October, 2000 - December, 2000

For more information, contact Deputy Becky Herrin, Public Information Officer for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Her contact numbers are: office: (305)292-7116, digital pager: (305)334-0956, FAX: (305)292-7070 and e-mail: beckyherrin@keysso.net.


December 12, 2000

Buckle Up campaign a success

Monroe County – Buckle Up, Florida, a campaign designed to educate the public about the importance of using a safety belt and child safety seats, resulted in numerous warnings, citations and opportunities to teach people about safety.

Buckle Up, Florida is part of a nationwide effort – Buckle Up, America. The national campaign is sponsored by the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The Sheriff’s Office participated in the state and nation-wide effort, writing 29 safety belt citations and two citations for improper use of a child restraint between November 18th and November 26th. While deputies were concentrating primarily on safety belts and seats, they also issued 201 speeding citations, six reckless driving citations and made 4 DUI arrests while participating in the campaign.

A seat belt safety checkpoint set up at Coral Shores High School during that week resulted in 49 seat belt brochures handed out to those who were stopped and were not wearing safety belts. Officers at the checkpoint estimated 60 percent of those stopped were in compliance with the law.

December 7, 2000

Operation Exodus leads to Hibiscus Park arrests

Key Largo – A year long investigation into drug activity in the Hibiscus Park neighborhood of Key Largo has led to the arrest of 25 people on 77 separate charges. Dubbed “Operation Exodus”, the investigation was conducted by the Sheriff’s Special Investigation Division.

“We were responding to numerous complaints and concerns voiced by residents of the neighborhood,” said Special Investigations Lieutenant Rick Ramsey. “These residents simply want a clean, safe neighborhood to live in. They want the criminals who plague their streets put in jail, so we set out to do just that,” he said.

Over the past year, detectives from the Special Investigations Division have conducted numerous undercover investigations targeting drug dealers and other people connected to drug activity in Hibiscus Park. The result has been the arrest of 25 people on 77 warrants related to drug dealing and other criminal activity. More arrests and more charges are pending, including two people listed below who are wanted on outstanding warrants for selling cocaine.

 

Arrest Date

Name

Age

Residence

Charges

3/27/00

Sedrick Brooks

27

Florida City

2 counts Sale of Cocaine

3/1/00

David Cooper

21

Key Largo

7 counts Sale of Cocaine

4/10/00

Robert Whitehead

53

Key Largo

2 counts Sale of Cocaine

4/27/00

Dennis Cooper

19

Key Largo

2 counts Sale of Cocaine

3/1/00

James Wilson

21

Tavernier

Possession of Marijuana

Warrants Outstanding

Burges Gaston

21

Key Largo

Sale of Cocaine

6/30/00

Mattie Jones

68

Key Largo

Possession of Cocaine

Warrants Outstanding

Latisha Cooper

23

Key Largo

4 counts Sale of Cocaine

7/7/00

Melvin “Boozy” Johnson

31

Tavernier

Possession and Sale of Cocaine

8/29/00

Jonathan Taylor

29

Florida City

2 counts Sale of Cocaine

6/9/00

Shayon Bryant

26

Key Largo

2 counts Sale of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine

10/16/00

Curtis “At Ease” Walker

41

Key Largo

6 counts Sale of Cocaine

6/14/00

Terri Brinke

30

Key Largo

Sale of Cocaine

11/29/00

Henry “Renegade” Clark

25

Key Largo

6 counts Sale of Cocaine

10/3/00

David Johnson

40

Key Largo

2 counts Sale of Cocaine

9/27/00

Sammy Price

39

Key Largo

4 counts Sale of Cocaine

10/1/00

Banessa Leatherwood

21

Key Largo

Sale of Cocaine

9/19/00

Bernard “Bruno” Carter

21

Key Largo

5 counts Sale of Cocaine

11/8/00

Kenneth “Boogie” Crawford

34

Key Largo

2 counts Sale of Cocaine, Sale of Marijuana

10/27/00

Terry “Pete” Cooper

28

Key Largo

2 counts Sale of Cocaine, Trafficking in Cocaine

11/1/00

Tommy “June Bug” Cooper

30

Homestead

Sale of Cocaine

11/3/00

Tommy “Woodruff” Scott

32

Key Largo

3 counts Sale of Cocaine, Trafficking in Cocaine

10/5/00

Milo Whitehead

18

Key Largo

2 counts Sale of Cocaine

9/29/00

Anthony Fuller

32

Key Largo

4 counts Sale of Cocaine

10/5/00

Phillip Jones

21

Tavernier

6 counts Sale of Cocaine

10/4/00

Detrick “Joe” Whitehead

22

Key Largo

4 counts Sale of Cocaine

10/1/00

Demone McKinley

21

Key Largo

3 counts Sale of Cocaine

 

December 7, 2000

Emergency equipment to be staged north Jewfish Creek

Monroe County – Residents who live north of the Jewfish Creek Bridge should rest assured they will be taken care of during scheduled closures of the Jewfish Creek Bridge over coming weeks. The Sheriff’s Office, Fire/Rescue and Emergency Medical Services all have staged emergency equipment north of the Jewfish Creek bridge to ensure the safety and security of Monroe County residents who live there.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has at least one officer with a vehicle stationed north of the bridge who is available to respond to emergency calls. The Miami-Dade Police Department has agreed to assist in the event that more officers are needed.

Monroe County Fire/Rescue and Monroe County Emergency Medical Services have both a fire truck and an EMS First Response vehicle stationed north of the bridge ready to respond to emergency calls. They also have an agreement with Miami-Dade Fire/Rescue to respond simultaneously to any calls requiring a fire or medical unit.

Monroe County and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office officials say there should be no noticeable difference in the quality or quantity of service residents north of the bridge will see during the bridge closures.

December 6, 2000

Candlelight ceremony recalls accident victims

Islamorada - The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Islamorada, Village of Islands, request your presence at a candlelight service on December 14th at 5:00 p.m. at the Islamorada Village Hall, mm 87 Overseas Highway Islamorada, Fl.

This candlelight service will be a brief ceremony to remember those who have been tragically effected by impaired driving in our community. It will serve as a prelude to the National Holiday Lifesavers weekend, December 15- 17.   December 15th is “ Lights on for Life” Day which encourages drivers and law enforcement officers to drive with their headlights on throughout the day in remembrance of those who have been killed or injured by impaired drivers.  It also serves as a reminder that law enforcement is focusing on impaired driving during this National Holiday Lifesavers Weekend by staging sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.

Join with us at this special ceremony December 14th as we proclaim Dec. 15 – 17, National Holiday Lifesavers Weekend.

December 6, 2000

Deputy/Detective take on community project

Key Haven – Two Sheriff’s officers posted special “No Wake” signs in canals around Key Haven in an effort to make the neighborhood safer for boaters and residents.

Detective Henry Hamilton and Reserve Deputy Bob Jason posted the special signs recently, which were provided by Kim McGee, the Monroe County Marine Projects Coordinator. They replace old “no wake” signs, originally posted by the Key Haven Civic Association. The new signs are larger, more visible and are in compliance with county ordinances regulating man-made canals.

County ordinances governing no-wake zones and man-made canals read as follows:

Sec. 5.5-152.  Idle speed/no wake boating restricted area established

No person may operate a vessel at a speed in excess of idle speed/no wake in any residential man-made canal located in the Florida Keys portion of Monroe County, excluding the incorporated municipalities. A map reflecting the area affected by this article is attached as exhibit A and made a part of this article. The map must also be available to the public at the county department of marine resources.

(Ord. No. 35-1977, 2)

Sec. 5.5-153.  Regulatory signs and markers.

Signs describing the idle speed/no wake boating restricted areas set forth in Section 5.5-152 must be posted: (i) along U.S. Highway 1 near the county border and at least four (4) other locations along U.S. Highway 1 from the Upper keys to the Lower Keys; (ii) posted at public boat launching ramps; and (iii) at marinas whose operators wish to post such signs. The posted signs must be in accord with applicable state and federal laws and regulations. If any regulatory markers are placed in any of the residential man-made canals described in section 5.5-152, those markers must be in accord with applicable state and federal laws and regulations.

 

November 28, 2000

DUI Checkpoints, other safety efforts scheduled

Monroe County – In an effort to keep citizens on the roadway safe during this holiday season, the Sheriff’s Office is scheduling a number of events aimed at targeting unsafe drivers and drivers under the influence of alcohol.

       On December 9th, starting at 9 p.m., continuing until December 10th at 3 a.m. deputies will conduct a DUI Checkpoint in the area of Key Largo. Assisting in the effort will be the Sheriff’s Traffic Enforcement Division and Traffic Enforcement officers from the Homestead Police Department.

       On December 15th, starting at 10 p.m. and continuing until December 16th at 4 a.m. deputies will conduct a DUI Checkpoint in the Islamorada area.

       Deputies will also conduct “saturation patrols” over the weekend of December 15th – 17th during the National Holiday Lifesaver’s Weekend. All available deputies and traffic enforcement officers will be concentrating specifically on drunk drivers over that weekend, and violators will be subject to immediate arrest.

       December 15th is also “Lights on for Life” day, a day when drivers are asked to keep their vehicle’s headlights on to commemorate the many lives lost to drunk driving each year.

All these efforts are part of the “You Drink and Drive. You Lose” campaign, a cooperative effort by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Nationwide Insurance and other organizations. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office hopes to save lives in Monroe County by supporting this campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to help reach the national goal of reducing impaired driving-related deaths to no more than 11,000 by the year 2005. Other “You Drink & Drive. You Lose” campaign partners include the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs' Association, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Operation C.A.R.E., and the National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives.

Alcohol and drugs remain a contributing factor in 38 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes. Three out of every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash. Every 33 minutes someone is killed because of an impaired driver and every two minutes someone is injured.

According to statistics from the Florida Highway Patrol:

       Monroe County has had an average of 228 alcohol related crashes per year over the past five years.

       Over the past five years, the county has averaged 22 traffic fatalities per year, fifty percent of which are alcohol related.

Over the past five years, the county has averaged 191 alcohol related traffic injuries.

 

November 22, 2000

AARP offers “55 Alive” Driving course

Monroe County – The American Association of Retired Persons offers a special class for drivers over 55 years of age. The class is being offered twice in coming weeks in the upper Keys.

AARP 55 ALIVE/Mature Driving is the nation's first and largest classroom driver improvement course specially designed for motorists age 50 and older. It is intended to help older drivers improve their skills while teaching them to avoid accidents and traffic violations.

The class will be taught November 28th and 30th at the AARP Building on Plantation Key from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call 305-852-1620 for more information about this class. It will also be offered December 12 and 13th at the Immanuel Lutheran Church on Plantation Key from 9 am to 1 p.m. Call 305-451-2396 for more information about this class. Classes are $10.00 and include classroom instruction and a workbook students can keep at the end of the course.

For a list of more classes offered in the area, just use the AARP TOLL FREE number to find the nearest one. Call 1-888-227-7669 (or 1-888-AARP-NOW) and follow the prompts.

The eight-hour course is taught in two, four-hour sessions spanning two days. The course helps drivers refine existing skills and develop safe, defensive driving techniques. AARP members and non-members alike may take the course. There are no tests.

Upon successfully completing the course, graduates of AARP 55 ALIVE may be eligible to receive a state-mandated multi-year discount on their auto insurance premiums. Since 1979, over 6 million people have completed the course.

The AARP 55 ALIVE course covers the following topics:

       Vision and hearing changes

       Effects of medication

       Reaction time changes

       Left turns and other right-of-way situations

       New laws and how they affect you

       Hazardous driving situations

November 21, 2000

Holiday weekend expected to produce heavy traffic

Monroe County – The holiday season begins this weekend with Thanksgiving, and with large numbers of motorists expected to travel on the County’s roadways for the holidays.

Sheriff’s Office deputies and traffic enforcement officers will be out in force for this holiday weekend, patrolling for dangerous drivers with particular emphasis on drunk drivers and those driver’s who, in a hurry, pass in an unsafe manner.

In addition, during traffic stops Sheriff’s deputies will be checking for proper seatbelt use and the use of child safety seats. Citations will be given for these violations as part of the “Buckle Up America” national safety campaign.

Traffic is expected to be particularly heavy going out of the Keys Wednesday afternoon, Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. Returning holiday travelers will most likely clog the highways Sunday on their way back into the County.

If you are going to travel over the holiday weekend, plan some extra time to get where you are going so you can travel in a safe manner. Avoid passing other cars if at all possible. This is one of the most dangerous driving practices in the Florida Keys, both because of the nature of our highway and because of the sheer number of cars on the road.

If you are a visitor to the Keys, or you are going to celebrate the holiday here, don’t drink and drive. Designate a sober driver before going out to drink, or take a taxi home. If you do not, you may end up spending your holiday weekend visiting our County Detention Facility.

Have a happy holiday from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

November 21, 2000

Upper Keys Cadet/Explorers to sell Christmas trees

Monroe County – Upper Keys members of the Monroe County Sheriff's Cadet Corp will be selling Christmas Trees to raise money for their annual camping trip and for the Relay for Life fight against Cancer.

Christmas Tree sales will start on Friday November 24th and run through Christmas Eve. The sale location will be at mile marker 103 in front of the Furniture Now Store and across from John Pennekamp State Park.

Also on sale will be wreaths and center pieces made by the cadets.

November 20, 2000

Code violation walk through; Community clean up

Key Largo - On Sunday, November 26th the Sheriffs Office and Monroe County Code Enforcement will be doing a walk through of the Largo Gardens Subdivision in Key Largo. This walk through is intended to identify code violations and possible quality of life issues. Code enforcement officers and deputies will be offering solutions to correct the problems they identify.

In addition, in a continuing effort to address quality of life issues, the Monroe County Sheriffs Office will organize a community clean-up in that same area. This clean-up is scheduled for Dec. 2, 2000 at 9:00a.m. Local residents of that area are encouraged to participate. All volunteers are welcome.  Volunteers are to meet at the corner of Michelle Dr. and U.S.1. and are asked to bring their own gloves and refreshments.

Prior to the clean up, the Sheriff’s Office and Monroe County educate citizens about proper disposal of yard debris. The following information pertains to the upper keys sanitation service, Keys Sanitation:

If you are serviced by Keys Sanitation, ALL trash and yard waste must meet the requirements set forth by Keys Sanitation. Contrary to popular belief there is no once a year large debris pick-up service.

One of the biggest problems encountered is the disposal of yard waste.

Yard waste such as grass clippings palm fronds, and small tree branches less than 4 inches in diameter:

1.              Place waste in a standard 32-gallon collection container with handles. Do not place this waste in steel barrels, baskets or boxes.

2.              Tie your yard waste in bundles less than 4 feet and weighing less than 50 pounds. Use twine or sting, no metal or wire ties, to tie the bundles. Never place yard waste in plastic bags. Normal trash pick-up crews will remove the debris if it is contained or bundled properly.

For larger yard waste such as tree branches larger than 4 inches in diameter cut the debris in lengths no larger than 6 feet. Leave by the curbside and make sure that this trash is not sitting directly under overhead power lines. Call for pickup 453-0334, and it will be picked up by mechanical collection equipment. ALL palm fronds must be cut and bundled. For pick-up these procedures must be followed.

If waste is left by the roadside and is not picked up it can constitute a crime of illegal dumping which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $5000.00 fine. So please properly dispose of all waste.

For more information regarding the community clean-up contact  Sgt. D. Fanelli at 853-3211.

November 17, 2000

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Buckle Up America week

Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office – and law enforcement agencies across America – are on double-duty this coming holiday week, on the lookout for adults who drink and drive or allow children to ride unbuckled.

A recent study found that nearly two out of three children under age 14 who were killed in alcohol-related crashes were riding with drivers who had been drinking, according to a report published in the May 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, which analyzed a decade of national crash statistics, also found that more than 80 percent of the children who died were not buckled into seat belts or child safety seats.

That’s why, as part of the Buckle Up America campaign, The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is joining the effort to support Operation ABC Mobilization: America Buckles Up Children, a coordinated 50-state law enforcement effort to protect children from their #1 killer – traffic crashes. The Mobilization involves more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide that will ticket drivers for failing to buckle up their children, and arrest drivers deemed to be legally impaired.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is joining with the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board to support the Mobilization this November.

During the Mobilization, The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will step up a range of activities designed to protect kids through intensive enforcement, checkpoints, increased patrols and saturation patrols. Officers will show zero tolerance for drivers who don’t buckle up children or who drink and drive.

The Mobilization in Monroe County begins Saturday and runs through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend

Specific enforcement in Monroe County:

       Tuesday, November 21st, deputies in Islamorada will be performing a seat belt check on the old highway in Islamorada between the 80 and 90-mile markers. They will be stopping cars, checking for seatbelt use, and handing out informational brochures on safety belt and safety seat use.

       All deputies will be asked to have zero tolerance during the coming week to anyone in violation of safety seat and safety belt laws. Florida law requires that everyone driving or riding in a vehicle wear a seatbelt or be safely buckled in to a safety seat.

       Sheriff’s Office programmable signs will be set up roadside to remind people about buckling up for safety.

Facts

       Buckle Up America is the national campaign and Presidential Initiative to raise seat belt use to 85 percent and reduce child crash fatalities by 15 percent by the end of the year 2000. Since the Operation ABC Mobilization began in 1996, child restraint use among toddlers has increased 30 percent – almost 90 percent of toddlers are now restrained. In the same time period, the use of seat belts has risen to nearly 70 percent.

       Children 12 and under should always ride correctly restrained in the back seat.

       Infants should NEVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with an air bag.

       The best defenses against impaired drivers are aggressive enforcement, seat belts and properly installed infant seats, child safety seats and booster seats.

       A study reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found “driver restraint use was the strongest predictor of child restraint use...a restrained driver was three times more likely to restrain a child.” Surveys by NHTSA back that up: when drivers are buckled, children riding with them are buckled 87 percent of the time. When drivers aren’t buckled, the number of children riding with them who are buckled falls to 24 percent. To get children buckled up, we must get everyone buckled up.

       Seat belts increase the chance of surviving a crash by nearly 45 percent. Child safety seats, properly installed, reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers.

       Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Hispanics through the age of 24 and the second leading cause of death for Hispanics between the ages of 25-44.

       Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for African Americans through the age of 14, and the second leading cause of death for African Americans between the ages of 15-24.

       Public opinion surveys show that nine out of ten Americans support strong enforcement of child passenger safety laws.

 

November 16, 2000

Sheriff’s Office participates in Toys for Tots

Monroe County – Sheriff’s Offices throughout the Keys are now accepting gift donations for the Salvation Army Toys for Tots program.

Anyone wishing to participate can drop off a new toy, or a monetary donation, at any Sheriff’s Office building in the county. Sheriff’s Offices are located on Plantation Key, in Marathon, on Cudjoe Key and on Stock Island. Hundred’s of needy children throughout the Florida Keys benefit from the program every year. Families that cannot afford Christmas gifts themselves are able to bring Christmas cheer to their children through the combined efforts of community groups who come together to make the Toys for Tots program a heart-warming success.

Please, take a little time this Christmas season to think about others - that is, after all, what Christmas is all about. While you are shopping for your family, pick something up for a family in need, or while you are paying your bills this month, simply write a check to “Sheriff’s Office/Toys for Tots”. Any donation will be greatly appreciated.

Have a Happy Holiday season from the employees of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

 

November 15, 2000

Detectives ask for help locating stolen artwork

Islamorada – Sheriff’s detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a large amount of artwork stolen from a Venetian Shores residence in October.

Detective Larry O’Neill would like anyone who has been approached about purchasing artwork, or anyone who has information about the burglary to come forward and help him with the case. The burglary took place between October 15th and October 19th at a home in Venetian Shores. Paintings, prints, sculptures, rugs, lamps, mirrors, carved figurines as well as jewelry, clothing, a television, stereo equipment, tools and house wares were all taken.

Many of the artwork items depict tropical scenes, with birds, fish and other animals, including two large wooden carved pictures of birds, a standing black and white sculpture of leaping dolphins and a piece of brass artwork depicting palm trees and a setting sun. (These four items are depicted in attached photos).

Also missing is a 36” Sony television, a Bose surround sound system, a brass porthole clock, a large shell floor lamp, three large fish pictures, a designer rug with a frog on it, a fur-type rug with Toucan birds on it, numerous video tapes, CDs and audio tapes. Total value of the items taken is over $17,000.00.

Anyone with any information which might help solve this case should contact Detective O’Neill at 853-3211. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. If a tip leads to an arrest, the caller may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.00. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS.

 

October 25, 2000

Visit the Sheriff’s Office Web Site for Halloween Safety Tips

Monroe County – Citizens concerned with Halloween Safety for their kids should visit the Sheriff’s Office Web Site for tips, and for links to fun, interactive Halloween safety sites.

Among the tips offered on the Web Site:

 

If your kids plan to go Trick-or-Treating this Halloween:

        Make sure your children wear light colored costumes with plenty of reflective tape so they are visible to cars and trucks.

        Have your children go trick-or-treating while it is still light outside.

        Children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older brother or sister.

        Children should never enter a stranger’s house even if invited.

        Children should not sample candy given to them until an adult has checked it for possible tampering.

        Check with area hospitals to see if they offer free X-raying of treats on Halloween.

        Notify a deputy if suspicious or harmful items are found in your child’s collection of treats.

        Children should stay away from homes with dogs loose in the yard.

Having a Halloween party is a good alternative to the tradition of trick or treating. It gives kids an opportunity to have a good time in a supervised and safe atmosphere.

 

Visit our Web Site at www.keysso.net for more Halloween Safety information.

 

October 24, 2000

Sheriff's Office to participate in Fantasy Fest patrols

Traffic Enforcement During Fantasy Fest

Key West - Sheriff's Office traffic enforcement officers will be assisting the city of Key West during this year's Fantasy Fest Celebrations. They will be assigned to patrol areas on the fringes of the city, including South and North Roosevelt Boulevards, the Stock Island area and the area of the Boca Chica four lane. The traffic enforcement officers will be working both Friday, Oct. 27th and Saturday, Oct. 28th. On Friday, officers will work from 3 p.m. until traffic permits them to go off duty; on Saturday, officers will work from 6 p.m. until traffic permits them to go off duty.

Friday and Saturday evenings will be spent concentrating on incoming traffic. As outgoing traffic begins to get heavy, officers will then concentrate on that traffic flow, particularly in the early morning hours Sunday as people leave the Fantasy Fest activities and travel out of the city. There will, of course, be particular attention paid to drivers under the influence of alcohol.

Other Sheriff's Office assistance:

Key West - Sheriff's deputies, detectives and supervisors will also assist with law enforcement at a number of other Fantasy Fest activities this week. On Thursday, at the Pretender's in Paradise event the Sheriff's Office will provide a total of seven officers to assist with security between 6 p.m. and midnight; on Friday, during the Masquerade March, 10 Sheriff's officers will provide security between 4:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.; on Saturday, 13 Sheriff's officers will work the downtown area between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and 15 officers will work the Fantasy Fest parade between 6 p.m. and the ending of the event.

 

October 17, 2000

Citizens/Businesses may see new “Watch Card”

Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be leaving a new “Watch Card” at county businesses and residences.

The cards will be left by Sheriff’s deputies responding to calls at vacant residences, closed businesses, or at properties they routinely stop and check during the course of their patrol shifts. The cards will note the date and time of the visit, which deputy stopped and performed the check, the case number issued on the call in case a citizen wishes to follow it up, and specific suggestions for increased safety and security. The “Watch Card” will replace a number of other notices, including the “Night Eyes” cards previously used to notify closed businesses of a nighttime security check.


Front of Watch Card


Back of Watch Card

Examples of when a card would be used:

       A deputy checks a closed business at night and finds a window open or another type of security breach. He would make every effort to correct the problem, and notify the owner by phone if deemed necessary. If the situation is not urgent, he/she would leave a card to notify the owner of the security breach.

       A deputy is on foot patrol in a neighborhood and finds a car door unlocked, with the keys in the ignition and a cellular phone in plain view. He/she would attempt to find the owner of the car for a direct notification. If this is not possible, a card would be left noting the unsafe practice.

       A deputy notices uncollected mail and newspapers piling up at a vacant residence. The deputy would note the obvious signs of vacancy and attempt to contact a neighbor to assist with the problem. If no one is available, he/she would leave the card for the owners to find upon their return.

       A deputy notices a child’s bicycle left on the front lawn of a home, an easy target for theft. He/she is not able to contact the owner of the bicycle, so the deputy might place the bicycle in a safer place, and leave a card notifying the homeowner of his/her actions.

 

October 17, 2000

Monroe County Detention Center Awarded Florida Accreditation

Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Division of Corrections recently received its Certificate of Accreditation from the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission.

The Florida Corrections Accreditation program offers the opportunity to evaluate a facility's operations against standards developed by the Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission. This process allows administrative staff to remedy deficiencies and upgrade the quality of correctional programs and services. The benefits from such a process include:

       improved management

       strengthening of the facilities defense against lawsuits and complaints

       increased accountability

       a safer and more humane environment for personnel and inmates

       potential reduction in liability through adoption of sound operating practices

       demonstration of a "good faith" effort to improve conditions of confinement

       establishment of measurable criteria for upgrading programs, personnel, and the physical plant

The overall purpose of FCAC is to improve the delivery of correctional services. All aspects of Correctional operations are addressed through the standards, including: Admission, Classification, Housing, Sanitation, Food Service, Personnel Issues, Fiscal Activities, Security, Training and Medical.

Proof of compliance with the standards is determined by an assessment team sent by the commission, conducting an on-site review of the agency's own policies, procedures and practices. This review was conducted at the Monroe County Detention facilities during the week of July 18th through the 21st. Accreditation of the Monroe County facilities was official October 3, 2000. The facilities will remain accredited for a period of three years. After the three-year period they must be reaccredited.

 

In the photo: Although the entire Corrections staff participated in the accreditation process, a handful of people performed the bulk of the work, preparing the facilities for accreditation review, updating procedures and policies to comply with accreditation standards. Left to right, Administration Commander Captain Rick Remley, Accreditation Specialist Mary Cohen, Operations Commander Captain Bob Rothman, Commander of the Division of Corrections, Major Tommy Taylor, Marathon Site Commander Lt. Phil Ferraro, Plantation Key Site Commander Lt. Joe Saly.

 

October 12, 2000

Trusty hours contribute to county coffers

Monroe County – Monroe County Detention Center trusty inmates contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of labor to the county every year. The workers provide maintenance work on many county buildings and roadways at no cost to county taxpayers.

The Detention Center provides an average of 28 inmates per day to perform maintenance for County Public Works at county buildings, at the Marathon Airport and at Sheriff’s Office buildings throughout the Keys. At minimum wage, figured 8 hours a day five days a week, these workers saved county taxpayers approximately $300,000 in the past fiscal year doing work which otherwise would have taken paid workers time to perform.

Each inmate who enters the Detention facility is classified according to the crime he or she has committed, past crimes, and other factors to determine whether he or she can participate in a trusty program. There are a number of different types of trusties. Inmates classified for “inside trusty” duty were classified at a higher risk factor than those classified for “outside trusty” duty. Inside trusties are those who work inside the detention facility itself, maintaining the facility, cooking and cleaning. Those inmates allowed to participate in “outside trusty” duties are generally those charged with minor, non-violent crimes who at a low risk for escape. They are the inmates allowed to leave the facility to perform outside duties off the premises of the detention center.

Agencies who use inmate trusties first participate in a short training course that teaches their employees how to supervise inmates.

Other agencies have used Detention Center trusties, including the city of Key West, United States Coast Guard, and the U.S. Special Forces.

 

October 11, 2000

Sheriff’s Office offers another child safety seat training course

Monroe County - The Sheriff’s Office will sponsor another training course in November to certify Child Passenger Safety Technicians. The public is welcome to sign up for the course. Zone Commander Roy Bogue is spearheading the effort for the Sheriff’s Office.

The last course, offered in June, certified members of the Sheriff’s Office and Key Largo Fire Dept to inspect child safety seats for proper installation and use. Since that training, three car seat check events have been held in the Upper Keys and Ocean Reef.  Out of thirty-eight child seats that were inspected only two were used correctly.  The others were found to have installation errors ranging from being too loose in the seat to not following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Nationally, four out of five car seats are use wrong and tragically, 40% of children are not secured at all. These alarming facts truly show the need for more public safety personnel to receive this training.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Standardized Child Passenger Safety Technician Training Course is designed to produce a group of “community specialists” with standardized technical training.  The local certified instructors for this course are Carol Steans of the William Lehman Injury Research Center and Michelle Sporre and Traci Mitchell of the Miami-Dade Occupant Protection Program.

The public is invited to register for the upcoming training in Marathon, November 6 thru 9.  The training class will be held at Marathon Jaycee Bldg., 710 33rd St. (Gulf) Marathon, Fl.  The classes will run from 8:30 – 5:00 p.m. each day, culminating in a child car seat checkpoint on Thursday afternoon at the Publix Supermarket

There is no charge for the course itself. There is however, a $10.00 fee to AAA to receive the optional national certification registration and certificate.

Please understand this is a four-day commitment. You must register for the course. You can ask questions or obtain an application by contacting Sgt. Roy Bogue at (305) 853-3211. Class size is limited.  The last day to register is Oct. 31.   We look forward to seeing you in class.

October 9, 2000

Leasing of Detention Center beds nets $$$$

Monroe County – The lease of empty bed space at the main Monroe County Detention Center netted the county almost two million dollars during the 1999/2000 fiscal year.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office contracted in the past fiscal year with both the United States Marshal’s Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service to hold inmates in our facility for them. The contracts charge $82.00 per day per inmate held in the facility. As a result of those contracts, $1,961,768 was collected and turned over to the county. The money is used to offset the costs of law enforcement and reduce ad valorem taxes. The Sheriff’s Office has collected a total of $13,619,220 from leased beds since the Detention facility opened in 1994.

The main Monroe County Detention Center, located on Stock Island, holds 600 inmates. It opened in 1994, and was built to serve the county’s detention needs at least through the year 2010. It is comprised of three main inmate “pods” built off of a main “central” area that holds the kitchen, maintenance areas, and other main operational portions of the building. This central portion of the facility was actually configured to service two additional “pods” which have not yet been added, but which may be added later for minimal cost. One of those “pods” will be built in the near future and will be used as a juvenile detention facility. The Department of Juvenile Justice is providing most of the funding for this addition, along with some funding from the Sheriff’s Office Federal Asset Forfeiture fund.

Two satellite detention centers, located in Marathon and on Plantation Key, hold another 100 inmates between them.

One of the questions most frequently asked by people when it comes to the leasing of bed space in the jail is: Doesn’t it cost the county more money if we hold all these inmates for other agencies? In fact, it does not. The main Monroe County Detention Center is configured in such a way that the same number of Detention Deputies are required to staff the facility if it is half full as is required to staff it if it is full. So, it “pays” to fill the beds to capacity whenever possible.

The Detention Center is built in a series of units and dorms. There are two general population units, one general population dorm, a female unit, a juvenile unit, a high security unit, a special needs unit and three trusty dorms. There are also officers assigned to the Sick Bay, and to the Intake/Release area of the Detention Center. Each unit and dorm holds a certain number of inmates, and is overseen by a single officer. If the unit or dorm is half full, it still takes an officer to oversee it, so the most efficient way to run the facility is to keep it as full as is possible.

The variable costs, such as the cost of food, clothing, and other day to day inmate items, are the only costs that increase when bed space is leased. These costs are relatively minor compared with the actual cost of operating the facility. Most of the operating costs are fixed costs, including personnel to staff the jail, maintenance and utilities. The fixed costs are the ones that are the same, no matter how many inmates are held at any given time.

For more information about this issue, please contact the Office of Public Information at the numbers listed above.

October 9, 2000

Crime Prevention Fair in Key West Saturday

Key West – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be sponsoring a Crime Prevention Fair Saturday in the Searstown Parking Lot.

The fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 14th and will feature a display of Sheriff’s Office vehicles, including the new Sheriff’s Office All Terrain Vehicles and an example of the new Sheriff’s Office Yamaha Waverunners. Free Crime Prevention literature will also be available, along with children’s fingerprinting. Free refreshments will be provided by Winn Dixie, Publix and Coca Cola.

The whole family is welcome to turn out and learn more about preventing crime.

October 4, 2000

Cleanup Planned for 15th Street

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office will be organizing a clean up of the 15th Street area in Marathon October 14th-15th. Citizens are being asked to turn out and participate in the clean up, which will take place all day, both days. Please bring your own gloves and garbage bags.

A large waste disposal bin will be on hand, compliments of Greg Sullivan of Waste Management. The purpose of the event is to clean up debris in the area, and to allow residents to dispose of any waste items they may have on their property. The bin will only be on hand for this two day period. Residents are asked to take advantage of this opportunity to help beautify their neighborhood.

Hazardous materials such as chemicals and paint WILL NOT be accepted. Those items must be disposed of properly, not with normal waste items.

October 2, 2000

Notice of Public Meeting: Sheriff’s Shared Asset Fund Advisory Board

 The Sheriff’s Shared Asset Fund Advisory Board will meet on Tuesday, October 10, 2000, at 6:00 p.m., in Courtroom A directly behind the Sheriff’s Marathon Station located at 3103 Overseas Highway, Marathon.  The agenda will include discussion of grant criteria and further development of application forms and procedures.  No grant applications will be accepted or reviewed at this meeting.  Public notification of grant application procedures and deadlines will be made after grant application packages are prepared.

Any person who decides to appeal any decision made by the Board with respect to any matter considered at the meeting will need a record of the proceedings and for such purpose, may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which record includes the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is based.

Any person requiring special accommodation or assistance to participate in this meeting should contact the Sheriff’s Office by calling Monica Galvan at (305) 292-7075 (TDD compatible) or via e-mail: mgalvan@keysso.net