January - March 2002

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, FAX: (305)293-1734 and e-mail: beckyherrin@keysso.net.


March 25, 2002

Sheriff’s Office gains National Accreditation

Monroe County – To accolades and applause, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office received approval Saturday on its bid to become nationally accredited.

79 law enforcement agencies from across the nation that have been participating in the accreditation process attended a conference in Jacksonville over the weekend to find out if their accreditation was approved. Sheriff Richard Roth, who personally attended the conference, said the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office passed the process with flying colors and is now proud to proclaim it is truly a professional organization which compares favorably to nationally accredited agencies nationwide.

“There were some agencies that did not pass the process at all, and some which were accredited, but have provisions they must comply with in order to remain accredited. We received our accreditation with no strings attached – they were impressed with our compliance with their standards and had no issues with our agency at all,” he said.

“We are proud to say we are now nationally accredited by CALEA (the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.),” said Sheriff Richard Roth. “Director Mike Scott, Lt. Bruce Winegarden, Inspector Lynne McNeill and assistant Olga Brown worked hard to make sure our agency fulfilled all CALEA requirements. They should be commended for their commitment to bringing our agency into compliance with those requirements,” he said.

A team of assessors from CALEA visited the Keys in December to examine all aspects of the Monroe County Sheriff Office policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services.

Verification by the team that Monroe County Sheriff Office meets the Commission’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation—a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence.

The Monroe County Sheriff Office had to comply with 379 standards in order to gain accredited status. The Accreditation Program Manager for Monroe County Sheriff Office is Lt. Bruce T. Winegarden.

Accreditation is for three years, during which the agency must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.

For more information regarding the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. please visit their web site at http://www.calea.org/index1 or call (800) 368-3757 or (703)352-4225.

March 20, 2002

Easter at the Animal Park

Stock Island – The Sheriff’s Office will sponsor an “Easter at the Children’s Animal Park” event this Sunday. Families are welcome to attend free of charge. The Easter celebration will begin at 2 p.m. and end at 4 p.m. Children may visit with the animals at the park and the Easter Bunny will make a special appearance. At 2:30 p.m., there will be an Easter Egg Hunt for anyone who wishes to participate. If you’ve never been to the Children’s Animal Park, we hope you will come and see our beautiful animal filled paradise. If you’ve visited us before, please come back and visit us. We add new animals all the time, and all of our animals enjoy the attention. The Children’s Animal Park is located at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island. Turn on College Road and drive until you see the sign for the Sheriff’s Office. The Detention Center is the first building on the left and there will be signs out directing you to the Park. The Animal Park is supported and maintained in large part using donations from visitors. Donations are happily accepted, but not required.

March 6, 2002

The following is a joint press release of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Dept. of the Treasury) and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office:

Hodler arrested in car bombing

Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) announced today the execution of a federal search warrant at a Lake Placid, Florida residence and the arrest of its owner, Gene C. Hodler, for violation of the federal firearms laws. The search warrant and arrest comes as a result of investigators from ATF, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement who have been conducting an investigation into another case, which involved a car bombing In Marathon, Florida on Wednesday February 27, 2002. The on going investigation into that bombing, led investigators to Hodler, who is an associate of the victim. These current charges are unrelated to the bombing investigation. Hodler is charged with violation of 18 U.S.C. 922 (g) (9), for being in possession of ammunition after being convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in Wisconsin. If convicted, Hodler could be sentenced to up to ten years imprisonment.

February 26, 2002

Towing to take place on Maloney Avenue for Street Cleaning

This is a reminder that anyone with a car, boat, trailer, RV, truck, or any other item parked or placed on Maloney Avenue, Stock Island, should be aware that the street will be cleaned every month on the first Thursday and Friday of the month.

One side of the street will be cleaned this Friday, March 1st, and the other side will be cleaned next Thursday, March 7th. Prior to the cleaning, all items on the street will be removed and/or towed at the owner's expense.

People in the area should look for flyers posted on the street which designate which side will be cleaned on which day. Flyers will also be placed on the vehicles themselves with a warning that they will be towed.

February 22, 2002

Trauma Helicopter certified and will begin operation

Monroe County – Beginning March 1st, County residents will have the benefit of trauma helicopter service. The Sheriff’s Office Trauma Star helicopter received its state certification this week and will begin operating trauma/rescue flights on that date.

To kick-off the operation, the Sheriff’s Office and Monroe County will be hosting a special ceremony and “open house” on Friday, March 1st at 10 a.m. at the Marathon Airport. Anyone who wishes to tour the aircraft will be allowed to do so at that time. The opening ceremony will include remarks by County Mayor Charles “Sonny” McCoy, Commissioners George Neugent and Murray Nelson, Public Safety Director James “Reggie” Paros, and by Sheriff Richard Roth.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office currently has five FAA certified commercial pilots and an FAA certified mechanic. Monroe County Emergency Medical Services has 15 trained and certified flight Medics who each attended an 80 hour course to obtain that certification, in addition to their other prior firefighting and paramedic training.

The helicopter is based in Marathon and will be staffed around the clock to be ready for launch at a moment’s notice. County firefighters and Emergency Medical Services personnel have, over the past two months, undergone extensive training to ensure they are ready to assist the helicopter when it needs to land at or near an accident scene.

Trauma Star is a UH-1 “Huey” helicopter. It was originally built in 1968 and served as a military aircraft until it was retired from that service in 1996. It was purchased by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in February of 2000 from Marion County for $326,000, using the proceeds from drug trafficking cases. Since then, the helicopter has been completely outfitted for trauma service through a Florida EMS matching grant obtained by Monroe County Emergency Medical Services in the amount of $81,500.00.

Trauma Star operates as a government/public use category aircraft and is maintained in accordance with FAA and manufacturer’s requirements. It is certified by the State of Florida to operate as a trauma/emergency medical services air ambulance.

Trauma Star will pick up patients from the scene of an accident and transport them directly to whatever hospital or trauma center is deemed necessary depending on the injuries involved. This service saves essential treatment time by avoiding slower ground transport. Ground transport to local hospitals was the only transportation method available prior to this time except in the upper Keys, where some air transport service was available. The only air transport from the middle and lower Keys prior to this was transport from local hospitals after initial treatment was provided there.

Trauma Star can travel at speeds up to 144 miles per hour and carries a crew of two pilots, up to four patients and two flight medics. Equipment on board includes a Defibrillator, EKG, Oxygen, Ventilator, Suction, a full Advanced Life Support level medical cart as well as a rescue hoist.

Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Pandol and Colonel William “Bill” McDonald have spent many hours working on this project since the helicopter’s purchase in 2000. In addition, Monroe County EMS Battalion Chiefs Al Brotons and Gary Boswell have spent a large number of hours working toward the implementation of the program.

“Lt. Pandol and Colonel McDonald deserve recognition for their time and efforts. They really spearheaded the move to bring trauma helicopter service to the Florida Keys and we all owe them our thanks for their work,” said Sheriff Richard Roth. “Many others have also contributed their efforts, and we should all be proud of what we have accomplished. I truly believe this will save many lives and be of tremendous benefit to the people of our county.”

“We’ve waited a long time for this level of service in the county,” said Public Safety Director Reggie Paros. “Many dedicated people have put huge amounts of effort into getting this program operational. It has truly a joint effort and I’m looking forward to the County being able to provide this life saving service to our citizens.”

February 14th, 2002

Bank Robber arrested

Press Release: From: the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in cooperation with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Hector M. Pesquera, Special Agent in Charge (SAC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami, Florida and Richard D. Roth, Sheriff, Monroe County, announce the arrest today of Elio Esposito, 39 years of age, for Bank Robbery in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 2113 and Possession of a Firearm in furtherance of a crime, Title 18 United States Code Section 924.

On January 23, 2002, at approximately 9:25 a.m., two men entered the Community Bank of Florida, 100150 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, Florida. The two men were later identified as Antonio Martinez-Porta and Elio Esposito. Porta and Esposito fled the bank in a vehicle stolen from one of the bank's tellers. They drove a short distance and forced an elderly citizen to transport them on his boat to Dinner Key in Miami, Florida. Porta was arrested on January 26, 2002.

Elio Esposito was arrested today without incident at the Beach House Motel, 405 N. Atlantic Highway, Indialantic, Florida, by the FBI, Brevard County Sheriff's Office and members of the Indialantic Police Department.

February 13, 2002

Congratulations, Employees of the Fourth Quarter, 2001!

Law Enforcement Officer of the Quarter: Deputy Linda Hartley.............Deputy Hartley has been instrumental in the clean up and maintenance of Marathon Beach Subdivision. On many occasions, she has organized clean-ups and always leads by example. Deputy Hartley cuts grass and picks up garbage many times using her own equipment. She also organizes many functions for the children of this area and has taken them on field trips as well as being involved in after school programs. Recently, Deputy Hartley worked on the Marathon Rotary Club’s Field Of Dreams Children’s Park, which was built over a five day period in Marathon. She worked five days, twelve hours a day or more. She also organized and put on a Children’s Christmas Pageant that raised almost one thousand dollars for the Field Of Dreams Children’s Park, and collected over one hundred toys for the Toys For Tots Christmas Program and has rung the Christmas bell for the Salvation Army on several days collecting money for the holidays to be given to the needy. Deputy Hartley stands as an example of Community Policing and has for a long time. She has a great attitude and is always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Detention Deputy of the Quarter: Officer Michael Barron........Detention Deputy Barron is member of the quarter because he remembers those details that make a difference on the human level and that make an ordinary work day nicer. For example: birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. He is a virtual bundle of energy, always cheerful, and a positive influence on everyone; a powerful motivator, and a fountain of ideas. Working with Officer Barron is like a breath of fresh air.

Support Employee of the Quarter: Maintenance Specialist Paul Cooper........Paul is an employee that “makes things happen”. He works as our Maintenance Specialist at the Bureau of Corrections. He goes way beyond his scope of duties. For example: Paul has saved the County considerable taxpayer dollars by fixing camera problems as they occur. Outside contractors in this field are very expensive and Paul continues to trouble shoot problems and finds solutions to these problems. Paul has established a great reputation around the jail and many people call on him to fix all kinds of things. His very pleasant attitude is a supervisor’s dream-come-true. During the last quarter the Sheriff wanted his floors to sparkle for Accreditation. After much confusion as to how to clean the floor (which was in terrible shape!) Paul came through by working many nights and weekends to complete the job. I could go on and on regarding the jobs he has performed over and beyond his scope of work. He deserves much credit for his extra efforts.

Reserve Officer of the Quarter: Captain Glen McDaniel........Reserve Captain McDaniel served the Monroe County Sheriff Office for seven and a half years as a Reserve Officer. In 1995 he completed the Certified Auxiliary Academy and Parking Enforcement school. In 1996 he was appointed Reserve Sergeant for the District III Reserve Unit. In 1999 he was appointed the Reserve Captain for the entire County. Glen resigned on October 22, 2001 because he is moving to Illinois in April after he retired. While serving the county, Glen averaged 80 to 100 hours a month of volunteer time. Glen was one of the people that could be counted on to be there for any detail. Glen would change his schedule to accommodate the demands of the unit. Glen was a leader by example. While serving as the Reserve Captain, Glen started the quarterly Reserve Staff meetings and the slimming of the Reserve Rosters, eliminating non-active members.

Cadet/Explorer of the Quarter: Explorer Sgt. Jimmy Jensen........When he was promoted to the rank of Jr. Explorer Sgt. in November, 2000, Jr. Sgt. Jensen took on the responsibility of all Cadets and Jr. Explorers in the post. This was no easy task as they are two different groups that meet at two different times. He is held accountable for their behavior, uniform neatness, knowledge of rules and some training during meetings. He is also in charge of them at service or work details performed in the community. Post 906 recently held an in-county Boot Camp at U.S. Coast Guard Station Marathon for Explorers and Cadets. Jr. Sgt. Jensen was instrumental in the planning of this event. He assisted in the gathering and checking of all the tents and other camping equipment needed, separating members into squads, reviewing paperwork and schedules prior to the outing and planning squad competition games for the final day. The first day of camp, he was responsible for supervising the set up of all tents and equipment for Post 906, including Advisors tents. He was then assigned as a Squad Leader, a job he took very seriously. As a result of this he was chosen, along with a few others, for a special detail with the Coast Guard (cleaning their boat after they took us out on tours) Several Coast Guard members commented on his hard work and serious attitude during camp. The last day of camp, Jr. Sgt. Jensen was responsible for returning all equipment to its proper storage place as well as noting any problems with any of it. In addition to his responsibilities with Post 906, Jr. Sgt. Jensen, an eighth grader at Marathon Middle School, maintains good grades in school, is attempting to start his own lawn maintenance business and is an active member in his church.

February 4, 2002

Old Boat Trailers to be Disposed of Free of Charge!

The Sheriff's Office and the Office of the Monroe County Marine Projects Coordinator will offer an opportunity for Monroe County residents to dispose of old boat trailers free of charge.

The free disposal days will take place the weekend of February 16th and 17th between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Residents may bring their old boat trailers to two locations: the old Monroe County Public Works building on College Road, Stock Island and the end of Industrial Road on Big Pine Key at the old Animal Shelter. The trailers will then be disposed of free of charge. Deputies Genie Hernandez and Tom Peteck will be manning the drop off sites to ensure that only boat trailers are dropped off. No other items will be accepted.

Funding for the event is provided by the Monroe County Marine Projects Office.

February 4, 2002

“Outstanding Warrant” cards to be used by Sheriff’s Office

Monroe County – People with outstanding Monroe County warrants will be receiving a notice in the mail letting them know they are wanted by law enforcement.

In a new program designed to assist in reducing the number of outstanding warrants in the county, the Sheriff’s Office will be mailing out the cards in coming months. The cards will notify the wanted person of the outstanding warrant, and will ask them to contact the Sheriff’s Office Warrants Office for more information. The wanted person will then be instructed to turn him/herself in to the nearest law enforcement agency.

There are currently an estimated 15,000 or more outstanding warrants in Monroe County. Approximately 25 to 50 new warrants are issued every week. Initially, the program will target those people wanted on newly issued warrants. The warrants office plans to target old warrants in the future as well.

 

January 28, 2002

Notice of No Parking

The county is beginning a new road cleaning project on Maloney Avenue on Stock Island. The cleaning will take place on the first Thursday and Friday of every month. Signs have been posted in the area warning people working and living there to move their cars or they will be towed AT THE OWNER'S EXPENSE. This cleaning will take place next Thursday and Friday, February 7th and 8th, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Anyone parked in the posted cleaning areas on Maloney Avenue WILL BE TOWED.

January 24, 2002

Buckle Up Florida

Monroe County Sheriff's Office Says Risk is Too Great Not to Buckle Up Adults and Children; Deputies Will Be On Lookout For Those Who Aren’t Buckled

Sheriff Roth says there is no excuse for not putting children in a child safety seat or safety belt. The Sheriff's Office will participate in a special safety belt enforcement period aimed at parents who don’t buckle up their kids.

“Traffic crashes are the #1 killer of our children,” Sheriff Roth said. “A lot of these tragedies could be prevented if the parents would take the time to buckle up their kids. We have the opportunity to teach kids, while they are still young, to buckle up as a habit. If we are successful now, this is a habit that may very well save their lives one day.”

The Sheriff's Office is participating in the Buckle Up Florida Safety Belt Enforcement Wave during February 9th-17th. During this nine-day period, law enforcement across the state will show zero tolerance for those who aren’t buckled up.

This enforcement period coincides with Child Passenger Safety Week, and agencies statewide are participating in child safety seat checkpoints to ensure that safety seats are installed correctly. Child safety seats inspected at check-up events statewide have shown a 96% misuse rate, which means that the children aren’t getting the full protection the seats offer. Sheriff Roth suggests that citizens take advantage of these checkpoints, which are free and open to the public. He hopes this type of offering will remind parents to buckle up their children and themselves.

Child Safety Seat Checkpoints are going to occur in the Middle and Upper Keys during that week.

Monday February 10th at the Bank of America 5401 Overseas Hwy. Marathon, Fl. from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. contact Deputy Jennifer Lascala, 305 289 2430

Friday, February 15th, at the Islamorada Village of Islands Founders Park, 87000 Overseas Hwy. Islamorada, Fl. from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Contact Sgt. Roy Bogue 305 853 7021

“We know that the more parents are buckled, the more kids will be buckled; and the more kids are buckled, the more lives will be saved. We enforce safety belt laws every day, but this is a special effort to be sure that our kids are protected. If you’re not buckling them up, you should expect consequences. You could get a ticket, or worse, have a child killed or injured because they weren’t restrained,” (Sheriff/Chief) said.

Buckle Up Florida joins with law enforcement four times a year in periods of strict enforcement of Florida’s safety belt laws. These nine-day periods of enforcement, along with public awareness activities to inform citizens of the law, have helped raise Florida’s safety belt usage rate from 64.8% in 2000 to 69.5% in 2001.

January 2, 2002

Crime Stoppers’ Officers Named/Crime Stoppers 2001 Yearly Report

Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys rang in the year 2002 with new officers and closed the year 2001 by assisting local enforcement with 25 arrests and the recovery or seizure of over 29 thousand dollars worth of drugs, cash and stolen property.

“The Crime Stopper hotline helped make our community a safer place in 2001,” said new board President Jim Malloch. “Our goal for 2002 is to increase the number of arrests and cases solved by Crime Stoppers through a stepped up Keys wide publicity program.”

2001 Crime Stopper Results:

25 Arrests

41 Felony cases solved

$29,361 worth of drugs, cash and stolen property seized or recovered.

Overall Crime Stopper Results:

184 arrests

190 cases solved

$192,791 worth of drugs, cash, stolen property recovered or seized

President Malloch also announced the election of Doug Morgan as Treasurer, Stan Rzad as Secretary and Harry Sawyer as Vice President of the non-profit corporation. Other board members are Tama Hamburg, Raul Cervantes, John Dillon, Mary Sawyer, Bob Soos and Michael Haskins. The Crime Stoppers’ civilian board is charged with fund raising and determining the amount of rewards paid to tipsters. Crime Stoppers pays up to one thousand dollars for information leading to arrests in criminal cases. Callers can remain anonymous. The 24 hour Crime Stoppers hotline number is 1-800-346-TIPS (8477).

NOTE: Enclosed photo of Crime Stopper Board Members (l-r standing) Stan Rzad, Doug Morgan, Harry Sawyer and Michael Haskins. (l-r seated) Jim Malloch, John Dillon, Mary Sawyer. Not pictured: Tama Hamburg, Raul Cervantes.