The Monroe County Sheriff's Office Special Investigations Division is made up of investigators who specialize in various types of criminal investigations that require special skills and training to perform. General Case detectives are assigned to work specific Sectors; Special Unit detectives are assigned to work county-wide and many of their investigations are long-term and sensitive in nature.Captain Penny Phelps oversees the division, which is headed up by Lt. James Norman.
The units under his command include:
Vice and Narcotics
The Vice and Narcotics Unit is a specialized investigative unit which includes crime analysis and intelligence. The investigators assigned to the unit work closely with districts to address the needs of each area. They also analyze citizen tips and concerns, crime trends and other available data to determine where they can be most effective. The detectives, intelligence analyst and support personnel work for Detective Sergeant Juan Llera.
Some of the crimes targeted by this unit include:
Most investigations are drug-related but the unit is also involved in handling the following issues:
Major Crimes Unit
Headed up by Lt. James Norman, the Major Crimes Unit encompasses three different areas of investigation including crimes against women and children - primarily sexual abuse and child abuse, Homicide Investigations and Victim Advocates.
The Major Crimes Unit investigates homicides, sex crimes, computer crimes, missing juveniles, child pornography and related crimes, and includes the agency’s victim advocates. The Major Crimes unit also maintains records on registered sex offenders and conducts quarterly address verifications on offenders living in Monroe County.
This highly trained unit conducts investigations throughout Monroe County working closely with districts and with the public. The unit consists of five detectives, four victim advocates and one supervisor.
The unit investigators are certified with Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC), the National Child Abduction Response Team (CART), Department of Children and Families, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). They work closely with these and other agencies on many of their investigations.
When they aren’t working active investigations, Major Crimes investigators are involved with the homicide cold case squad. This squad also consists of retired law enforcement officers and FDLE investigators. The cold case squad continues to examine older homicide investigations, as new technology - and thus new information - becomes available.
Victim Advocates: There are four victim advocates working for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The advocates serve all of Monroe County and the city of Key West. The advocates assist victims of crimes committed in the county, in particular the victims of violent crimes. Advocates are available throughout the county at all times.
Some of the funding for the advocates comes from a grant from the Office of the Attorney General. Victim Advocates are an integral part of the criminal justice process, especially where arrests have been made. They are responsible for contact with victims and they assist during the trial process help to gain successful prosecution of defendants. Click here for more information about this program.
Homeland Security, Crime Analysis, Intelligence
This unit coordinates with the Regional Domestic Security Task Force and assists in the coordination of the regional strategic plan as outlined by the State of Florida Domestic Task Force. It is a liaison with various local, state and federal agencies on areas of domestic security and natural disasters.
The unit is also responsible for gathering, analyzing and disseminating information concerning known or suspected criminal activity including organized crime, gang members, terrorists, extremists, any dignitary-related activity, immigrant smuggling, homeland security, convicted felons, narcotic trends, Crime Stoppers tips, and general intelligence.