Operations  

 

Sheriff's Report:

We've made it through another spring break. In the county, when it comes to law enforcement, we didn't see an overwhelming amount of spring break activity. The Detention Center on Stock Island, on the other hand, was extremely busy with a large number of Marchman's Act cases and arrests made primarily by the Florida Department of Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco and the Key West Police Department.

During the heaviest spring break period, we had both a transportation officer and a booking officer assigned to the command post set up by Key West Police downtown. Having those officers assigned helped move the whole process along and helped reduce the congestion levels in the booking area of the Stock Island facility.

We have seen extremely heavy traffic throughout the Keys this year. I think the consensus is the traffic is worse than usual for tourist season, and we can probably expect it to continue in that vein until at least May, when it should begin to slow down some.

We're doing a terrific job out there and I want to thank you all for the hard work you do every day. Our agency continues to see a downturn in crime, including a dramatic decrease in burglaries over the past seven years. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported 1,099 in 1997 and only 468 in 2002. FDLE hasn't released 2003 yearly numbers yet, but their six month figures show yet another decrease in our burglary numbers for that time period.

Other crime numbers have come down over the years as well. According to FDLE, in 1997 we had a reported 4,543 larcenies, and in 2002, there were 2,076. Violent crimes are down as well, with 516 aggravated assaults reported in 1997 and 245 reported in 2002.

Overall, crime in the county has seen a steady downturn for the past 13 years. In 1991, we had a total of 4,089 index crimes reported. In 2002, that number was down to 2,992. That is truly an amazing and impressive statistic. You should all be proud of these numbers. While there are many factors contributing to the reduction of crime in our county, your hard work is definitely one of the major factors.

Keep up the good work. I appreciate what you do every day to keep our citizen's safe.


Ask the Administration

Question 1: In the Spring of 2003, we had a Human Resources Fair here in Miami-Dade County, where there are numerous MCSO employees working for law enforcement task forces. At that fair, Mr. Rice said a Medical Flexible Spending Account or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (Defined in Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code) was being put together so that MCSO employees could have a portion of their salary deducted before taxes to be placed in such an account. The employee would then be able to submit documentation of eligible expenses for reimbursement over the course of the year so that those expenses could reduce our taxable income. We understood that the amount the employee could have deducted per pay check was limited by the total amount deductible per year by law, and that any portion of the account that was never appropriately claimed for reimbursement would be lost (use or lose account).

This type of account, while requiring some paperwork both on our part and on the part of MCSO administration, could help offset some of the much higher costs we are paying for health insurance coverage. In August, 2003 I sent a request for an update through the proper chain of command, and it was not ever answered when it got to Key West.

I am anxious to get an answer before it becomes too late to get this valuable program implemented for another year and I think it is unfortunate that MCSO employees are not yet able to take advantage of it. The later it gets in the year, the less likely that people will be able to afford to have a significant amount withdrawn from their take-home pay to fund the benefit.

Please Help! I believe that the more people who know about this type of plan being allowed by law, the more people would want MCSO to implement it as soon as possible.

Answered by Donna Moore, Human Resources Director: Due to the low response of employee interest, we were unable to implement the Medical Flexible Savings Account. We would like to offer members of the MCSO the option to participate in the EZFlex accounts. Below is a list of options offered under the EZFlex accounts. Members should send letters, notes or memos of interest or call the Human Resources Division at (305) 292-7044, or send email to Kristie Hernandez khernandez@keysso.net by April 15, 2004.

EZ Flex (FLEX 123)

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is considering offering the EZFlex (FLEX123) account to MCSO employees. The EZFlex is offered through Colonial Insurance Company.

The EzFlex benefit plans are designed to help offset the rising costs of health care by allowing you to pre tax medical, daycare and insurance premium expenses.

  • Premium Only Plan: Eliminates FICA, federal and most state income taxes on the employee’s share of many group insurance premiums.
  • Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts: Eliminates FICA, federal and most state income taxes on unreimbursed employee health care expenses such as deductibles, co-payments, vision care, dental, and many other expenses.
  • Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts: Eliminates FICA, federal and most state taxes on up to $5,000 of employment related day care expenses annually.

For a brochure on the aforementioned information, please contact the Human Resources Division.


Bureau of Operations

Sector 1 Report

By Captain Chad Scibilia

Hello all from Sector one. As is the norm, I must start out by saying goodbye to some of our officers. We say so long (again) to Deputy Chris Duncan. As you may remember, Chris left us to go to SOP’s. Well, he came back for a month pending his departure. He is now leaving us to move closer to his family and we wish him the best. If it gets too cold for you up there Chris, you will always be welcome back in Sector One. We also must say goodbye to Deputy Andrew Kempel. He is leaving us to go to work as an investigator for the SAO. That is our second officer lost to Mr. Kohl so we have decided to issue a warrant charging Mr. Kohl with theft. If you see him out there, let us know.

Walking wounded update: Butch's back surgery went well and he is doing much better. Hopefully he will be back with us around June. (By the way, if you haven’t seen Butch lately, you wouldn’t recognize him. Looking slim and trim there Butch! Jimmy Williams spent a spell in the hospital. He is now home and recovering. We wish them both a speedy recovery as we can certainly use the help. (Hurry back guys.) And while it is not because of an injury, Maretta McNichol is working light duty in the jail due to her pregnancy. We wish her a safe pregnancy and birth. With all that being said, sector one has a new motto. The last one who leaves, please turn off the lights.

We were able to find one good applicant to hire. We welcome Evan Calhoun to the Sector One family. He comes to us from NAS security. He has been in the FTO program for a few weeks now and is doing a great job. Keep it up Evan.

Sector One had their annual inspection in the form of a “Deputy dining-in”. This was a really good time and made a nice change to the standard station inspection. Thanks Mitch for all your hard work putting this together. We also thank the FOP for picking up the dinner tab, Sector four for the road coverage and Major Taylor for the instruction on how to conduct a formal inspection. We will be returning the favor on March 21 and we wish them a fun and successful time. Since I live in Marathon, I have volunteered to work a zone during this, but am taking Sgt. Hull with me so he can show me how to do the paperwork.

As a last note, we are holding a sector “Bowling Marksmanship Qualifications” at the Air Lanes on Boca Chica April 10 1700-2000. All are invited and we hope to see you there. By the way, Evan is on my team since he has bowled two perfect games. I figure between his skill and my gutter balls we might put up some competition.

Until next month, stay safe and if you see any qualified police candidates out there, send them my way.

Sector 6 Report

By Captain Joe Leiter

Well the biggest event during the past month for us here in Islamorada was: Traffic, Traffic and more Traffic! We had many phone calls and questions about what was causing all the traffic backups…..let’s see….

Bike Week, Spring Break beginning, Tourist Season, road construction at Snake Creek Bridge, Snake Creek Bridge openings, the DOT Weight Station at Snake Creek Bridge and some local events at Holiday Isle and the Rotary Flea Market which was 3 days this year instead of two. Add to all that several crashes each day and you have the mix that backed up traffic for miles. The 2-lane highway was simply at capacity for most of the daylight hours. In my 25 years here with the Sheriff’s Office, I don’t remember a winter tourist season when traffic was this bad. It seems that more and more people have discovered the Keys.

Deputy Nelson Sanchez reports that enforcement of the new Minimum Wake Zone in Snake Creek has been very successful with 90 % of the boats obeying the posted zone……Nelson gets to “meet and greet” some of the other 10% but very few have been cited. Usually a warning and some education gets compliance.

The Islamorada District took delivery of a new Mercury 225 HP motor that was installed on our 22’ Angler Patrol Boat. The new motor replaced a 8 year old Johnson outboard and was paid for by the Sheriff’s Asset Forfeiture Fund. This gives the Sheriff’s Office and Islamorada two fast response Patrol Boats including the 2003 24’ Nautica Ridged Hull Inflatable.

On a sad note I’m sure others will mention, Deputy Sanchez’s Mother, Georgina, who worked at the Plantation Key Sheriff’s Station, passed away. We had a very nice Memorial Service for her here at Founder’s Park with about 100 people attending. As one speaker noted, Georgina always liked it cold; the temperature during her service was near 55 degrees. We will all miss her smile and her service to the community.

School Resource Unit Report

By Sgt. John Barber

Where has this school year gone? It has just flown by. We only have two months left in the school year. It's been a very productive year thus far. The unit has actually been fully up to staff until recently when Deputy Robison was injured while performing school zone duties. Louis will be out due to those injuries for at least a couple weeks. We definitely wish Louis a speedy recovery. We need him back at Coral Shores High School.

SRO Deputy Tammy Jensen speaks to her graduating DARE Class at Switlik School in Marathon March 25th.

Fifth grade DARE has been completed at all of our elementary schools. Deputy Tammy Jensen did a tremendous job in conducting ceremonies for Switlik School's graduating fifth graders on Wednesday March 24. It's always an important event when the youth of our community commit themselves to being drug and violence free. One of the greatest things about DARE is that its prevention-oriented. This is what the DARE Program is all about, preventing kids taking a wrong turn in life.

I have to give Deputy Will Schlegelmilch an "atta boy" ref the work he did on the recent burglaries at Key Largo School in February. The school had been burglarized a number of times in late February with computer equipment being taken each time.Will conducted a "stake out" and along with Sector Seven officers caught the culprit red-handed. Good job Will! Key Largo School and the Sheriff's Office appreciates all your hard work!

Monroe County Reserve Sergeant John Housman died this month at his home in Marathon

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office held a memorial service for Reserve Sgt. John Housman at the Sheriff's Aviation Hanger in Marathon March 18th. John, who also worked for the City of Marathon and for Monroe County, was well known in the Marathon area.

John became a Reserve Deputy for the Sheriff's Office in August of 2000 and was promoted to Reserve Sergeant in June of 2002. He spent most of his Reserve hours working with the Aviation Division as a flight deputy and co-pilot. He was also in charge of training for the Division. Click here to see photos of the Memorial Service.

Law Enforcement Operation targets boating safety, sanitation

A law enforcement operation targeting boating safety and sanitation served to educate the boating public Saturday and served as a warning to some who were caught violating the law.

An advisory group of citizens in the upper Keys recommended the operation take place. Members of the Sector 7, Zone 1 group, who live in the Tavernier area, said they feel boating safety and sanitation is an issue that needs to be targeted by law enforcement. Monroe County Sheriff's Sergeant Lou Caputo, who is the zone commander for that area, decided to set up an educational effort with other agencies to address the problem.

On Saturday at 9 a.m. officers from the Park Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Sanctuary and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office boarded seven boats and began an effort to contact as many boaters as they could to check for violations, and to hand out educational material. By 2 p.m., they had contacted 70 boats between Jewfish Creek and Tavernier Creek, on both the ocean side and bay side of the upper Keys.

"Our goal was really to let people know what the law says about safety and sanitation," said Sgt. Caputo. "We asked each boater if we could board the vessel and check it. Everyone we talked with gave us permission to board. Once on board, we checked all their safety equipment, and checked to make sure sanitation equipment was properly installed and operating," he said. Of the 70 boats checked, the group handed out 13 warnings and 11 citations. One person was arrested for boating under the influence of alcohol. The citations were almost exclusively handed out to boats that were pumping waste directly into the water without any sanitation equipment at all. All the boats were given a packet of information in a waterproof bag.

Sgt. Caputo wants everyone who owns a boat, particularly those who live on board them, to know that this will not be the last time this type of operation will take place. "We'll be doing this on a regular basis," he said. "We need to let people know that we expect them to follow the rules when it comes to safe and clean boating. All of our agencies consider this to be a priority, and we'll be working together to make sure the public knows it is a priority as well," he said.

Dive team says thanks

Members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Underwater Search & Recovery Team present a plaque to Mike Ho-Sing-Loy, owner and operator of Tavernier Dive Center. Dive Team leader Det. Mark Coleman says Mike and his staff provide invaluable service to the team by providing specialized equipment and air fills at a moment’s notice, as well as the use of his commercial dive boat, “Shadow,” for training exercises. Ho-Sing-Loy recently donated two underwater cameras to the Sheriff’s Office. The cameras will be utilized in evidence recovery dives. The photo that goes with this release can be found in Public Folders, Office of Public Information, Press Releases.


 

Bureau of Corrections

Long-time Programs Employee Retiring

After 40 years of teaching, Mr. Tom Lindsay will be retiring in May of this year. He started the GED program at the Monroe County Detention Center ten years ago graduating 132 inmates.

He plans to divide his time between Canada, Germany, and the Canary Islands, but will return during the fall to teach German part time at the Florida Keys Community College and volunteer to work closely with the TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN program.

Mr. Tom Lindsay and Captain Penny Phelps present Lindsay's last diploma of his career to inmate Jennifer Wright. Lindsay is retiring in May after 40 years of teaching in Monroe County.

 

Rodriguez promoted to Sergeant

Detention Deputy Allan Rodriguez became Sgt. Allan Rodriguez in January.

In the photo, he is congratulated by Captain Phelps as Major Tommy Taylor looks on.

Congratulations Sgt. Rodriguez!

 

Awards and Commendations

2004 Employee award Ceremony dates set

Please be advised that the dates and times for the Officer of the Quarter Ceremonies for the year 2004 are as follows:

  •  Friday, May 14, 2004 at 2:00 p.m. 1 st Quarter 2004
  •  Friday, August 6, 2004 at 2:00 p.m. 2 nd Quarter 2004
  •  Friday, November 5, 2004 at 2:00 p.m. 3 rd Quarter 2004

 All of the above mentioned ceremonies will be held at the Marathon Government Center.

Thanks to Quarterly Award Sponsors

I want to mention the following sponsors, who make monetary contributions to our Quarterly Employee Awards.:

  • First Quarter:: Hal Barrett And Company, P.O. Box 413, Islamorada, Fl 33036
  • Second Quarter: First State Bank, 1201 Simonton Street, Key West, Fl 33040
  • Third Quarter: Sands Of The Keys, 86490 Overseas Highway, Plantation Key, Fl 33070
  • Fourth Quarter: Holiday Isle, 84001 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, Fl 33036

Employee of the Year Award Ceremony

 

The Employee of the Year ceremony was held this week at the Harvey Government Center in Key West. To see all the photos from the ceremony, click here.

 

 

Also receiving a Sheriff's ribbon for Lifesaving at the ceremony was Deputy Lyle Agins. Deputy Agins, along with Deputy Eric Christensen and Deputy James Ford received the ribbon for saving a man who'd hung himself during a suicide attempt in October 2003. Agins accepted the ribbon for all three deputies.

At a special ceremony held in Key West Thursday, the Sheriff handed out his Employee of the Year awards for 2003. The Employees of the Year are chosen from all of those who received one of the Sheriff’s Employee of the Quarter awards throughout the year.

“The people chosen to be Employees of the Year are truly the best of the best – they have proven themselves to be outstanding employees, as well as outstanding contributors to the community they serve,” said Sheriff Rick Roth.

The yearly award winners receive a special plaque from the Sheriff in recognition of their exemplary work, and a badge to wear on their uniforms with the designation “Officer of the Year”. In addition, they each receive a check for $500.00 donated by TIB Bank, and $1,000.00 from the Sheriff’s Office. The Cadet of the year receives $100.00 from TIB Bank, with a matching amount from the Sheriff’s Office.

The Cormier Memorial Award, given to the Sheriff’s Office Sworn Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, is named for Deputy David Cormier, a Sheriff’s reserve officer killed in the line of duty in a traffic accident in November of 1989. Members of the Cormier family attend the ceremony each year in memory of their loved one who gave his life in service to the community.

The Cormier Memorial Award winner, Sworn Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Sergeant Daryl Hull.

Sgt. Hull, who is assigned to Sector One and is the Zone 3 Commander for the lower Keys Sector, continues to make a difference, one person at a time, with his calm, caring, and compassionate personality. On June 6th, he responded to a call of a subject who was threatening to commit suicide and was armed with a pistol. The subject had reportedly fired a round from the pistol prior to Sgt. Hull’s and backup Deputy Joe Cortner’s arrival on the scene. This person was obviously on edge and had held the gun to his own head and then waved it around.

While waiting for the hostage negotiators to arrive, Sgt. Hull took on the role and was able to calmly talk the subject out of taking his own life, before the arrival of any other assistance. Sgt. Hull is one of the great assets that the Sheriff’s Office is able to provide to the community we serve. He certainly helped save a life that day.

CORRECTIONS Officer of the Year: Sgt. Allan Rodriguez, who is assigned to the Stock Island Detention Center, has a work ethic that serves as an example for others to follow. During the course of the year 2003, Sgt. Rodriguez had a number of outstanding accomplishments, not least of which was saving an inmate's life. The inmate had climbed up security fencing in the Detention Center's high security unit and was threatening to jump to the cement floor below in an effort to kill himself. Sgt. Rodriguez was responsible for establishing a dialogue with that inmate and talking him down without incident, saving his life.

In addition to this life saving action, on a day to day basis he continues to make a difference in the detention facility. Here is just one example of the lengths he will go to solve a problem:

Sgt. Rodriguez attended a command meeting and learned of a problem occurring with unaccounted spray bottles. The next day he worked Unit Alpha, and counted the spray bottles in Unit Alpha and discovered some of missing. He began searching cells in order to locate the missing bottles.

Sgt. Rodriguez entered Inmate Mulligan’s cell, and noticed that the inmate’s trash bag was half full. His training and experience led him to believe that the inmate was hiding something under the trash in the trash bag. He picked up the trash bag and felt that it was heavy. Sgt. Rodriguez searched the trash and could not find anything heavy, but he noticed that the trash bag was double bagged, one inside of the other. He discovered what looked like two handguns. After further evaluation, it was determined that they were replicas fabricated from paper, toilet paper, toothpaste, Styrofoam and colored with black permanent marker.

Sgt. Rodriguez continued to search the inmate’s cell. He found a third replica weapon and a pair of boxers. The boxers had part of a laundry bag tied inside the waistband, which was going be used as a concealed holster for the replica weapons. He also discovered a door hinge hidden inside of a lotion bottle, a pushpin, a razor blade, and a piece of wire hidden inside of a tube of toothpaste.

It was his willingness to search the unit for something as trivial as missing spray bottles, which led to the discovery of a cache of potential weapons. The importance of his search and the confiscation of potential weapons were clearly illustrated by a prison escape that occurred the week after Sgt. Rodriguez discovery. An inmate in Tacoma, Washington used a replica weapon to take an officer hostage and escape from prison. This discovery prevented anyone from becoming a hostage and/or getting injured.

SUPPORT Employee of the Year: Pilot Leland Cranmer, Aviation Division. Pilot Cranmer's dedication to his duty, professionalism, ability to perform with expert precision, and concern for the lives of others reflects greatly upon himself, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, and the citizens of Monroe County. On August 2nd, the MCSO Trauma Star responded to a trauma request involving the search and rescue of a missing 19-year-old traffic crash victim. The victim’s driver’s side door was pinned up against the bridge barrier adjacent to the Sunshine Key Campground. The vehicles headlights and ignition were on, the radio was playing, and the windshield wipers operating. The victim was nowhere to be found. It appeared that the victim must have been ejected or egressed through the window and may have fallen over the bridge. The Rescue 13 and Big Pine Fire Chief David Alan cleared the crash scene and called off the search for the victim.

This is when Trauma Star was summoned. With a thunderstorm over the Marathon Airport and darkness still prevalent, Trauma Star was scrambled. Pilot Cranmer was flying Trauma Star single pilot with no other crew members on board. He would be flying and searching from the air by himself. It was this noble act that Cranmer maneuvered the helicopter in low light conditions. He followed the rip current to the open ocean, and discovered the victim’s motionless body floating in the water face down. He immediately advised Central and took up and over watch position. During this time, Cranmer realized the victim was moving and floundering in the water. With units still too far away, he had to think quickly and take immediate action. The victim was rescued and rendered medical aid.

Pilot Cranmer’s ability to perform under tremendous pressure and under extremely hazardous conditions while flying and searching by himself is without equal. His selfless act of courage and concern for the needs of the victim goes beyond the normal call-of-duty. Because of his actions, a local youth’s life was spared from certain death.

RESERVE Deputy of the Year: Reserve Deputy Jose Lopez goes beyond the call of duty. Deputy Andrew Ensminger has had the privilege to have Lopez ride along with him on several occasions. During those times, Lopez always made the effort to assist whenever possible. Reserve Deputy Lopez has been the lifesaver on a couple of scenes where he was the only Spanish-speaking officer in the area. He was able to get vital information from the victims and suspects while remaining calm and in a professional manor. Lopez is a great asset to this department, and he is always willing to help out at any hour of the day or night. Whether he is riding along or just taking a phone call translate, he can always be counted on.

EXPLORER of the Year: Cadet Josh Fleeman is a member of Explorer Post 904 and a student at Sugarloaf School. Even though Josh is young, he has already distinguished himself in many ways.

Josh was one of only 3 members of Post 904 to receive a perfect attendance for the past year. With all the activities Josh is involved in, it is quite an accomplishment to make all 37 weekly meetings in the course of a school year. Josh also received the Captains award for “Cutest in the Post.”

Josh may be small in stature, but he is a giant in character. Josh went most of the year without the standard issued gray BDU’s that each member receives when joining the Post, because they were unable to find a manufacturer that had his size. It is a matter of pride for each explorer to have his or her own uniform, and Josh took it all in stride and never complained.

Josh especially distinguished himself and went far beyond the call of duty as the top salesman in our boat raffle. Josh attended every raffle sale that was organized. He was tireless in his efforts to sell tickets to anyone and everyone. We are pretty sure that Josh asked everyone, in a 30 square mile radius of Big Pine, if they wanted to buy a raffle ticket and many did. Josh single-handedly sold 240 raffle tickets. Boat raffle sales went slow and it took a great deal of effort and determination to get it completed. Josh was a key player and key salesman in reaching the goal and raffling off the boat.

Letters of Commendation
  • Naval Air Station Fire Chief Steven Simeon wrote to Sheriff Roth commending the lower Keys Sector for their help with the funeral of firefighter Paul Santana. He says, in part, "Without the assistance of the 2 motorcycles and especially Lt. Mitch Snider playing of the bagpipes the traditional firefighter's procession and services would not have been the high quality it was."
  • John Benjamin, Acting Superintendent of the Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks wrote to Sheriff Roth to thank the agency for help in the search for and recovery of a plane that crashed in the Park. He thanked all the members of the team for their contributions, including: Reserve Captain Bob Smith, Sgt. Daryl Hull, Deputy Winfred Higgins, Deputy Kirsten Adams, Detective Don Dalton, Detective Bobby Haynes, Detective Jon Ellsworth, Detective Al Ramirez, and Reserve Deputy Bob Jason.
  • Annette Ponnock, of Coral Gables, Florida wrote to Sheriff Roth to commend Sgt. Tim Hurd. She said Sgt. Hurd pulled her over in February and was "courteous and respectful....pleasantly polite yet firm and understanding. Thank you for the exemplary service."
  • Deirdre Rouse, of Snow Hill Maryland, wrote to Sheriff Roth to commend employees in the middle Keys for what she calls an "exemplary experience with your department". In February, she had her purse stolen in Marathon and went to the substation to report it. She was helped by Rita Hinerman, Deputy Andrew Warwick, Deputy Derek Paul, and Sgt. Gene Thompson. She says, "By copy of this letter to you I will extend my sincere thanks to these exemplary public servants who not only do their job efficiently but in such a way they comfort those they serve."
  • Galen Brookens, President of the Royal Palm R.V. Park Crime Watch wrote to Sheriff Roth to express his Crime Watch's appreciation for a program Deputy Emil LaVache presented March 2nd. He also thanked Captain Chad Scibilia for his participation and Detective Sgt. Mike Langston for his presentation on counterfeit money. He said, "We thank you on behalf of all our residents and guests here at Royal Palm R.V. Park for truly being concerned for the welfare of the citizens of this county."

Support Services

Finance/Payroll

By Kimm Johnson

Well, Well…How often do you actually hear from the Finance Department. Only when we want your money, right? But not this time. The Finance Director, Amy Heavilin, has asked each one of us to write an article and I volunteered first, that’s because the deadline is due the same time payroll is. Hmmm, let’s see, which one is more important….That’s easy to answer, so I won’t make this too long.

I would like to express a few areas that can still be improved upon to make it easier for the finance division to process items in a more timely manner:

**Both the Employee and the Supervisor must sign Timesheets prior to sending them to Payroll. Per our past audits, we have been advised that all members must sign their timesheets before they are processed.

**It is the employee’s responsibility to make sure their timesheet is turned in at the same time each cycle. This means, if you are sick or on vacation, arrange with your supervisor to submit it for you. It is difficult when payroll has to spend additional time tracking down straggling timesheets.**Payroll needs to verify certain information against the policies regarding bereavement leave. Should a member experience a death in their family, please indicate the direct relationship on the timesheet. This will help avoid finance from calling the employee during their time off. MCSO policy states “A member may be granted administrative leave with pay until the deceased family member has been interred or cremated. The maximum time allowed is five consecutive days, including holidays and normal days off.” Please refer to Chapter 9, page 18, #11.

**In order for overtime to be paid, court subpoenas and depositions must be attached to timesheets. If they get lost, please contact the Clerk’s/State Attorney’s office and request a duplicate. Should an employee receive any checks for witness fees, please forward the check(s) directly to the Finance office for processing.

**Off Duty Details for U.S. Marshals Only does not get recorded on your timesheet. This detail has a separate Off Duty form that must be filled out and sent to Mary Cohen, at the KW Jail for approval and then it is sent to Finance for payment. Please do not record these hours in your timesheet as overtime. This gets paid at a set rate and not at one's overtime rate.

If you have not heard, the current pre-approved overtime policy for working in the jails has been terminated. All employees fall under the current policy of being paid straight time if they take any vacation or sick time off within the 28 day cycle, or a 7 day cycle. I don’t want to confuse this issue, but please remember, when you work overtime within a cycle and take vacation or sick time off the overtime hours will then be paid to you at straight time. For example, you work 12 hours of overtime, take 5 vacation hours off, then you will be paid 7 hrs of overtime and 5 hrs at straight time.

We are currently looking into a program to process payroll without paper. This will mean that everyone will have to record their work information into a computer, approve it, then the supervisor will approve it. Once it is submitted to finance, I will review to ensure that employee hours get processed properly. We will keep you posted on the process for this.

It’s getting close to that time of year again, when hurricane season comes and this is a reminder that you will need to fill out a new Hurricane Cash Advance form if you would like to receive money in advance for emergencies. Please remember, that you will be required to sign a form for reimbursement to the agency for this money that you receive. The reimbursement will be $50.00 each payday until your balance is paid in full. Let’s just hope that we have NO major catastrophes this year!!

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to email me at kjohnson@keysso.net or call 292-7017.


General News

Special Invitation: Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office in cooperation with the Monroe County Special Olympics Committee invites all members of your Agency to participate in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run to be held on Friday April 23rd, 2004 at 08:00 a.m. in Key West and/or 1:00 p.m. in the City of Marathon.

The Key West leg will begin at the Southernmost Point and wind through the streets arriving at H.O.B. school for a brief stop with some of the young Special Olympics athletes, then off to Key West High School, then Poinciana School and finishing at the Sheriff's Office Headquarters Building. There will be water stops at all the schools and the run pace will be slow.

The Marathon leg will begin at the Sheriff’s Office Marathon Sub-Station and head northward to the Holiday Inn.

Event T-shirts will be available for $12.00.

Members of your agency, sworn and non-sworn may register for the run by contacting Jim Painter at (305) 292-7027 or email jpainter@keysso.net

The torch will travel across the state, carried by Law Enforcement personnel. For more information on the representing agencies go to:

http://www.sofl.org/law_enforcement_torch_run.aspx#torch Please come out and join us.

Art Behind Bars Events

Art Behind Bars, the art-based community service program for inmates, is pleased to announce two events in April: On Saturday, April 3rd, 6-10 p.m., Dr. Jake Rutherford and KT Timberlake will host a cocktail party at their beautiful canal-side home that will feature food, libations, entertainment, and a reading of excerpts from the play “Rock Stars” by playwright Barbara McConagha - a series of monologues about program participants performed in collaboration with the Red Barn Theatre. All proceeds benefit Art Behind Bars. Admission is $50 per person. For tickets or more information, phone 304-7861.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

Submitted by Dispatcher Lynn Faircloth

Each year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators. It was first conceived by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office in 1981 and was observed only at that agency for three years. Members of the Virginia and North Carolina chapters of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) became involved in the mid-1980s. By the early 1990s, the national APCO organization convinced Congress of the need for a formal proclamation. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced what became H.J. Res. 284 to create "National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week." According to Congressional procedure, it was introduced twice more in 1993 and 1994, and then became permanent, without the need for yearly introduction.

The official name of the week when originally introduced in Congress in 1991 was "National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week." In the intervening years, it has somehow become known by several other names, including "National Public-Safety Telecommunications Week" and "International Public Safety Telecommunicator's Week." The Congressional resolution also stated there were more than "500,000 telecommunications specialists," although our estimate puts the number of dispatchers at just over 200,000. We expect the Congressional figure includes support personnel and perhaps even those in the commercial sector of public safety communications.

Of course, you don't need NTW to honor your public safety dispatchers for excellence! You can write them a commendation, mention their "good job" at a shift briefing, or just give them a pat on the back. You might also consider nominating the one of your dispatchers, or a dispatcher from another agency for an Olmstead/Handfield Award <http://www.gryeyes.com/goodjob.htm> of Excellence, which includes a very nice certificate suitable for framing!DISPATCH Monthly has prepared some materials about NTW that you will find useful as your agency considers how to recognize the dispatchers that have worked so hard during the past year. We've included a link to the Congressional Record for the 102nd Session of Congress that searches and displays official documents about National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week from its origin in 1991. updated 5/8/03 <http://www.911dispatch.com/cgi-bin/birdcast.cgi> <http://www.911dispatch.com/cgi-bin/birdcast.cgi>

We have also designed three certificates that you can download and print on colored paper to give to dispatchers that you recognize during national Telecommunicator Week. The certificates are in Adobe Acrobat format, which you can download from PC, Macintosh, Unix or other computers. You can download a free copy of the Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Web site.

Dispatcher of the Year <cert_dispyear.pdf> - Acrobat format
Certificate of Appreciation <cert_appr.pdf> - Acrobat format
Award of Merit <cert_merit.pdf> - Acrobat format

A Tribute To Dispatchers

By Chief Thomas Wagoner
Loveland (Colo.) Police Department

Someone once asked me if I thought that answering telephones for a living was a profession. I said, "I thought it was a calling."

And so is dispatching. I have found in my law enforcement career that dispatchers are the unsung heroes of public safety. They miss the excitement of riding in a speeding car with lights flashing and sirens wailing. They can only hear of the bright orange flames leaping from a burning building. They do not get to see the joy on the face of worried parents as they see their child begin breathing on its own, after it has been given CPR.

Dispatchers sit in darkened rooms looking at computer screens and talking to voices from faces they never see. It's like reading a lot of books, but only half of each one.

Dispatchers connect the anxious conversations of terrified victims, angry informants, suicidal citizens and grouchy officers. They are the calming influence of all of them-the quiet, competent voices in the night that provide the pillars for the bridges of sanity and safety. They are expected to gather information from highly agitated people who can't remember where they live, what their name is, or what they just saw. And then, they are to calmly provide all that information to the officers, firefighters, or paramedics without error the first time and every time.

Dispatchers are expected to be able to do five things at once-and do them well. While questioning a frantic caller, they must type the information into a computer, tip off another dispatcher, put another caller on hold, and listen to an officer run a plate for a parking problem. To miss the plate numbers is to raise the officer's ire; to miss the caller's information may be to endanger the same officer's life. But, the officer will never understand that.

Dispatchers have two constant companions, other dispatchers and stress. They depend on one, and try to ignore the other. they are chastened by upset callers, taken for granted by the public, and criticized by the officers. The rewards they get are inexpensive and infrequent, except for the satisfaction they feel at the end of a shift, having done what they were expected to do.

Dispatchers come in all shapes and sizes, all races, both sexes, and all ages. They are blondes, and brunettes, and redheads. They are quiet and outgoing, single, or married, plain, beautiful, or handsome. No two are alike, yet they are all the same.

They are people who were selected in a difficult hiring process to do an impossible job. They are as different as snowflakes, but they have one thing in common. They care about people and they enjoy being the lifeline of society-that steady voice in a storm-the one who knows how to handle every emergency and does it with style and grace; and, uncompromised competence.

Dispatchers play many roles: therapist, doctor, lawyer, teacher, weatherman, guidance counselor, psychologist, priest, secretary, supervisor, politician, and reporter. And few people must jump through the emotional hoops on the trip through the joy of one caller's birthday party, to the fear of another caller's burglary in progress, to the anger of a neighbor blocked in their drive, and back to the birthday caller all in a two-minute time frame. The emotional rollercoaster rolls to a stop after an 8 or 10 hour shift, and they are expected to walk down to their car with steady feet and no queasiness in their stomach-because they are dispatchers. If they hold it in, they are too closed. If they talk about it, they are a whiner. If it bothers them, it adds more stress. If it doesn't, they question themselves, wondering why.

Dispatchers are expected to have:

  • the compassion of Mother Theresa
  • the wisdom of Solomon
  • the interviewing skills of Oprah Winfrey
  • the gentleness of Florence Nightingale
  • the patience of Job
  • the voice of Barbara Streisand
  • the knowledge of Einstein
  • the answers of Ann Landers
  • the humor of David Letterman
  • the investigative skills of Sgt. Joe Friday
  • the looks of Melanie Griffith or Don Johnson
  • the faith of Billy Graham the energy of Charo
  • and the endurance of the Energizer Bunny Is it any wonder that many drop out during training? It is a unique and talented person who can do this job and do it well. And, it is fitting and proper that we take a few minutes or hours this week to honor you for the job that each of you do. That recognition is overdue and it is insufficient. But, it is sincere.

I have tried to do your job, and I have failed. It takes a special person with unique skills. I admire you and I thank you for the thankless job you do. You are heroes, and I am proud to work with you.

[This piece was written by Chief Wagoner in 1994 in connection with National Telecommunicator Week. He has graciously allowed us to post it here, and gives others permission to use it for non-commercial purposes.]

National Crime Victim’s Rights Week is April 18-24, 2004

 This year, in honor of those service providers, justice professionals, and others who seek to promote greater public awareness about a serious problem that affects most people in America, the youth of our community will be presenting an Art Exhibit at the courthouses throughout Monroe County, which will be reflective of this year’s theme “AMERICA’S VALUES”.    During the week of April 18th, in cooperation with the Administrative Courts of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Fraternal Order of  Police, Monroe County Public School System and those who have given selflessly to help others, we invite you to visit your local courthouse and admire those depictions of America’s Values through the eyes of our children.


What’s Happening

Photo and Caption submitted by Lt. Don Hiller

This was Colonel Rick Ramsay's first time on a full size (not putt-putt) golf course. The sick individual that I am, could not resist the chance and opportunity to try out my exploding golf balls. I wish I had more pictures of him diving behind the golf cart.

Who Says Relay for Life is not fun??????????

Over March 19th and 20th the Middle Keys held their annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life event. During the overnight hours of Relay each team is supposed to hold a "social" even which brings the teams together. Sometimes there is free food and other times teams play games. This year the Marathon Emergency Services Team was awarded a Relay for Life ribbon for their social which was by no means planned.

During the teams social half hour the Emergency Services Team, which consisted of members of the Sheriff's Office, FHP, FWC and Marathon Volunteer Firefighters, was told of a disturbance occurring on the other side of the Relay field. Some members went over to find out what was going on and ended up having what Relay for Life event chair Sonny Booker called "A social most like reality TV". Long story short, members of the team ended up arresting a subject who showed up at the event uninvited. The subject ended up being arrested for disorderly intoxication, trespass on school property and resisting arrest w/o violence.

While the team earned the prestigious ribbon "Social Most Like Reality TV", they also managed to raise over $3,200!!! A very special thank you to everyone who donated to our team either by monetary donations or helping out!!!

Members of the team were: Captain Lin Badman, Co-Captain Charlene Sprinkle-Huff, Dep. Chuck Kellenberger (also firefighter), Ofc. Annie Plastic (FWC), Trp. William Hitchcock (FHP), Dep. Joel Slough, Dep. Harry Boyden and his wife Joanne, Patricia Badman, Dep. Sonya Morgan and Dep. Alice Cervantes. Also helping out in one way or another were Capt. Bob Peryam, Sgt. Dennis Cain, Dep. Linda Hartley-Mixon and Records Assistant Jennifer Hodges.