Division............................................September 2003 Edition
Administrative Changes, Budget Hearings
Due to the impending retirement of
our second-in-command at the Sheriff's Office, Colonel
Bill McDonald, there have been some administrative changes made
at the Sheriff's Office recently.
I'm pleased to announce that Rick Ramsay,
formerly Captain of the Sector One Freeman Substation on Cudjoe Key, has been
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and will replace Colonel McDonald when he leaves
at the end of the year.
Taking his place as the Captain
in Sector One is Chad Scibilia, who was the Lieutenant of the Special
Investigations Division, where he supervised detectives working general cases
throughout the Keys, as well as supervising our Narcotics Investigators, Crimes
Against Women and Children's Unit and our Homicide Investigation Squad.
|Colonel Bill McDonald
||Lt. Colonel Rick Ramsay
Colonel McDonald leaves us after 21 years
with the Sheriff’s Office. Hired by Sheriff William “Billy” Freeman in 1982 as a
deputy, Colonel McDonald was promoted to sergeant in January of 1985 and
detective sergeant in November of the same year. He became the Lieutenant at the
Marathon Substation in 1986, and a Captain at Marathon in 1989. He was appointed
to the position of Colonel in January of 1990.
Taking his place in January, and temporarily
holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel until then, is Rick Ramsay. Lt. Colonel
Ramsay was hired in 1987 as a deputy. He became a sergeant in 1991, then a
detective sergeant in 1998. He was promoted to lieutenant in January of 2000,
then Captain of Operations in the Bureau of Corrections in 2001. He held that
position for a year before transferring to Captain of the Cudjoe Substation in
January of 2002.
Taking over as Captain of the Cudjoe
Substation is Chad Scibilia, who is transferring from a position of Lieutenant
of the Special Investigations Division. Captain Scibilia was hired as a
Corrections Officer in November of 1985. He transferred to road patrol as a
deputy in 1987, becoming a sergeant in 1989. In 1999, he was promoted to
Lieutenant at the Marathon Substation. He transferred to the Special
Investigations Division as Lieutenant in February of 2001.
“I’m sorry to see Bill leave the agency but I
know he’s looking forward to his retirement,” said Sheriff Rick Roth. “He’s been
with the Sheriff’s Office for a long time and has been with me as my second in
command since I became Sheriff. I’m looking forward to working with Lt. Colonel
Rick Ramsay. He’s young, dynamic and will be a tremendous asset to the agency as
The County Commission will be
holding three budget hearings in September. I have asked for a modest 2.4% raise
for our employees this year. It is possible that this amount could be reduced if
the County Commission decides to use some of the money earmarked for the raise
to keep the cost of health insurance benefits lower, another issue that is
important to all of us here at the Sheriff's Office.
We already have a high employee
turnover, and have trouble competing with other South Florida law enforcement
agencies when it comes to rates of pay and benefit packages. Denying our
employees this modest raise could make an already difficult situation even more
and other issues important to the budget process will be decided at the three
September 3rd, Harvey Government Center, 5
September 10th, Key Largo Library, 5 p.m.
September 17th, Marathon Government Center,
The Sheriff's Office would
appreciate any support you can give us at these meetings, or
with the County Commissioner that represents your area of the
and stay safe.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $500.00 cash reward for
information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who stole a
newly rebuilt marine diesel engine from Marathon in early July.
Detective Lionel Vargas is investigating the theft of the
motor, which is estimated to be worth at least $20,000.00. The motor was
taken from Keys Boat Works in Marathon. It was last seen the evening of
July 9th. According to reports by Detective Vargas, the motor was most
likely taken with the help of some type of hydraulic lifting device,
because it weighs approximately 2,200 pounds. It is described as a 3208
Caterpillar engine with a rebuilt marine diesel transmission on it made by
Anyone with information about the theft should contact
Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest in the
case, the caller will receive a reward of $500.00. The Crime Stoppers hot
line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.
Crime Stoppers would also like to remind everyone that a
cash reward is offered for information leading to any felony arrest,
including the theft of any boat motor valued at over $300.00. In the past,
there have been numerous boat motor thefts throughout the Keys, including
a 250 hp engine stolen last week from Action Marine in Key Largo. Most of
the motor theft cases are still under investigation.
Callers to the Crime Stoppers hot line may remain
completely anonymous, even when collecting a cash reward and the hot line
operates 24 hours a day seven days a week. Call 1-800-346-TIPS.
Nine vehicles burglarized in Key Largo
Sheriff’s detectives are investigating nine vehicle
burglaries which took place at an upper Keys auto repair business August
An employee of Wheaton’s Service Center in Key Largo
reported to work Tuesday morning, only to find that nine vehicles parked
at the business had been broken into overnight. A large amount of property
was taken during the break ins, primarily stereo equipment.
Anyone with information about this case should call the
Sheriff’s Office. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime
Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the
caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line
number is 1-800-346-TIPS.
By Sgt. John Barber, Supervisor of the School
Deputy William Schlegelmilch is
the new School Resource Officer (SRO) for Key Largo School. Will is already hard at work
- he recently completed the first ever two week long combined SRO, Elementary
DARE and Middle School DARE Training. These three courses have always been
offered separately. Combining them is saving law enforcement agencies both time
School is back in
full swing and there have been some changes. As most of you probably know we now
have a new superintendent of schools, John Padget. We also have 3 new
principals; Barbara Wright at Marathon High School, Leslie Messier at Switlik
School and Bruce King at Coral Shores High School. I look forward to working
with all of them this school year.
School Crossing Guards have
found a new home in the Community Relations Division. We would like to
welcome Blanca Rodriguez to the Crossing Guard ranks. Blanca is the new Crossing
Guard at Islamorada. We also welcome back Deputy Vincent Catala to the Sheriff’s
Office, in the School Crossing Guard unit. Vince has been hired by the Sheriff to supervise the guards working at
schools in the city of Key West, as well as filling a guard position himself.
Vince has been doing a fantastic job training, supervising and administrating
this diverse group. The guards up the Keys will be supervised by none other than
yours truly. I am excited about the opportunity to work with each of the 4
guards up the Keys.
Anyone who has any questions or concerns
about School Resource Officers, the programs they offer at area schools, or
about School Crossing Guards, feel free to contact me anytime via email at
email@example.com or in my office,
Art Behind Bars,
the art-based community service program for inmates, is pleased to announce
that it will celebrate its "9th Birthday Party Show" on Friday, September
19th, 2003, at the Pier House Resort's Caribbean Spa from 6-9 p.m. In addition
to showcasing the artwork and community service projects of the local program,
highlights of the event will include a show of inmate art from all over the
country, and a silent auction featuring the work of local and national
artists. The work of Art After Bars will also be shown. There will be food,
live entertainment, and of course, birthday cake.
Art Behind Bars is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All proceeds from
the event go back into the program; this is their major fundraiser of the
year. The event is sponsored in part by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office,
Florida Arts Council, Division of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment of the
Arts, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, and private donations. For more
information, check out their website at
www.artbehindbars.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrol and Operations
Sheriff’s Office members and our Upper Keys
Neighborhood Crime Watch groups came together for a very
successful National Night Out event on August 5 at Key Largo
Community Park. This event was intended to draw all our crime
watch groups together, to provide educational materials about
crime prevention and other services the sheriff’s office
offers, and to encourage others to learn more about the
effectiveness of neighborhood crime watch. In all ways the
event was extremely successful. We estimated a turnout of
about 300 people.
There are so many people to thank for this
outcome – not the least of which are our own Sergeants Don
Fanelli and Lou Caputo who worked hard all day long in
preparation for the event. Deputy Sean Heffron was our master
chef and he, along with Sgt. Fanelli churned out a constant
stream of hamburgers and hot dogs until we ran out. Their
able assistants, Beth Kohl and Bethany Fanelli were invaluable
to this effort. Deputy Andrew Leird helped Sgt. Caputo with
the kids games – also a big hit.
Records Supervisor Peggy Bryan and Clerk Carol
Johnson, Crime Scene Detective Bobby Haynes, Detective
Sergeant Corey Bryan, and juvenile programs member Craig
Johnson all were on hand to provide information to the
All deputies and supervisors assigned to the
Upper Keys worked that night (on their time off) to provide
additional police coverage in neighborhoods while residents
were at the park. There presence went a long way to making
people feel more comfortable leaving their neighborhoods in
droves to attend the event.
Key Largo and Tavernier Fire Departments
provided heat relief in the form of sprays of water over the
fields. Kids and adults took advantage of this quick way to
beat the heat. Key Largo Fire also delivered the chairs and
tables and helped take them away after the event.
watch groups were such a great help. They suffered our
planning meetings and were always ready with suggestions for
the event. The side dishes and baked goods, and the very
popular popcorn machine were all donated by crime watch
groups. And our thanks go out once again to Winn Dixie and
Publix who never fail to come through for us. Mike Deckert at
Winn Dixie and Tom Moore of Publix are two very special, very
We are charged up for next years’ event and
look forward to having even more participation from the new
crime watch groups we’ll sign up this year.
Upper Keys citizens browse through crime prevention
information at the National Night Out in Key Largo
Community Relations Director Greg Artman stands by to
answer questions about crime prevention.
||Many people may not know that Florida
statutes prohibit the use of golf carts on any state or
local roadway. The number of golf carts being used to
traverse neighborhoods and the bike path seems to be
growing throughout the Keys and, while they may be a
convenient mode of transportation, they are also dangerous
when used where vehicles also travel.
We’ve seen children using golf carts
increasingly in neighborhoods. Parents should recognize the
danger this presents to their children. There is no
protection when a golf cart overturns, which happens
frequently, even at the low speeds they travel, and there’s no
protection when they are struck by other vehicles.
Sheriff’s deputies in the Upper Keys will be
closely monitoring the use of golf carts and educating people
about the restrictions on their use. But after warnings have
been given, citations will be issued if a second violation is
|We continue to struggle with boat and
boat motor thefts throughout the Keys. Please keep your
eyes and ears open for suspicious vehicles, boats, or
people in your neighborhood and don’t hesitate to call to
have a deputy come check it out. We’d much rather have it
turn out to be nothing than to discover a crime after the
Note: Last week, detectives in the upper Keys
were successful in arrested three men who were stealing a boat
and outboard motor.
Click here for details of the arrests.
During the month of July we have two major events for the
Village. The 4th of July is always a busy weekend for us with the influx of
visitors. The “Sand Bar” was packed as usual, but no major incidents occurred.
The latter half of the month was dominated by the annual lobster sport season,
which took place on July 30 & 31. Islamorada implemented a new ordinance this
year which prohibited diving within 300 feet of shore and in man made canals and
boat basins. This seemed to alleviate a lot of the problems we have experienced
in the past with diving along the shoreline. Deputy Nelson Sanchez apprehended a
subject diving in Venetian Shores. Upon seeing the patrol boat the suspect
dropped his dive bag full of shorts and Nelson dropped his gun belt, donned his mask and fins and went “in deep”
after the evidence. The suspect was charged with possessing short lobster and
obstruction. Way to go Nelson above and beyond.
Sergeant Williams has worked hard to get the bicycle patrol up
and running. We now have two outfitted patrol bicycles purchased with community
donations. We would like to thank Kenny McKenny of Theater of the Sea for his
generous donation as well as all others in the community who contributed to make
this program a reality.
We would like to welcome Deputy Alvin Burns and Deputy Ann
Latham to the Islamorada Sector. Deputy Burns comes to us from South Alabama. He has many years of law enforcement experience and even did a
stint in Kosovo with the UN-IPTF. Deputy Latham has been around the agency for several years as an
Auxiliary Deputy, but recently graduated from the basic law enforcement academy in Key West
to become fully certified to work as a deputy sheriff. She
retired from the US Coast Guard after 20 years with that agency and brings with
her a wealth of knowledge and world experience.
Welcome to our newest deputies, Alice Cervantes, Lester
Greenwood and Gregg Johnson. Alice has already succeeded in graduated from our
12 week field training officer program and Lester and Gregg are well on their
way to the same distinction.
Another Lobster Mini-season has come and gone.
Sergeant Suzanne Morgan headed up a special enforcement program of sting
operations for three nights. The Special Investigations Division and the
Marathon Detective Unit supported the effort. Also, Deputies Willie Guerra, Derrick
Paul and Harry Boyden worked “lobster duty” and between them made 13 arrests (NTA’s)
and countless boat inspections and cooler checks.
Reserve Sergeant Dave Campbell has some new enforcement
partners to help him with his mission to rid the city of inconsiderate drivers
who park in disabled spaces. Reserve Deputies Ken Groat and Lynn Faircloth are
now out there finding the scofflaws and tagging their cars. I have received countless thank-yous from community
members and the Monroe County Council for Persons with Disabilities for their
efforts. If you did not know it, all of the time spent by these exemplary
deputies is volunteer time, including any court time they may incur. That is
what I call true commitment to our community.
Get In Stride and Stay
Safe: Safety Tips for Runners and Walkers
In the Florida
Keys, the year round sunny weather allows for year round outside
exercise. Each year more and more people take up running and walking
because it is a quick, inexpensive way to stay fit. If you travel
often, running or walking is an excellent way to maintain your
exercise regimen. Here are few pointers to help you keep safe when you
hit the road.
Before You Leave
Plan your outing.
Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Tell
friends and family of your favorite exercise routes.
telephones are located along the course.
identification tag or carry a driver's license. If you don't have a
place to carry your ID, write your name, phone number, and blood type on
the inside of your athletic shoe. Include any medical information.
Don't wear jewelry
or carry cash.
personnel protection device like pepper spray. You can actually get
a device with the pepper spray built into your
jogging workout weights.
On the Road
Tell a family
member or friend where you are going and the time you expect to be back.
Stay alert at all
times. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
Run or walk with a
partner or a dog.
headsets. If you wear them you won't hear an approaching car or
attacker. Listen to your surroundings.
a cellular phone.
familiar areas. Know which businesses or stores are open.
Vary your route.
areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Especially avoid poorly
lighted areas at night.
Run clear of
parked cars or bushes.
harassment. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at
others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles.
intuition about a person or an area. React based on that intuition and
avoid areas you feel unsure about.
Be careful if
anyone in a car asks you for directions—if you answer, keep at least a
full arm's length from the car.
If you think you
are being followed, change direction and head for open stores, theaters,
or a lighted house.
Have your door key
ready before you reach your home.
immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice
anyone out of the ordinary. It is also a good idea to check with police
about any criminal activity in the area you plan to run.
and walkers get lulled into a "zone" where they are so focused on their
exercise they lose track of what's going on around them. This state can
make runners and walkers more vulnerable to attacks. Walk and run with
confidence and purpose. If you get bored running without music, practice
identifying characteristics of strangers and memorizing license tags to
keep you from "zoning out."
Walking in the Evening or Early Morning
OK, so you missed
the opportunity to exercise during the light of day, but you still want to
get in a quick three miles before turning in for the night or before the
sun rises. The best advice when exercising while it's dark is to get off
the streets and head to the security of a well-lighted outdoor track or
consider running on an indoor track or tread mill. If you are a walker,
consider laps around an indoor shopping mall. If these options are not
available or just aren't for you, consider these tips before heading out:
Make sure people
can see you: Think about where you are going and how well lighted it may
or may not be. Going out at dusk or at night is dangerous without some
type of reflective device on your clothing. Many athletic shoes have
reflective qualities built in, but also consider a vest complete with
Watch the road:
Wet or icy spots are considerably harder to see in the dark.
Keep alert. Dawn
and dusk offer convenient shadows for muggers and other crooks.
Away From Home
Many people have
taken up running and walking so that they will be able to exercise when
they are traveling. Remember just because you are away from home doesn't
mean you can let your guard down when you exercise.
Check with the
hotel staff or concierge to find safe routes for exercise. If there is
not an acceptable place to exercise outdoors, see if the hotel can
arrange access to a health club or gym.
with your exercise course before you start. Get a map and study it.
street address of the hotel. Carry a card with your hotel address along
with your personal ID.
Leave your room
key with the front desk.
Follow your usual
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