew to Fort Lauderdale for a meeting with the Federal Bureau of Investigations to be updated on the current state of our Homeland Security. I received a briefing on how the federal government is working to keep our country safe in the current state of heightened security and increased threat level.

Additionally, the FBI gave a report during the meeting about their new mission and what it will mean for local law enforcement agencies. The FBI has been directed to concentrate their efforts on Homeland Security issues. Other investigative functions, such as bank robbery investigations, will be left more and more to local law enforcement. They will still provide investigative resources when they are able.

In some jurisdictions, this will cause some problems. Many agencies have relied solely on their local FBI office to investigate crimes of this magnitude. Here in the Keys, however, we have always taken an active part in such investigations due to the small number of FBI investigators assigned to our area. And while we do not have a large number of bank robberies, or other federal crimes, when they do occur, our detectives have worked them and will have no trouble continuing to do so in conjunction with the FBI.

In a related issue, there are some new web sites offered by the Federal Government to help you better prepare for terrorist threats and other issues related to Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security has a web site which offers useful information and many useful publications about disaster and terrorism preparedness. The new web site, Ready.gov was created specifically to help people prepare for terrorist threats of all kinds. As the site says, in it's overview:

"Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as assembling a supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. However, as you will see throughout the pages of Ready.gov, there are important differences among potential terrorist threats that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. With a little planning and common sense, you can be better prepared for the unexpected."

Take care, and stay safe.

   Sheriff, Monroe County


County News

New county-wide fire/rescue station numbering system

A new county-wide fire and rescue station and apparatus numbering system was adopted by the Monroe County Fire Chiefs’ Association at their last meeting. This numbering plan is intended to improve the efficiency of fireground communications by eliminating unneeded syllables and establishing logical sets of numbers that make sense to all fire-rescue members throughout the Keys.  It will also provide a system that makes sense to dispatchers in the Sheriff’s Office who have been asking for a numbering system that is more efficient.

 The numbering system that was adopted is the culmination of two-years’ worth of work by several members of the Monroe County Fire Chiefs’ Association.  Participants included the municipalities of Key West, Marathon and Layton, as well as the U.S. Naval Air Facility-Key West, and the Ocean Reef Public Safety Department, in addition to the fire departments of unincorporated Monroe County.  All of these organizations saw the need to create a system that would allow for countywide coordination and interoperability without losing their identity as organizations.  Some of them sacrificed their own individual preferences for the larger good. In fact, such countywide, even region-wide numbering schemes function quite well in many other parts of the country, regardless of the color of the apparatus, or how the fire stations within a municipality may be numbered. 

Some of the new numbers assigned to stations throughout the Keys are #1 Key West Station (N. Roosevelt Blvd.), #8 Stock Island Station, #10 Sugarloaf Station, #17 Conch Key Station, and #24 Key Largo-S Station. This new numbering system will provide efficient delivery of emergency services to all of the citizens of Monroe County, including those residing in incorporated municipalities and those in the unincorporated areas.

The 911 Wireless  Board meets Governor


Gov. Bush with Norm Leggett

The State of Florida 911 Wireless Board met with Governor Jeb Bush in the Executive Office at the Capitol in Tallahassee on February 12th, 2003. The Governor was very enthusiastic to meet with the full Wireless Board for the first time. Cordial greetings were exchanged and photos taken during the meeting. Norm Leggett, Monroe County's Senior Director of Communications, responsible for all Monroe County communications systems was present. He is the Governor's first appointment from Monroe County to the State of Florida 911 Wireless Board. 

In 1999 the Florida Legislature enacted the "Wireless Emergency Communications Act" and established the Wireless 911 Board to administer the fees imposed for certain wireless 911-telephone service.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires wireless telephone service providers to provide enhanced 911(E911) service in the form of automatic location identification and automatic number identification to maximize the availability of enhanced 911 services throughout the state. This provides wireless telephone users with rapid access to public safety agencies by dialing 911 on their cell phones. Wireless service providers and counties that operate 911 and E911 systems require adequate funding to recover the costs of designing, purchasing, installing, testing, and operating enhanced facilities, systems, and services necessary to comply with the FCC requirements. The fees collected from wireless phone users are administered by the Wireless 911 Board to fund these efforts to improve the public health, safety, and welfare and provide emergency telephone assistance through wireless communications throughout the state. For further information about the Wireless 911 Board visit the Monroe County website, www.co.monroe.fl.us


Sector 7:

False alarms take deputy's time
By Captain Jennifer Bell-Thomson, Commander Sector 7

One of the responsibilities of any good law enforcement agency is to constantly monitor our efficiency so that we can provide the best service possible to taxpayers.  One of the ways we do this is to analyze repeat calls for service to the same location.  If deputies frequently respond to the same business or residence it is his or her job to determine exactly why that is happening.  Repeat calls for service clearly indicate a problem that needs to be solved, not just for the person who has the problem, but also for the surrounding neighbors who are more than likely disturbed by the problem and the constant police presence as well.  By solving the problem, deputies can then focus their efforts on investigating crimes, neighborhood patrol, traffic safety, and other crime prevention activities. 

Of the repeat calls for service we respond to every year, false alarms are the highest. In 2002 deputies from Tavernier to Key Largo alone responded to over 1,000 false alarms. In January 2003, we’ve responded to 108. Because we can never assume the alarm will be  false , usually two deputies are sent for officer safety reasons.  These calls monopolize a great deal of time, preventing deputies from handling other, more proactive duties. 

For this reason, several years ago the county passed an ordinance which regulates burglar alarms. The ordinance states, “No burglar/robbery alarm user shall cause, allow or permit its burglar alarm system to give six or more false alarms in any calendar year.”  After the sixth alarm, users are fined, beginning at $10.00, then an additional $25.00 for the eighth alarm; and an additional $75.00 for the ninth and each additional false alarm after that in a calendar year.  (There are some exceptions to the fine, including activations due to obvious bad weather.)

 Additionally, everyone who has an alarm must register that information with the Sheriff’s Office.  If you have not done this, it’s as easy as giving us a call and we’ll fax you the form.  The reason for the registration is so that we are able to quickly contact the homeowner or business owner in order to check the premises and have the alarm deactivated.  Many times neighbors have been disturbed in the middle of the night by an alarm sounding at a residence that is unoccupied and we have no way of contacting an owner.  Never assume your alarm company has current contact information for you, check with them regularly to insure they do.  Also insure they have directions to the location of the alarm.  Often buildings are not properly numbered, businesses change locations without informing the Sheriff’s Office, many street names are duplicated, or the locations are otherwise difficult to locate. 

 Many false alarms occur because of malfunctions in the system, or because an error is made when activating or deactivating the alarm.  These problems are easily remedied by making sure the system is maintained properly – if you are suffering from numerous unexplained false alarms, make it the responsibility of the installer to resolve the problem; and make sure that all persons having access to the alarm are properly trained. 

Crime Watch Chairperson meeting a success

 On February 19 the upper Keys Neighborhood Crime Watch chairpersons met to discuss ways to increase participation in the Crime Watch program, and to share ideas for solving neighborhood problems.  The meeting was well attended and a great success. Chances are good that we will hold meetings quarterly.  Our goal is to have 10 more upper Keys neighborhoods become Crime Watch neighborhoods this year.  If you are interested in participating, please call Sgt. Don Fanelli (Key Largo) or Sgt. Lou Caputo (Tavernier) at 853-3211, or Deputy Emil LaVache, our Crime Watch Coordinator, at 292-7116.  Neighborhood Crime Watch is one of the single most effective crime prevention programs in existence. It takes very little time and there is no cost to join.  Let us hear from you!


Islamorada:

Child Safety Seat Check Held at Founder’s Park
By Lt. Tom Brazil, Station Commander, Sector 6

Sgt. Bogue of Islamorada District accompanied by other deputies and Florida Highway Patrol Troopers, and 7-month-old baby who was brought for the car seat check.

 Sgt. Bogue showing a mother the proper installation of child safety seat.

 

“Buckling up is still the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries from motor vehicle crashes on our roadways,” says Sgt. Bogue who coordinated the check.. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 4 to 14, and in the year 2000 more than half of all children under 15 years of age who were killed in car crashes were completely unrestrained.

 

Child safety seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions are often difficult to read. In addition, most children who outgrow their forward facing child safety seats, at about 40 pounds, are often prematurely placed in adult safety belts.

 

When a child outgrows a forward facing safety seat, they should use a booster seat until at least 8 years old or four feet nine inches tall. A booster seat raises a child to allow the vehicle’s safety belt to be positioned correctly.

 

Periodically throughout the year child safety seat checks like this one are held where specially trained officers will check the installation and safety of your child’s safety seat FREE OF CHARGE.  Sgt. Bogue also offers the service of a Fitting Station on appointment,  where parents or caregivers can come and have their child’s seat checked for proper installation.  Child Seats are also available to parents or caregivers who are receiving Public Assistance or have a significant financial hardship and cannot afford to purchase a seat at a retail establishment.  For any questions regarding Child Safety Seats contact Sgt. Bogue at (305) 853-7021.

Child Safety Seat (CSS) Non-Negotiables

  • Infants ride rear-facing until one year of age AND 20 pounds.  Child safety seat (CSS) weight requirements are set by the CSS manufacturer. The one year age requirement is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Babies over 20 pounds and under one year of age require a special CSS rated to higher rear-facing weights.

  • Infants ride rear-facing, semi-reclined at no more than a 45 degree angle.  The semi-reclined position keeps the baby’s airway open.  Bucket, sculptured and contour vehicle seats often need a tightly rolled towel or “ pool noodle” at the vehicle seat crack to obtain the desired recline degree.

  • Never place a rear-facing CSS in the front seat of vehicles equipped with passenger airbags.  Check the sun visor, dashboard and vehicle owner’s manual to determine if airbags are present in the vehicle.

  • Place the CSS harness through the slots at or below the rear-facing infant’s shoulders; forward-facing toddlers must have the harness at or above the shoulders (unless otherwise directed by the CSS manufacturer).

  • Tighten the CSS harness so the straps are snug and lay comfortably flat, in a straight line on the child’s body.  Snug straps keep the child’s back firmly against the CSS.

  • Place the vehicle safety belt around or through the CSS exactly where the CSS manufacturer directs.  Use LATCH if both vehicle and CSS are so equipped.

  • Tighten the vehicle safety belt to allow no more than 1 inch of movement of the CSS side-to-side or front to back.  Read safety belt labels and instructions in the vehicle owner’s manual to know how to correctly lock the safety belt system.

  • Obtain and use any extra equipment needed to secure the safety belt properly as directed by the vehicle owner’s manual. Locking clips, auxiliary buckles and/or tethers must be used if directed by the vehicle or CSS manufacturer.

  • Position all child occupants in the back seat of the vehicle when possible.  If the front seat must be used for a forward-facing child, push the vehicle seat back as far from airbag as possible.


The City of Marathon and Sector 5:

Deputies receive honors; Community policing course offered
By Captain Robert P. Peryam, Commander, Marathon District

Deputy Louis Rivera received the Sheriff's Medal of Valor from Sheriff Roth and Captain Bob Peryam

On February 7th, the Sheriff awarded Marathon Deputy Louis Rivera the Sheriff’s Medal of Valor for his actions in the arrest of a suspect in a shooting in Key West that he witnessed off duty. Marathon Deputy Dennis Coleman was also honored at the same ceremony as Deputy of the Quarter for last quarter. Many community residents attended the awards ceremony to congratulate these officers for their commitment to duty in this community.

Deputy Jen Lascala with Officer Frank Blastberg, KWPD and FHP at a recent Child Seat Safety Check Station

Marathon Deputy Jen Lascala, the Marathon Station Child Seat Safety Program Coordinator, supervised two Child Seat Safety Checkpoints in February, one in Marathon and the other assisting the Key West Police Department. Combined, they checked and adjusted 76 seats in vehicles in the two days. She can be contacted with any concerns for your child’s safety seat by calling 289-2430. She can answer any questions you have or help you install or adjust your present child safety seat. Deputy Lascala is an AAA Certified Child Safety Seat Technician. Remember, nothing can be more honorable than safeguarding our children.

We are currently filling three two-day classes offered by St. Petersburg College and the Southeastern Public Safety Institute. These are two-day classes on the Introduction to Community Policing. These classes are open to the public and we would like your presence and input. The classes are free of charge. The instructor is Sergeant Jake Walker with the Collier County Sheriff's Office. The course covers: Police-Community Partnerships, Introduction to Problem Solving Policing, Problem Solving Practical Exercises, Action Planning, Crime Prevention and Community Policing Resource Development. Class hours are 8AM to 5 PM. The classes are March 3rd and 4th or March 5th and 6th at KCB City Hall or you can attend March 7th and 8th at the Marathon Government Center. You must reserve seating, the classes are capped at 30 persons. Call Sergeant Dennis Cain at 289-2430 immediately for reservations.

"BOYZ ON BIKES"

We started a new team last month in Marathon. Two Marathon Deputies were sent to Bradenton for Police Mountain Bike School. Deputies Louis Rivera, Iscandel Perez and Chuck Kellenberger currently make up what has been tagged as the “BOB” squad. The name has nothing to do with our District Commander but actually stands for “Boyz On Bikes”. Since January 14th (just a little over one month) the team has produced seven felony arrests (one armed car jacking fugitive) 13 misdemeanor arrests, seized 26 grams of cocaine and an additional 7 rocks of crack and have several outstanding drug cases under investigation. They have put in well over 100 miles of bike patrol in town so far. They have also spent numerous hours on wave-runner patrol in the near-shore waters of Marathon and have issued several boating safety warnings. They also have more land and water operations planned for the near future. They are out there in the community almost every evening and night. Call Sergeant Dennis Cain at 289-2430 if you have any concerns you think they can address in your neighborhood.

The Florida Department of Transportation has begun efforts to build a Community Traffic Safety Team in Marathon. Membership includes local law enforcement, engineers, emergency services and education professionals as wells as community leaders and citizens. Community members are encouraged to join the team and voice their ideas at the monthly meetings. If you are interested in joining the team or just attending a meeting please contact Lieutenant Larry Kelley at the Marathon Station at 289-2430. We currently meet at the Marathon DOT building conference room at 2 PM on the 3rd Thursday of each month.

We are committed to partnering with you to fight crime. Help us to help you. Remember that you are the most important crime fighter in your home. While you are away on vacation or during any extended time away from your residence in the Keys:

  • Have good locks on all doors and windows and USE THEM!

  • Ask a neighbor to watch the house while you are away. It’s a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.

  • Never leave your house key hidden outside your home.

  • Stop all deliveries, or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers and packages.

  • Arrange for someone to mow your lawn, rake leaves and maintain the yard to give the home a lived-in look.

  • Plug in timers to turn lights, a radio or television on and off at appropriate times. This helps to disguise the fact that you are away.

  • Turn the bell or ringer on your telephone off or at least down low. If a burglar is around, he won’t be alerted to your absence by a ringing phone.

  • Don’t announce your absence on answering machine messages.

  • Leave your blinds, shades and curtains in the normal position. Don’t close them unless that is what you do when you are at home. Of course, put up storm shutters if you will be away during hurricane season, unless you are confident a neighbor or other friend will be doing that for you in the event of a storm.

  • Close and lock garage doors and windows. Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. If you leave your car at home, park it as you normally would. Vehicles parked outside should be moved occasionally to appear that they are being used.

  • Secure storage sheds, attic entrances and gates.

  • Contact the Sheriff’s Office, Marathon Station at 289-2430 to arrange a vacation watch for your residence. Vacation watches are also available in other areas of the County. Contact your local Sheriff's Office substation for more information.

  • Engrave you valuables. Use your driver’s license number and not your social security number. We have ready access to driver’s licenses. This simple step will allow your stolen property to be identified and returned to you if recovered by deputies.

  • Travel Safely!

  • The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is always ready to serve your needs 24 hours a day. Call me (Captain Bob Peryam) at the Marathon Station if you want to talk about concerns you may have about crime, traffic, current events or anything at all.


    Communications/Dispatch:

    Tips from your friendly neighborhood Sheriff's Office Dispatchers
    By Communications Officer Debra Shepherd

    Here are a few tips from the Sheriff's Office Communications Division to help you make your home easier to find in an emergency.

    House Numbers: Everyone should make sure they have large, clear house numbers on their homes. Make sure the numbers are large enough to be seen from the road and that nothing obstructs them from being seen by a car driving by on the street.

    Know your complete street address: Street names in Monroe County are duplicated throughout the Keys; from Key Largo to Key West. For instance, there are three Buttonwood Drive's in Key Largo, all within a one mile radius of one another. Their are also Buttonwood Drive's in Big Pine Key and in Sugarloaf Key. If you call the Sheriff's Office and tell the person answering the phone that you live on Buttonwood in Key Largo, it's going to be very difficult to find you. Not only are their five Buttonwood Drives in Monroe County, we also have Buttonwood Bight, Buttonwood Avenue's, Buttonwood Circle's and Buttonwood Lane's. So you can see why it is very important you know your complete street address. It is also helpful to know what sub-division you live in and the mile marker of the highway that you live closest to, as well as whether your house is on the gulf side or ocean side of the highway.

    Know how to describe your house location: If you do call the Sheriff's Office for assistance, there is additional information you can provide that would make it easier for police or rescue to locate your home.

    • Do you live on the right hand or left hand side of the road?
    • How far down the street is your home?
    • Are there any vehicles in your front yard. If so, what type/color?
    • Is there anything about your house that stands out and/or is different than other houses on the street? Possibly a large tree or a fence in the yard?

    Take a few minutes now and go over the above questions. It will save time if police or rescue are ever sent to your home.


    Special Investigations Division:

    Burglary sting catches business burglar
    By Captain Ross Thomson

    The Sheriff's Special Investigations Division is a wide ranging division covering many types of investigative units, including narcotics investigators, homicide investigators, investigators who specialize in crimes against women and children, traffic enforcement officers, and general case detectives who work  many types of different cases county-wide. All of them are hard working and believe in what they do - their work affects the lives of many Monroe County citizens on a daily basis, both visibly and behind the scenes.

    This month, one of our outstanding investigative operations involved our detectives in the upper Keys area who organized an extremely successful burglary sting operation with the full cooperation of the business owner who was the intended target. The investigators had received information that a teenager was going to break into Boater's World in Key Largo. They arranged to be waiting inside the business that night, with the back door unlocked and the alarm turned off.

    When the would-be burglar entered the business, they arrested him for burglary and attempted theft. Teamwork and cooperation between law enforcement and a citizen helped prevent a crime from taking place. My special thanks go out to Detective Dillon Corr, along with the rest of the upper Keys gang for their hard work on this case.

    I want to use this example to suggest that everyone step back and take a look at their involvement with the safety and security of our County. Without the tip, or information, which let detectives know this crime was going to occur and without the cooperation of the business owner, we could not have done our job and prevented this crime.

    If you hear anything which leads you to believe a crime might happen, I hope you also will pick up the phone and call the Sheriff's Office to report the information. You can call Sheriff's Office dispatchers with the information at 289-2401 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys at 1-800-346-TIPS. Either way, we will follow up your tip and you may be helping to prevent a crime.


    General News

    Sheriff's Office participates in Turkey Point Drill

    The Sheriff's Office and Monroe County Emergency Management, along with many other County divisions from Public Safety to Public Works, participated in a Turkey Point Nuclear Plant drill in February. The drill, evaluated this year by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was a successful one.

    The drill is designed to test the County's readiness to respond in the event that there is an emergency at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. The plant is located in southeastern Dade County, just a few miles from the Ocean Reef Club and Card Sound Road, the two areas which would most likely be effected should there ever be a release of radiation from the plant. Drills such as this one are held yearly, with evaluated drills taking place every other year.

    Representatives from Monroe County Emergency Management and the Sheriff's Office are present during the drill at both FPL's headquarters building in Miami, and staffing the Emergency Operations Center in Key Largo. From those two locations, decisions are made about how to respond to the simulated emergency and simulated news releases and press conferences are held to practice notifying the public about the events.

    Also present at the drill are FPL representatives, representatives from Miami-Dade County, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (during the evaluated drills) and representatives from the State of Florida. All the agencies practice coordinating their responses to the simulated emergency. Although the possibility of such an emergency occurring is not likely, everyone must be prepared just in case.

    Residents of Monroe County who live in areas which could be effected, Ocean Reef, Card Sound Road and, possibly, those living on State Road 905, should be aware they are living in the vicinity of a Nuclear Power Plant. FPL mails out a special booklet which warns residents of the possibility of , and gives them detailed information about how they can keep themselves and their families safe in such an emergency.

    For more information, or to obtain a booklet, you can contact FPL at 305-442-8770 or contact Monroe County Emergency Management at 305-289-6018.

    Crime up slightly in 2002

    According to numbers compiled by our Crime Analysis Unit, for the first time in 12 years crime rose slightly in Monroe County. Monroe County's biggest increases were in thefts of personal property, including thefts of motor vehicle parts and general theft. The Sheriff's Office has been seeing many thefts of boat motors and boat motor parts in the past year, and this trend has certainly affected the numbers.

    On a positive note, the County did see a considerable decrease in burglaries, rapes, shoplifting cases, and theft from automobiles. People are becoming more conscious of ways they can keep themselves safer and make their homes and cars more secure. The only way the Sheriff's Office can do its job adequately is with the help of the public: if you do everything you can to make yourself, your family and your belongings less of a target, it will give the criminals out there less of an opportunity to make you a victim.

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement tracks Major Crimes in the State and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office is required to report the numbers of these crimes on a monthly and yearly basis. Below are the crime statistics we have reported to FDLE for 2002. If you would like to view crime statistics month by month, you can do so by visiting our Crime Statistics web pages.
     

    Type of Crime 2002 2001
       
    HOMICIDE 2 1
    MANSLAUGHTER 0 0
    FORCE RAPE 11 28
    FORCE SODOMY 1 0
    FORCE FONDLING 30 19
    ROBBERY 33 44
    AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 207 213
    AGGRAVATED STALKING 7 7
    BURGLARY 468 505
    POCKET PICKING 1 4
    PURSE SNATCHING 3 0
    SHOPLIFTING 151 212
    THEFT FROM MOTOR VEHICLE 366 403
    THEFT OF MOTOR VEHICLE PARTS 305 213
    THEFT OF BICYCLE 148 152
    THEFT FROM BUILDING 329 324
    THEFT COIN OPERATED VENDING MACHINE 9 16
    ALL OTHER LARCENY 764 611
    AUTO THEFT 151 150
    SIMPLE ASSAULT 1053 1062
    SIMPLE STALKING 19 5
    INTIMIDATE 1 20
    ARSON 8 2
       
    TOTALS 4067 3991

     

    New Program reduces recidivism:
    Shoplifters Alternative

    The Sheriff's Office, through our Juvenile Diversion Civil Citation Program, provides an educational opportunity to Juvenile retail theft offenders designed to stop them from re-offending. The Program is Shoplifters Alternative.  According to Shoplifters Alternative, the Courts and Diversion programs utilizing their educational material have a documented recidivism rate of less than 3% nationally.

    When a child is apprehended for shoplifting the retailer can request that the Sheriff’s Deputy or other law enforcement officer issue a Civil Citation rather than make an arrest. Under this alternative program, the retailer does not need to make a court appearance. Issuance of the Civil Citation by Law Enforcement sets in motion a process that brings the child to Shoplifters Alternative in a short time.

    Everyone benefits! Law enforcement benefits the Civil Citation alternative allows the responding officer to quickly return to patrol activities.  The Juvenile Court system benefits  because cases are diverted from the court, thereby reducing its caseload and allowing the Court to turn its attention to other delinquent activity.  And finally, the retailer benefits:  rather than simply releasing the juvenile shoplifter with a warning that often falls on deaf ears, a significant step is taken to solve the problem of shoplifting and keep the juvenile offender from committing future crimes. 

    Remember, when you release a seemingly contrite youth without significant consequence, your generosity may only reinforce a myth. When the threat fades most youthful shoplifters will embrace the myth sustaining continuance of the shoplifting behavior: “I can always talk my way out of it….”

    If you have any questions about the program please contact the Monroe County Sheriff’s Juvenile Diversion Program’s Case Managers. Click their names to send email, or call them at the following numbers:  Karol Cotton in the Lower Keys at 292-7130 or Craig Johnson in the Middle and Upper Keys at 853-3211.

    To learn more about our Juvenile Diversion programs, including IDDS, Teen Court and the Civil Citation Program, visit our Juvenile Diversion web page.

     

     

     

    Fundraiser is legitimate

    With all of the fraudulent practices of fundraising organizations in the news, Sheriff Roth would like residents to know that the letters going out under his name on behalf of the Florida Sheriffs Association are legitimate.

     

    There are a number of organizations that have formed in recent years with similar-sounding names, but Sheriff Roth warns citizens to be wary of them, especially when they use high-pressure telemarketing tactics.

     

    "The Florida Sheriffs Association is not only an honorable organization to support, it directly impacts public safety in this county," Sheriff Roth said.  "FSA provides specialized training, special task forces and legislative and legal services that we wouldn't have access to otherwise."  He says that because FSA unites the efforts of all Sheriffs' Offices in the state, citizens enjoy a significant cost savings for better quality policing.

     

    All fundraising by the FSA is done through U.S. Mail. FSA adamantly opposes the use of telemarketers in promoting membership and does not sell or rent their membership list to outside organizations or companies.

    If you receive a telephone solicitation from anyone claiming to be from the Florida Sheriffs Association – please be aware that this is a fraudulent call.  Report it immediately by calling:  1-800-877-2168, or sending an e-mail to:  information@flsheriffs.org. 

     

    Residents who do not receive a letter from the Sheriff on behalf of the Florida Sheriffs Association, may show their support of local law enforcement by mailing their name, address and a $20 check to:  Membership, Florida Sheriffs Association, P.O. Box 12519, Tallahassee, FL  32317-2519. For further background, you may also visit the Florida Sheriffs Association web site:  www.flsheriffs.org.

     

    The Florida Sheriffs Association is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of the 67 Sheriffs of Florida, business leaders and citizens throughout the state.  Its headquarters are in Tallahassee, Florida.  For more information, contact FSA at:  850-877-2165.

     

    Special Events and Announcements:

    • The Sheriff's Office will be hosting it's annual Easter Celebration at the Stock Island Children's Animal Farm on Sunday, April the 6th, from 2pm until 4pm. Mark the date on your calendar and plan to bring the family for a visit with all the animals, as well as the Easter Bunny!
    • The Sheriff's Office will hold it's annual Employee of the Year Ceremony Friday, March 21st, at  2 p.m. at the Marathon Government Center. The ceremony will honor those employees chosen as the most exemplary in five separate categories: Sworn Law Enforcement, Sworn Corrections, Reserve Deputy, Cadet/Explorer and Support. The public is welcome to attend!
    • We have received the following notice from the Florida Department of Transportation. There may be traffic delays and/or slowdowns due to this work: The lanes on the Overseas Highway at Tom’s Harbor Channel (mile marker 60.1) will be shifted weekdays, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, March 3, 2003 through April 4, 2003. Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority crews will be performing utility work.


     

    Crime Prevention Tip of the Month:

    Bicycle Safety

    When riding on a street or highway, bicycles are subject to the same laws as motor vehicles. Before riding a bicycle, you should be aware of those rules and laws.

    One law often violated by bicyclists is riding the wrong way on a one way street. Under Florida law, directional signs on streets must be complied with by both motorized and by pedal powered vehicles.

    Bicyclists must also obey other traffic signs and lights. A bicycle must come to a full stop at stop signs, and must stop at red lights until the light turns green. When a bicyclist is stopped at a stop sign or traffic light, he or she must wait in line with all the other vehicles that are stopped. Passing cars on the right hand side and riding to the front of the line is against the law.

    Bicycles, like cars, must yield the right of way to pedestrians in cross walks. If a bicyclist rides on the side walk, he or she must yield to pedestrians, and must give an audible warning signal when approaching from behind.

    Two people may not ride on a bicycle, unless the bike is made to carry two people. An adult may carry a small child in a backpack or sling or in a child seat properly fixed to the frame of the bicycle.

    After sunset, a bicyclist is required to have a white headlight on the front, visible from a distance of 500 feet. The bicycle must also have a red taillight or reflector visible from 600 feet away. Hand held flashlights do not count as headlights under the law.

    Wear that Bike Helmet!

    The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind you that beginning January 1st, 1998 law enforcement officers in Monroe County started issuing non moving traffic citations to bicycle riders and passengers under 16 years of age who are not wearing properly fitted and secured bicycle helmets meeting nationally recognized standards. This includes children riding in a trailer or semi-trailer attached to a bicycle.

    The law also prohibits a bicycle from carrying more people than it was designed to carry. Passengers under four years old, weighing 40 pounds or less, must be secured in a carrier designed to hold a child that age and size to protect the child from moving.

    Some other points to remember while riding a bike:

    • Under Florida law, a bicyclist may not hang on to another moving vehicle while on a roadway.
    • A bicyclist traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic should ride as close as possible to the right hand edge of the road.
    • A bicyclist should keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.
    • Under Florida law, bicyclists may not ride more than two abreast on roadways.
    • Bicycles are often hard to see, and riders must be extra careful to watch over their own safety. By the time someone else sees a bike, it is often too late.
    • If you are caught violating Florida law, the fines for moving traffic violations can be substantial.
    • A bicyclist must not wear a headset, head phones or other listening devices (other than a hearing aid) when riding. Wearing such devices blocks out important sounds needed to detect the presence of other traffic.
       
     

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    This web site was last updated Thursday February 26, 2004


     
    Labelled with ICRA