Hurricane season is almost here. In two weeks, our agency will be participating in a state-wide hurricane drill in which Monroe County will face a storm which travels the length of the Keys and devastates a large portion of our area. The scenario presented in this drill should remind us all how important it is for everyone to have a personal hurricane plan that can quickly be put in play should a hurricane approach the Keys.
Make sure to plan what you and your family will do in the event that a hurricane approaches. Think about the different possible scenarios that might arise.
It could be a minor storm with no evacuation required. If that is the case, consider the safety and comfort of your family. Make sure the place you plan to ride out the storm is a secure one; make sure you have adequate supplies for before, during and after a storm. Keep in mind that you may be without power and/or clean water for some time, depending on the storm's severity.
The storm may be a severe one which requires the Emergency Operations Center to issue an evacuation order. If that is the case, make sure you know where you will evacuate to. Keep in mind there is limited space in mainland shelters. It is best to have another destination in mind, maybe with friends or relatives in another part of the state. If your family plans to split up, with some leaving and some staying during a storm, decide now how you will communicate with each other. Decide at what point those who evacuated will return to the Keys. Will they come back as soon as they are allowed to, or will they stay away until electricity and water are restored? Make sure the person who is staying has a safe place to ride out the storm and plenty of supplies for the aftermath.
When making these decisions, remember that during and after a storm, there is no guarantee that emergency services will be available. Law Enforcement, Fire/Rescue and other emergency services will only respond to calls for help when it is safe to do so. At some point, during a storm, when winds get too high, all emergency services employees will be pulled off the road because it will no longer be safe for them to operate. Also, there is no guarantee that hospitals will be operational either, and certainly we can expect to have some disruptions in power, telephone and cell phone operation, water, cable and satellite service.
Now is the time to talk with your family about hurricanes. Don't put it off until a storm is threatening.
We have quite a bit of useful information about planning for a hurricane on our web site. Visit our Tropical Storm and Hurricane section and I think you'll find many things that will help you and your family prepare.
Take care, and stay safe.
Dive Team members participate in Security Training
In the photos: Members of the Sheriff's Office Underwater Search and Recovery Team participating in training to learn how to search pier pilings for underwater explosive devices.
Two members of the Sheriff's Office Underwater Search & Recovery Team recently completed the first of a series of two-week long Anti-Terrorism Underwater Port Security Courses in Key West. Deputy Winfred Higgins and Detective Mark Coleman were trained in advanced techniques involving searching for and identifying destructive or parasitic devices below the waterline around ship hulls, docks, piers, and bridges.
Some of the training included mapping potential target areas that could be subject to terrorist attacks by sea, and strategic planning in detecting and preventing such attacks. In addition to utilizing full-face masks with underwater communication systems and tethers, the students gained hands-on experience with other specialized equipment such as side-scan sonar, ROV camera, and magnetometer.
Key West has one of the busiest seaports in the country. While land-based security measures have been taken to prevent potential terrorist attacks, security below the surface is also important. The destructive potential of a relatively small mine placed under a cruise ship hull or below a seawall could mean significant damage, disruption of operations and potential loss of life. Disabling or sinking a ship in the main ship channel would disrupt harbor traffic long enough create a major strain on the maritime industry.
The many bridges spanning the Florida Keys are also vulnerable. Therefore, it’s crucial that police dive teams learn to search for and identify destructive devices below the surface. Major Florida seaports such as the Port of Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, and the Port of Tampa have already implemented security plans. These plans include the use of dive teams for security below the surface. Monroe County recognizes the necessity of such plans for security in the area of the Florida Keys and the Sheriff's Office Underwater Search & Recovery Team is always prepared to respond should the necessity arise.
Instruction was conducted by Sheriff's Office Reserve Lt. Bob Smith, Reserve Lt. Robert Jason, other FKCC Dive School staff, and former members of the U.S. Navy E.O.D. Dive Team members from Key West Police Department, FWC, and from other agencies around the state participated and it is anticipated that by year’s end, all members of the MCSO Dive Team will have completed this training.
Commercial Emergency Contact form now available on-line
The Sheriff's Office Commercial Emergency Contact form is now available on the Sheriff's office web site. Business owners and managers can choose to fill the form out on-line, or download it, fill it out and mail it in. Anyone who has contact with area businesses should mention the availability of the form, and the importance of keeping such information up to date with our agency.
Sheriff's Office Communications Director Anne Leonard says the information can be crucial when something happens at a business after hours and law enforcement needs to find someone responsible for a commercial property.
"If we have a break-in at a business, or a fire or some other emergency, we need to be able to find someone fast who can respond and help us deal with the problem," she said. If there is no information on file with the Sheriff's Office, or if the information is out of date, dispatchers may have to waste valuable time trying to find a person responsible.
"If a burglar breaks a window, or damages a door to the extent that it cannot be closed or locked, we need to be able to call someone who can take responsibility for securing the premises," she said. "We also need information about alarm systems, and about the business itself, such as what types of products they carry. All of this information will help us better handle situations that might arise at commercial properties after hours."
Employment with the Sheriff's Office
Detention Records Asst.: Applicant needs to be self-motivated, able to multi-task, type, and have good communication skills. We currently have openings on our 3pm - 11pm shift & 11pm - 7am shift. Responsibilities for the position include production, maintenance and processing of accurate, timely and complete records on information relating to a wide variety of law enforcement, corrections and court process activities. Applicants can contact Kristie at the Monroe County Sheriffs Office at 292-7044 or send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> or fax to (305) 292-7159. EEO/AAP.
Communications Officer - Marathon: Monroe County Sheriffs Office is looking for a Communications Officer in Marathon. Job duties include responding to emergency 911 calls, provides pre-arrival instructions for medical emergencies, and dispatches units to appropriate locations. Ability to perform multi-tasks accurately, efficiently, and simultaneously. Applicants can contact Kristie at 292-7044 or send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> or fax to (305) 292-7159. EEO/AAP.
Inventory Specialist I: Works with inventory to include receiving deliveries at the loading dock, stocking inventory items, delivering items to departments. Performs inventory counts. Supervises one inmate. High school diploma or GED required. One year experience working with inventories required. Ability to perform physical tasks to include lifting up to 75 lbs. Computer experience preferred. Applicants can contact Kristie at the Monroe County Sheriffs Office at 292-7044 or send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> or fax to (305) 292-7159. EEO/AAP.
Finance Assistant - Accounts Payable: High school diploma required with a minimum of two years of experience in processing accounts payable. Must be detailed oriented and exhibit a high degree of accuracy. Work includes coding of invoices, obtain required approvals, match invoices with PO’s and other required documentation, verifies supporting details for each transaction appropriate for audit trail, data entry, processing checkruns, contact vendors, and other duties. Ability to use microcomputer applications to complete the functions. Applicants can contact Kristie at the Monroe County Sheriffs office at 292-7044 or send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (305) 292-7159. EEO/AAP
Marathon will benefit from Sheriff's Office patrol boat
The City of Marathon will benefit from a Sheriff's Office patrol boat purchased with drug forfeiture funds.
The vessel is a 25 foot AquaScan Rigid Hull Inflatable powered by a 225 HP Mercury outboard which will be assigned to the City of Marathon for patrolling near shore waters and assisting in other water-bound missions citywide. Funding for the boat is from Federal drug forfeiture funds, including $41,000 for the boat itself, $10,534 for the motor and $5,112 in miscellaneous outfitting costs. Sheriff's Deputy Harry Boyden will fill the position of Marine Deputy in Marathon.
In the photo, Sheriff Rick Roth hands the keys to the new Marathon Sheriff’s Patrol Boat to Deputy Harry Boyden .Also pictured are John Repetto, former City Councilman who spearheaded the efforts to get the City this boat and a Marine Deputy position, Mayor Jeff Pinkus, Marina dock master Richard Tanner and Captain Bob Peryam.
Marathon park to host Tropical Fruit Fiesta in June
University of Florida/IFAS/Monroe County Extension is organizing the Sixth Annual Florida Keys Tropical Fruit Fiesta for June 26 at Sombrero Beach Park in Marathon. This is the first year the Fiesta will be held in Marathon. Sponsors are being sought to help support this popular community event. Sponsors already committed include Banana Bay Resorts, Marine Bank, Dot Palm, the Keynoter, Spottswood Companies, Gonzales Landscaping, Coconut Cay Resort, D’Asign Source, and Crystal Bay Resort.Fun activities include free expert lectures, homegrown fruit contest, trees for sale, kid’s fun, booksigning, ice cream, food, and more. To get involved, call the County Extension Services at 305-292-4501.
A new 4H agent, Kimberly Coldicott has been hired. Her main foci are general program expansion and to recruit volunteers and advisory committee members for the youth program. This is a great opportunity for adults in the community to get involved as leaders and mentors for kids. Ms. Coldicott has 10 years experience in the 4H field. She can be reached at 305-853-7385 in the Key Largo County Extension Service Office.
In the photo: Caitlin enjoying the fruit trees at the Tropical Fruit Fiesta in 2003. Photo by Jonathan Weinshank
Crime Prevention Tip of the Month:
We recently had a woman robbed of her purse at a parking lot in the Upper Keys. Most of the time, this type of crime is preventable if you take a few precautions to keep yourself safe. Here is a list of things you can to to keep from being a victim of violent crimes such as robbery, or physical attack. Try to incorporate these into your daily life.
Be Streetwise and Safe
- Don’t walk alone if you can help it. Most violent crimes are directed against a lone victim.
- Avoid walking in risky areas such as deserted streets, wooded areas, and dark alleys or parking lots.
- Walk near the curb, on lighted streets at night, and against the traffic. Travel known routes.
- Never flash your cash in public - that’s just asking for trouble. Carry only the amount of money you actually need.
- Never hitchhike! People who pick up hitchhikers often have ideas other than wanting to help you.
- ALWAYS let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll return. If something should happen to you, they’ll call for help when you don’t show up.
- Carry change in your pocket in case you have to make an emergency phone call to family, a friend, or law enforcement. Remember that 911 calls are always free on pay phones and cellular phones as well.
- Try to park your car in well-lighted places. Always lock it when you leave - and look into and under the car before you get in to make sure you don’t have an uninvited passenger.
- Avoid walking near doorways, shrubbery, and other dark places where someone might hide.
- Walk confidently. Be alert - notice who passes you and who’s behind you.
- Keep your purse close to your body, covering the clasp or flap with your hand or forearm. Don’t carry open purses without flaps. Keep your credit cards separate from your wallet.
- Carry a whistle or other noisemaker. If in trouble, use it! Call for help! Muggers usually won’t hang around to see what happens next.
- Have your keys in your hand when leaving home or work. Not only will this save time opening the door, but keys make an excellent weapon, if need be.
- If working late, try to have a friend or security guard escort you to your car.
- If you want to help a disabled vehicle, don’t get out of the car. Drive to the nearest well-lighted area with a phone and call the Sheriff’s Office.
- Don’t pick up a hitchhiker under any circumstances.
- Don’t pull over for flashing headlights. An emergency vehicle or Law Enforcement Officer will have flashing red and/or blue lights.
- Be careful about your keys. Leave only the ignition key with parking or service station attendants. That way you won’t run the risk that your house keys will be duplicated.
If you get into trouble, know what to do
If you’re being followed don’t go directly home. Instead drive to the nearest Sheriff’s substation in your area, or to a hospital, or other public place. Make sure to take a good look at anyone who is acting suspiciously, or who may be following you.
If your car breaks down, pull over. Put up the hood, turn on the flashers, and tie a handkerchief to the antenna. Then get in the car, lock the doors, roll up the windows and TURN THE ENGINE OFF. When someone stops, roll your window down just enough to ask them to phone for help. If you have a cellular phone, use it to call for help.
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Questions or Comments?
Contact Deputy Becky Herrin, Public Information Officer and Web Author or Sheriff Richard Roth via e-mail
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This web site was last updated
April 26, 2004