A Newsletter published by the Community Relations Division
of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, for
Monroe County Sheriff's Office employees.

Table of Contents

Sheriff's Report

Changes coming for the Sheriff’s Office

Mission and Value Statements

Community Policing Training

Ask the Administration

Awards

Bureau of Corrections

Patrol News

Legislative Update

For Your Information

What’s Happening

Community Relations


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Employees of the first quarter. Left to right: Reserve Dep. Ted Migala, 
Sgt. Larry Kelley, Sheriff Roth, Cadet Kira Jensen, Olga Perez and 
Detention Sgt. Raymond Rothmund.

Sheriff's Report

Changes coming for the Sheriff’s Office

By Sheriff Rick Roth

We recently signed a contract to provide law enforcement services to the newly incorporated cities of Islamorada and Marathon and we also have one with the city of Layton. This means we will all see some changes over the next few months in the way we do business, particularly in the middle and upper Keys patrol areas..

The real change in our operating procedure will be in our flexibility. In many ways we will be much less flexible in the way we are allowed to do business. Many of our officers will be required to work only in the particular area they are assigned to.

The exception is, of course, in emergency situations. If an officer is in trouble and needs back-up, any officer within range will be expected to help no matter what area they are assigned to work.

With the restructuring, you will see our traditional “Districts” broken up into smaller areas, based on the various incorporated and unincorporated portions of the county. Each of these areas will have specific “municipal officers” assigned to them. Those “municipal officers” will strictly work their designated areas of patrol. For instance, Marathon has contracted for four sergeants and nine patrol officers. Islamorada has contracted for a captain, four sergeants and eight deputies. Officers who fill those positions will only work in those areas. Likewise, the unincorporated area between the two cities will also have officers assigned to it as “municipal officers”.

In all of those instances, none of these “municipal” officers will have the flexibility to cross over into any of the other “municipal” areas, except, of course, in an emergency.

There will also be “regional” patrol officers assigned to work the various areas of the county. These “regional” officers will be more flexible. The Captain or Lieutenant of a particular area will have the power to assign officers designated as “regional” anywhere they are needed.

For instance, if there is a call in Marathon and Marathon municipal officers are busy, or are farther away from the location of the call, an available regional officer would be able to respond to the call. If there is a call on Duck Key and no designated municipal officers are available or if they are farther away from the location of the call, a regional officer who is on duty would be able to take the call. If an Islamorada officer is on vacation, a “regional” officer can be assigned to work in his or her place.

Detectives will also be split into those assigned to a particular area, “municipal detectives”, and those assigned regionally.

There are also officers assigned to work in “County-wide” positions. They will work cases throughout the county, depending on their specialty. County-wide positions include those in Traffic, Homicide, Crimes Against Women and Children, School Resource, Community Relations, Special Investigations Detectives, Aviation, Civil Process, Environmental Crimes, and others.

We will begin filling municipal positions soon. We need to have all positions filled and ready to go by October 1st, when all the contracts take effect.

Anyone who is interested in being a “municipal officer” should call the Captain or Lieutenant in the area they are interested in. In the lower Keys, contact Lt. Bruce Winegarden; in the middle Keys, contact Captain Bob Peryam or Lt. Chad Scibilia; in Islamorada, contact Captain Joe Leiter; and in the remainder of the Upper Keys, contact Capt. Jennifer Bell-Thomson or Lt. Bill Moran. If we do not fill the municipal positions in this way, then officers will be assigned to fill the positions as needed.

Here are a few possible questions, and the answers to those questions. If you have more questions, do not hesitate to ask your supervisor or submit the questions to the Rap Sheet Ask the Administration column.

Question: What if an officer on Conch Key calls for back up? Can a municipal officer from the city of Marathon provide that back up?

Answer: Yes. The presumption in a case such as this is that the officer needs back up because he is in trouble or has a potentially dangerous situation. This would justify a municipaly assigned officer leaving his area to assist.

Question: Can a city increase the salaries of the municipal officers assigned to it?

Answer: No. We will continue to negotiate our salaries as a single unified office.

Question: If there is money left over from a city contract at the end of the year, can it be used for bonuses for it’s municipal officers?

Answer: No. The money will be credited to the following year.

Question: Why does Islamorada have a separate Captain and not Marathon?

Answer: Islamorada chose to pay for a captain’s position and Marathon did not. Captain Bob Peryam will continue to be the Commander of the entire area.

Question: When looking at the contracts, it appears that Islamorada is getting more for it’s money than Marathon. Why is that?

Answer: Actually, Islamorada has chosen to provide office space, telephones and some other infrastructure and operational necessities themselves. In Marathon, officers will still be using the District Substation as an operating base. This difference is reflected in the amounts of the two contracts.

Question: Do Islamorada and Marathon control hiring, firing and disciplinary matters when it comes to the municipal officers assigned to those areas?

Answer: No. They will have some input in these areas, but the control still rests with the Sheriff.

Question: Is it true that under Marathon’s contract, they may choose to transfer two officers every year, with or without a reason to do so?

Answer: Yes. This is written in the contract, however any officer affected in this way would simply be transferred to an open municipal or regional position elsewhere, so the effect on the officer would be minimal.

I hope this answers some of your questions. I know it is an uncertain time, but so far everything has gone relatively smoothly with contract talks and everyone seems to be keeping a positive attitude. I don’t anticipate any future problems with the transition.

Even though the contracts don’t technically take effect until October 1st of this year, we will be implementing the changes as soon as we can to make sure we’ve worked out the glitches and everything is flowing smoothly before then. This is a complicated issue and one that will take cooperation on the part of everyone. I appreciate everyone’s efforts to make this work.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Mission Statement

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to providing a safe and secure community through partnerships and by working to attain the highest level of professionalism and accountability.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Values

In support of our mission, members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office are committed to upholding the following values.

WE VALUE upholding the laws in an ethical, impartial, courteous and professional manner while respecting the rights and dignity of all persons. We will be compassionate and provide assistance to victims and those in need.

WE VALUE promoting a sense of trust and respect for all people, including those in our agency.

WE VALUE that the police and the community share in the responsibility for crime control and public safety, and that the role of the police is defined by the community it serves.

WE VALUE and encourage problem solving, creative risk taking, initiative, and affecting change. We will recognize and reward those who contribute to the development of more effective ways of providing police services and those who apply creative solutions to problems. We recognize that growth and learning are the positive consequences of honest mistakes.

WE VALUE the reduction and prevention of crime through community partnerships and problem solving.

WE VALUE the team concept. Successful completion of the task is more important than who gets the credit for the work.

WE VALUE and believe in high professionalism standards of integrity, ethics, and behavior, guided by the letter and spirit of the law, and the law enforcement code of ethics. We take responsibility for our own actions. We will act appropriately and responsibly and require the same of others.

 

Community Policing Training

By Sheriff Rick Roth

I have received very positive feedback from many of you on the community policing training everyone received this past week. I am glad that Deputy Chief Phelps was able to bring about a better understanding of the way we should be policing. This is the beginning of some comprehensive changes in our agency designed to ensure that a community policing philosophy is fully incorporated and becomes the foundation for the culture of the Sheriff’s Office.

To that end, we are beginning work in the following areas: creating a philosophy statement that will make clear the expectations of each member; re-designing our annual performance evaluations; incorporating the community policing philosophy into the FTO program; and including community policing and problem solving training in the police academy and in-service training. The colonel’s staff has already met to discuss ways to reward work that is in line with our philosophy. They are also discussing ways to improve the performance of those who are not doing their jobs, and the consequences that will follow should no improvements be made. You will be hearing about these changes along the way, and we will be seeking your input.

It is important for every member of our agency to realize that this shift in the way we do business is not a passing fancy, but is here to stay. It is a philosophy I believe in because it reduces crime, and that, after all, is what we are here for. It is also a way in which your jobs can be made more interesting and which allows you to have a greater impact in your communities than ever before.

Many of you are already on board, as is proven by the work you’ve done since we introduced SMARTCOP last year. I hope that with this training, and with the changes we plan to make in the near future, you will be even more motivated to continue your good work. Keeping you encouraged and motivated is my responsibility and that of your command staff – please let us know how we can make your job easier.

We welcome your input and look forward to good things from you in the future.

Ask the Administration

Question #1: Why does the Sheriff’s Office have only one “Corporal”? Is there an FTO program for this position and, if so, has this person been through it?

Answered by Captain Bob Peryam: The Sheriff’s Office does not have anyone that holds the rank of Corporal. There is no Corporal FTO program in the Sheriff’s Office and due to the fact that there is no Corporal or Corporal FTO program, no one has been through such a program. We do have a person that is a court security supervisor that wears Corporal type collar brass. This is only meant to designate that she is a supervisor. It does not give her the rank of Corporal. Due to the fact that this position is not a Sgt.’s position nor a deputy position, but a “supervisor” position, we thought we would designate the position with collar brass. This would be similar to the way we designate a director’s position. Directors wear a warrant officer’s shoulder bars even thought we don’t technically have the rank of warrant officer.

Question #2: With the new SMARTCOP program, part of the program was that people who work really hard would be recognized through the use of activity sheets, and those who do very little would also be recognized through their activity sheets (or lack thereof). What has happened to this accountability? It seems as though it doesn’t exist.

Answered by Colonel Bill McDonald: In order to properly evaluate and fine tune the SMARTCOP program, my staff and I decided to collect and evaluate the data for approximately one year before beginning to use the activity sheets as a performance measure. On May 24th, I held a meeting with the commanders to address the issue of performance evaluations and incentives for those officers whose performance met or exceeded the standard and what to do with those officers that weren’t performing. Below are the minutes of the meeting.

Colonel's Staff Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 24

Colonel asked for input on the community policing training. Everyone was satisfied with the content and the trainer and agreed we should do more of the same. Next topic should be problem solving.

Staff agreed that we need to set standards so that everyone in the agency knows exactly what is expected of them in terms of a community policing philosophy. The ways to do this are:

· a new mission statement and value statements

· re-vamp the FTO program to include a community policing philosophy and problem solving training

· include community policing training in our academy

Discussion then centered on ways in which we can increase recognition for those whose performance is above standards, and sanctions that should follow for those who are not performing. The following list was generated and the Colonel will seek approval from the Sheriff where necessary:

Choosing a 'SMARTCOP' of the month. The nominees would be reviewed by the Colonel's staff, and one person per month would be chosen. That person (and their supervisor) would be recognized at a Colonel's staff meeting. The commanders will find a community sponsor for each district who is willing to provide a gift certificate or dinner for two for the winner. The member would be recognized in the Rap Sheet and in the media and would receive an administrative day off from the Sheriff.

Other incentives discussed:

· (Controlled) overtime for those who attend work-related community meetings on their time off.

· TDY to specialty units

· TRAP overtime

· T-shirts (Bobby Randolph to work on this with sergeants for design)

· High Performance evaluation score

· Admin time for community volunteer work not directly job related (wearing our t-shirts)

· promotions

· discretionary training

Negative consequences for those who don't do the job:

· Poor performance evaluation score

· No promotions

· No special assignments

· No discretionary training

· Counseling

· Progressive discipline

· Termination

The division commanders are to meet immediately to discuss new agency mission statement and create value statements . Each person should collect statements from other agencies and we will then draft our own. The draft will be sent out for everyone to review and give input. These documents due back to the colonel for final approval at the June 28 staff meeting.

Performance evaluations were discussed. Captains will meet after reviewing several evaluations to prepare a better, more objective evaluation that includes a community policing/problem-solving standard.

A performance file, which can be kept in the districts, would be created (for those who don't already have them) and each month a form would be completed on the person's monthly performance. This form would be brief, could even be handwritten, with blocks to check to make it simpler, and will be reviewed by and signed by the member. In this way when a person goes to another supervisor or another unit their up-to-date performance evaluation will follow them. (End of meeting minutes).

I hope this answers your question and reassures you that we are moving in the right direction.

Question #3: Please address the issue that I recently read in the meeting minutes regarding health benefits after retirement. Please tell us specifically what the County Commission is proposing or has done with these benefits. I heard that Jim Roberts is trying to get rid of health coverage for retired members, including past retirees. This is of great concern to myself and many members and should be dealt with very aggressively. This will require more than an expression of concern by this agency. If this is true, what are we to think of their alleged efforts to gain stability within this office because of high turnover and then turn around and get rid of a critical benefit like this? I can understand the commission trying to trim, but not going backwards and trimming past and current members. Please bring us up to speed on what is happening and who is behind it. Thank you for your time.

Answered jointly by Det. Sgt. Tom Brazil, County Human Resources Senior Director Sheila Barker, and Rap Sheet Editor Becky Herrin: This issue is a complicated one with many facets. I will try to touch on all of them and be as clear as possible with this confusing situation. Keep in mind two facts: the Sheriff’s Office currently falls under Monroe County health insurance, and Sheriff’s Office employees fall under the Florida State retirement system.

Currently, the State of Florida says that a county must offer health insurance benefits to retirees. The state does not, however, regulate whether those benefits are free, or are paid for by the retired employee. They simply have to be offered.

In 1988, this was not a major issue. The county only had 24 retirees, and paying for their insurance was not a great liability to county taxpayers. Now, the county has 230 retirees and that number is growing. In 1998, providing health benefits to retirees at no charge created for the county, and the taxpayers, a $65 million liability.

To complicate matters further, in addition to regular retirement benefits, the State of Florida currently pays its retirees a health insurance subsidy of between $50 - $150 per month. Currently, our retirees not only get free health insurance benefits, but they receive the state subsidy as well. They are not required to turn that health insurance subsidy over to the county in exchange for the free health benefits offered.

From the beginning, when they started offering free health insurance to retirees, the county has made it clear to each and every person who retires that free health insurance is a benefit that is not guaranteed, and could be changed at any time.

Recently, the county convened a board to consider this issue and determine what could be done to reduce the county’s liability in this area. At that time, a few changes were made. Now, in order to qualify for free health insurance upon retirement, a regular class employee must be at least 60 years of age at retirement, or the employee’s years of county service plus their age must add up to 70. Special risk class employees receive free health benefits in compliance with the state retirement rules: they must be 55 years of age, or have 25 years in service. Any retiree who does not fit either of these rules is offered health insurance, but must pay the full rate for it: currently $470.00 per month. Retirees are still allowed to keep their state health insurance subsidy.

A similar board is expected to convene again, to reconsider the issue of health benefits. Everyone should be aware that these benefits can and may change at any time. With the changes occurring in the structure of our county, the recent incorporations and the move to reorganize county government, Monroe County has to look at all possibilities when it comes to cutting costs.

No matter what, retirees will be offered health insurance benefits. This is required by the State of Florida. They may have to pay for some or all of those benefits. The board could potentially consider taking the state subsidy from retirees in return for benefits, or they could consider having retirees pay the full amount for insurance. I’m sure there are many other possibilities that will be discussed as well.

Det. Sgt. Tom Brazil has been involved in these issues for some time now. He was recently appointed by Commissioner Mary Kay Reich to sit on the new board that will convene June 28th at 10 a.m.. He will be keeping us all up to date on where we, as employees, stand when it comes to the health insurance issue.

Question #4: There should be more contact between Human Resources and the supervisors. There’s a lack of contact with employees. I remember when H.R. had four employees…now they have doubled the amount of employees and it seems they do less.

I had an employee that put in for a transfer and we were not informed he/she was transferred. He/she was working in my office for nine days more than they should have been. Payroll called to find out why I signed the person’s time sheet and not the new supervisor. Payroll was notified of the transfer date but the employee and two supervisors had no idea. I also had an employee who walked in the door for work and the supervisor was not aware he/she was reporting for duty. Every time H.R. was asked on the status of the new employee it was “we are waiting for the Sheriff to sign off”, then the employee is told to show up for work and not the supervisor. Why can’t we fix this communications problem?

Answered by HRD Supervisor, Renette Avael: Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the transfer and new hire procedures of the Human Resources Division.

When an employee has been recommended for a transfer, the Human Resources Division (HRD) prepares the paperwork for Administrative signatures. These signatures include the Division Commander, the Executive Director of Human Resources, the Bureau Chief and the Colonel and/or Sheriff. Once the signed paperwork is received back in HRD, the Commanders are advised.

At this point, it becomes the current Commander and the new Commander’s responsibility to determine when that employee will transfer. The Commanders may delegate this responsibility to one of their supervisors. Once a date has been agreed to, a memo is be sent to HRD, by the current Commander or his/her delegate, to advise us of when the physical transfer will become effective. It is up to the Commander or his/her delegate to see to it that the transfer takes place on that date.

Once a transfer or start date is received in HRD, it is entered into the computer which advises payroll of the department and position to which the employee is assigned.

The same procedure applies to applicants. When an applicant has been approved by the Colonel or Sheriff, the new hire paperwork is completed and HRD receives a start date. The Commander is contacted with that date. In either case, HRD is not advised to what squad, shift , FTO or direct supervisor to which that employee is assigned. Therefore, only one call is made to the Commander instead of numerous calls to the various supervisors.

In addition, the Vacant Position Report gives information about all open or anticipated open positions within the Sheriff’s Office, including HIDTA. This report is located in AV OFFICE in the Public/Human drawer. This report is updated weekly and is available to all employees.

Question #5: As an employee in the jail, I understand the importance of facility security, and am willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure that contraband articles are not brought into the facility. We have recently begun to strictly enforce the policy of searching all employees who do not work in the main jail to ensure that articles such as keys, cigarettes, wallets (money and credit cards) do not enter the secured envelope of the facility. We understand this is an inconvenience to some people, but we, the employees of the Monroe County Detention Facility, see the larger picture of working in a safe environment.

Can you explain how the policies of the Monroe County Detention Facility are O.K. to enforce for some people, but not OK for others who complain that the time it takes to search them (which is looking out for their safety as well as ours) is an inconvenience to them, thus bringing about a change in policy for certain groups of people? We understand that there are professionals entering the building to take care of business, but those same professionals have been caught in the past entering the facility with articles such as keys, knives and wallets on their person. Your input on this is appreciated.

Answered by Major Tommy Taylor: Safety and security in a jail setting is essential and everyone who works within the jail has a responsibility to ensure that the control of contraband is adhered to.

The two judicial agencies, State Attorney’s Office, and the Public Defender’s Office, who work very closely with jail staff on a daily basis, understand the importance of controlling contraband and security. Although they have been given professional courtesy in not being searched when entering the security envelope of the jail, this does not relieve the agency’s personnel of the responsibility of supporting a safe and secure jail environment.

Question #6: We no longer have to pass the agility test so we no longer get the three hours of work out time. I, and many others used this time a great deal. Check the roster at the gym at Cedar Towers. It is filled constantly. Now I and many others cannot get to the gym because it was so nice to go an hour before off-duty time on the way home. We don’t have to pass the physical agility test, but we have to be in shape on this job. Physical fitness benefits this agency on a regular basis. It may not be easily seen on the surface, but when members go to the gym, others know and they are encouraged to go. Having members in good shape probably saves the MCSO money in the long run. It encourages good eating habits and diets. I know you know all this, but I sense that there is more to this story than meets the eye. I have a feeling it may be a comp time issue and since it seems we are always short on people, we’re trying to keep deputies working the full 12 hours. I also suspect that a workman’s comp issue has arisen? Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water! You don’t save money by abandoning things that work. Thanks for the time.

Answered by Sheriff Roth: I know the benefits of having healthy employees and I encourage everyone to stay in shape and maintain their health. As regards the three hours of fitness time, I don’t think the time was used at all by the majority of road patrol officers. I know some people used the three hours to actually work out, but we had a number of people abuse the time as well. We simply had no way to track how people were using their time. Unfortunately, those people who abused the privilege ruined it for everyone else. Additionally, some commanders were concerned about losing the road patrol time, because we have been running so short on the road. If someone comes up with a specific way to track the time, and if we get to the point where we have filled all our open positions and have the extra time to give, I might reconsider. Until then, I’m sorry, but I can’t reinstate the policy.

Question #7: Part of the Sheriff’s argument against individual cities incorporating was that the Sheriff’s Office provides a lot of special services the individual police departments cannot provide. One of these services is service of all types of civil papers – from restraining orders to subpoenas to evictions. The amount of civil papers that we serve in the city of Key West especially is enormous. Each weekday around 5 p.m. the clerk’s office faxes anywhere from one to five restraining orders to Key West dispatch. Then, a little while later, the State Attorney’s Office may drop off an additional two or three more. At this time of the day there are no civil officers on duty because they both go off duty everyday before 3 p.m. A deputy assigned to road patrol has to pick up these orders, relay any that have to be served in the north end of the district, and drive all over the city in an attempt to locate subjects for service. This ties up a road patrol unit that should be out patrolling his area and handling calls for service. Often it takes longer to respond to emergency calls or for backup because officers are coming from the city. Supposedly, the reason civil officers come out so early is so they may locate people before they go to work. Why can’t they be located when they get off work, instead? Why can’t one civil officer work a morning shift and the second one work an afternoon shift? This would free up a road deputy to better serve the citizens of his zone, wouldn’t it?

Answered by Civil Supervisor Kirk Bondurant: Several years ago the law regarding Domestic Violence Injunctions (restraining orders) was changed to allow them to be issued any hour of the day or night and to be served any hour of the day or night including Sundays. The new law also requires they be attempted as soon as possible. In order to comply with this provision we (the Civil Process Division) fax them to dispatch when Civil Deputies are not available. They can then be given to an available Road Patrol Deputy or at least be available if dispatch receives a call concerning a violation of an injunction.

I believe your figures are somewhat high as to the number that are faxed to dispatch. Your figures would indicate as many as 40 per week. I believe the number to be closer to a dozen a week. This includes dismissals, final injunctions and amendments that we seldom fax to dispatch, but instead hold for civil deputies. Even considering the higher number, this is actually a very small percentage of the total number of papers our civil deputies handle. Each of them serves several hundred papers per week, including subpoenas, summons, notices to appear and orders to show cause. They also handle evictions and other enforceable writs such as sheriff’s levies. The civil deputies also handle court ordered impoundment/immobilization of vehicles as a result of DUI.

Experience has proved that the early morning hours are better for locating people for service, and as the deputies work different areas, it seems reasonable for them both to work this early shift. The very high percentage of successful services seems to bear this out. Civil Process in District One is the best it has been in the nearly eleven years that I have been the supervisor.

Answered by Captain Bruce Winegarden: As noted in the answer above, Civil Deputies have a considerable workload not readily recognized. Also, all of us as deputy sheriffs are officers of the court. We all are charged with executing civil processes, which the court may issue.

The zone units know many of the people involved in the Domestic Violence Injunctions better than the Civil Deputies do. You know where to find them, their temperaments and items to be concerned with. By serving these injunctions, zone units have clear information on the situations they will be dealing with later. We are not overwhelmed and should be able to handle the number of injunctions we are given in District One.

Question #8: On June 6th, 2000, FDLE issued a News Release entitled “Governor Bush presents Law Enforcement Officers with $13.1 Million dollar check for pay increase”. The news release specifically states that law enforcement officers will receive an 8% increase in pay beginning on October 1, 2000, with the fiscal year.

I understand that everyone in the agency is excited/anxious about the upcoming elections, so we have been a little distracted recently. Could the Sheriff pause a moment from his hectic schedule and review the pay increase plan for 2000-2001 fiscal year, and let us know what increase he will be fighting for during the County Commission meetings? I believe the article stipulated “Law Enforcement Officers”, and not all Sheriff’s employees. What kind of efforts can we expect from the Sheriff during the fiscal talks? Can we expect the same 8% pay raise as FDLE? What about COLA?

Answered by Sheriff Roth: I’m glad you asked this question. I intended to address this issue in the Rap Sheet anyway. The raise announced by the Governor applies to state agencies such as the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (used to be FMP) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. We should all be happy for them. Not only because they have been underpaid for some time, but for selfish reasons: state agencies in the Keys have been consistently understaffed for some time because of low pay which means we have to fill in the gaps. Now maybe the Florida Highway Patrol and other agencies can fill those empty positions and beef up the state law enforcement presence in the Keys.

I want to point out that we got an 8% pay raise last year, and were able to raise our starting salary as well. Our starting salary still remains well below that of many agencies, including the city of Key West and I hope to continue my efforts to rectify this in the coming fiscal year. This coming year, I am asking the County Commission to grant all our employees a 6% raise – this is a 2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and a 4% merit increase. I also plan to increase the starting salary again. I decided upon the 6% increase after discussing the issue with the Police Benevolent Association. They agreed this amount would be sufficient.

Awards

Sgt. Lou Caputo, American Legion Law Officer of the Year

By Deputy Becky Herrin

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Upper Keys Zone Commander, Sgt. Lou Caputo, was chosen the Florida American Legion Law Officer of the Year recently. He will travel to the Florida American Legion Annual Convention in Kissimmee in July to accept the award and to speak to those attending the convention.

The criteria for the award includes being well rounded, exceeding the duty requirements of the position held, exemplifying the virtues of professionalism and dedication, demonstrating a distinct pattern of community service to the community, state and/or nation and proving personal dedication to societal security and protection.

As a teenager, Lou moved to the Keys with his mother in 1968. He joined the Army in 1969, serving 19 months in Vietnam and leaving the service in 1971. He became an electrical contractor shortly thereafter, and worked in that field until he went to work for the Sheriff’s Office.

In 1984, he became a Reserve Deputy for the Sheriff’s Office and began working for the agency full-time as a Deputy Sheriff in 1991. In June of 1999, he became a sergeant and Lou was named the Sheriff’s Office Sworn Officer of the Year for 1999.

Lou has been married to his wife, Anita, for 30 years. They have three children; Steve, 28 years old and Scott, 27 years old who both followed in their father’s footsteps in the electrical contracting business; and Jeanne who is 23 years old and about to start nursing school at the University of Miami.

Congratulations, Employees of the first quarter

Sworn Officer of the First Quarter

Sergeant Larry Kelley, Bureau of Operations, Division IV, Traffic Section

Larry has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since March 6, 1990. Over the past several months, Monroe County has been plagued with a number of traffic fatalities throughout the Keys. Sergeant Kelley took notice of this problem and worked diligently to find a solution. After comparing the statistical data and traffic complaints, he devised a plan with specific target areas and focused on the areas where crashes and violations most frequently occurred. With the combined efforts of several law enforcement agencies throughout Monroe and Dade Counties a plan was devised to minimize traffic crashes. Through Sergeant Kelley’s leadership and perseverance the fatalities and crashes have been reduced.

Support Employee of the Quarter

Accreditation Specialist Olga Perez, Bureau of Administration, Division V, Professional Standards Section

Olga has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since February 10, 1986. During the past year, Olga has unselfishly dedicated her time and efforts towards the achievement of accreditation. Olga’s attention to detail and her willingness to work long hours in compiling agency information and reports helped the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to successfully achieve Law Enforcement Accreditation by the Commission on Florida Accreditation for Law Enforcement.

Corrections Officer of the Quarter

Corrections Officer Raymond Rothmund, Bureau of Corrections, Division VI, Main Detention Facility

Raymond has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since November 12, 1991. Over the past few months A-Watch has been short staffed and Officer Rothmund stepped in to help with this shortage. Whenever there is a need in the facility from staffing shortages to medical assistance, Officer Rothmund can be counted on to assist without hesitation.

Reserve Deputy of the Quarter

Reserve Deputy Ted Migala, Bureau of Operations, Division IV, Reserve Section

Ted has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since September 1996. During the month of April, Ted volunteered to assist District III in their manpower shortage. By rearranging his personal work schedule as an Air Traffic Control Supervisor, Ted was able to supplement the night shift. His contribution of nine patrol tours of duty greatly increased the effectiveness of service to the community in that area.

Cadet/Explorer of the Quarter

Explorer/Cadet Kira Jensen, Bureau of Operations, Explorer/Cadet Section

Kira has been a member of the Cadet Program for the past 5½ years; joining the Junior Cadet Post when she was 10 years old. Explorer Lieutenant Jensen’s organizational skills have been an asset to the post. Kira has assisted in the organization of several campouts, trips, and was recently responsible for the 5th Annual Holiday Canned Food Drive. During her off time Kira is involved in a number of other activities (i.e., girl scouts, a writer for her high school newspaper, a peer-mediator, a member of FBLA, and teaches Sunday School at her church).

Employees honored at Appreciation Day

Every other month, Detention Center Commander Major Tommy Taylor hosts “Officer/Member Appreciation Day” at the Key West Detention facility. A ceremony is held to honor all those employees who have performed in an exemplary manner during the past two-month period. Anyone can recommend an employee to be honored. They receive a certificate, and are recognized for their work.

The following people were recognized at the June 23rd ceremony:

Mary Clance, Renee Walker, Vickie Reeder, Peco Boussard, Mark Long, Al Ramirez, Sheila Seago, Janet Shepherd, Robert Tompkins, Todd Silvers, Susie Herrington, Candi Busald, Mike Langston, Donnie Catala,Flo Williams, Ted Migala, John Jackson, Robert Ellis, Rene Bazarte,Gene Thompson, Anne Sweeney, Joseph Linares, Juan Morales, Kimm Rothman, Winnie White, Jim Painter, Emil LaVache, Steven Katz, Steve Barney, Bear Williams, Frank Orta, A.Paskiewicz, Don Hiller, Timothy Age, H. Doerrer, Pat Silvers, and Ruth Discher.

Bureau of Corrections

“B” Watch Challenge

By Bill Milza

Narrowly escaping a 6th inning surge from B-watch, the A-Watch Day-Timers pulled off a victory from the B-Watch Night Owls, 25-21. Coached by Lt. Emerson Allen, B-Watch challenged Lt. Joe Janos and his shift to a friendly softball challenge held on June 10th at Truman Annex.

The festivities included lots of great food provided by Executive Master Chef Gerardo “Poppy” Burgohy and company. There was plenty of support from all over the agency, friends and family to field teams for this event. Many thanks go to those people who made this game a success.

As we all know, there can’t be a function without injury and this was no exception. A-Watch veteran outfielder Kenny Kerr suffered a shoulder separation late in the game while grabbing a sharply hit ball in a difficult part of right field. He was taken to the hospital and is resting at home under the care of his wife Jackie, who probably needs the pain medication more than Kenny! A-Watch Skipper Joe Janos dedicated the win to Kenny. Laundry Officer Liz Heiter sustained a fractured toe when Jay “The Babe” Fisher hit a ground ball into her foot. Finally, Bill “Pete Rose” Milza broke his thumb diving into either first or second base, he doesn’t remember which. The winning team received a beautiful trophy sponsored by Key West Awards, owned by B-Watch All-Star pitcher, Bill Milza. It will be proudly displayed in the trophy case in the Main Lobby of the Monroe County Detention Center. The Most Valuable Players in this match-up were too many to mention, and that’s how it should be in a day where teamwork and friendship were the real champions.

P.S. You were out, Crane!

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Lt. Emerson Allen’s “B” Watch challenged Lt. Joe Janos
“A” Watch to a softball game recently. 

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The whole participating contingent of the “Shift Wars” softball challenge.

Shakedown at the Stock Island Detention Facility

A Plastic knife, razor blades, cigarette lighters, stored medications and illicit pictures were just a few of the items found during a major shakedown at the Key West facility.

Friday, April 28th, a combined effort of the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), the Corrections Academy Class #25 and “C” Watch officers swept the Stock Island Detention Center. About 14 CERT members, led by Sgt. Cornelies Jones, assisted in the shakedown.

“We took a lot of stuff out of there, things the inmates should never have had in the first place, but it sneaks in one way or the other,” Jones said. In addition, a large amount of “nuisance” contraband was found, including enough extra toothpaste, bars of soap, combs and pens to fill several large brown grocery-type bags. The crew even recovered a black eye-mask, the kind used to keep out the light while a person sleeps.

In addition, Officer Lenny Alonzo, Correction’s K-9 Officer, swept behind the shakedown team with his dog “Hootch”, to look for hiding spots the human searchers might have missed. The K-9 team recovered a significant amount of cigarettes and tobacco.

Major shakedowns of this kind have always been a part of the job of corrections and of running a detention facility. You can expect to see more of these types of operations, combined efforts with CERT, K-I and the regular duty shifts.

One of the most unusual items recovered in the search was a hand railing; a large 5-6 foot section of pipe, which was “hidden” in plain sight. It was an eagle eye that noticed something was wrong. The railing had been removed from the wall, then put back in place, thus being accessible to inmates as a potential weapon.

The facility was placed into lockdown at 0845, as every unit and dorm was searched from top to bottom. By 1730, the shakedown was concluded and operations continued – at least they continued for the officers. With the contraband items removed from the facility, the inmates “operations” were stopped in their tracks. And now, the facility is much safer for everyone.

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Sgt. Raymond Rothmund looks over a pile 
of various types of contraband found during the operation.

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Sgt. Cornelies Jones holds a hand railing 
found during the jail shakedown. The railing 
had been removed from the wall, then replaced 
to appear normal. Officers believe someone meant to use it as a weapon. 

Officer Spotlights

Prop. Asst. Marvin Castillo

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Marvin Castillo was born and raised in Key West, Florida. After graduating high school, Marvin joined the United States Army and served for six years. In his early twenties, after serving in the military, he moved to New Jersey. Marvin worked at Johns Manville Research Center for 22 years, before moving back to Key West in 1991, where he now works for the Monroe County Detention Center as a property assistant. Marvin’s hobbies include traveling, fishing and watching basketball games. Marvin loves to go back to New Jersey and visit New York City to attend games at Madison Square Garden. Marvin has four sisters, five children and seven grandchildren. His future plans are to retire soon and travel the United States visiting close and distant family in North Carolina, Maryland and New Orleans, just to name a few.

Det. Dep. William E. Brown, Jr.

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William Brown was born in Fort Hood, Texas. He graduated from Crossland High School in Temple Hills, Maryland. He has traveled to different countries, including Germany, Belgium, France and has dealt with people from all walks of life.

After graduation, he moved to Miami, where he worked at Baptist Hospital for two years. He moved to Key West after Hurricane Andrew and has not returned to Miami since then.. He became interested in Corrections due to his uncle, who is a retired lieutenant in the prison system. William has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since 1995, and plans to make it a career.

During his free time, William likes to spend time with his family and his girlfriend.

Det. Sgt. Cornelies Jones

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Cornelies Jones has been with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office since February of 1995. He has lived in Key West since 1989. He retired from the Navy in December of 1993.

Law Enforcement was always in the back of his mind and he began thinking about working in the Detention Center after talking with friends who worked there. He started the academy in September of 1994.

In 1997, he was chosen Officer of the Quarter and, subsequently, Officer of the Year for that year. In October of 1999, he reached another goal when he attained the rank of Sergeant.

In his off time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Trusty Field Supervisor Alan Patrias

“To start off, I was born and raised in Dearborn Michigan, home of the Red Wings, Tiger Stadium and perch fishing. Number three son of five I have been told we were the best kids ever and since this was said by my mother, you can understand why it must be true.

I consider myself to be an outdoorsy type of person; Dad felt that was the safest thing for the house, so I have interests in fishing, mountain biking, being a coconut connoisseur and Volkswagens. Like it has been said many times before, after vacationing in the Florida Keys for many years, one time I just never went back – now tell me…who misses the cold?

I participated in the Michigander Rails to Trails Conservatory where we rode mountain bikes on reclaimed railways, coast to coast, in a week. It was tent living at it’s best. I currently own a Karmann ghia – that’s a “ghia” to us Volkswagen nuts. With lots of love, a little gum and any spare time I have, you can see me crusin’ around Key West in my Sunday best. Please don’t mind any parts left behind. I will pick them up the second time around.

Two taco bell dogs, Poncho and Lefty, are currently running my life. These are stage names as they asked that their names not go public. They feel they could do a better job on the commercials, but I think all they want is to get their lips on those tacos.

If asked, my favorite place is any number of fishing bridges. My favorite food would be the coconut. My philosophy on live is “Each and every person is responsible for their actions and the reactions made by their choices.”

Patrol News

Traffic Enforcement Update

By Sgt. Larry Kelley

Well, I see it is Rapsheet time again so I'll update you on Traffic Enforcement activities over the past few months. In February we assisted Sgt. Tom Kiffney in District Three with a DUI Checkpoint. The entire unit was dedicated to this effort. The operation was a success and there were no serious incidents or injuries. Hats off to Tom for a job well planned and done. We look forward to the upcoming operation with just as much excitement.

We had the privilege of escorting a baby dolphin from the Keys Marine Research Lab in Layton to the Theater of the Sea in Islamorada. It was carried out very early in the morning and in secret due to protests so it was an interesting operation. Another assignment we had in February was not so pleasant; it was the funeral of past Reserve Captain Jim Rubino at Beyer Funeral Home in Key Largo. Jim was a friend of this Department and we should always remember him in just that light. I will also remember him as a friend and fellow Trekkie.

March was a very busy month for the unit in the area of static displays. Deputies Eric Lundberg and Butch Albury were kept busy between Key West and Big Pine Key with these duties almost every week. During this same time the rest of the unit was busy running ballots from Marathon to Key West, standing security at numerous BOCC meetings and specially called meetings throughout the Keys as well as preparing for the Office's Accreditation Inspection.

The first meeting of the Upper Keys Traffic Safety Council was held at Jammers thanks to the effort of District Three Sergeant Roy Bogue who spearheaded the effort and continues as Chairman of the Committee. Because of a suggestion from the Committee the Traffic Unit, along with Sgt. Bogue and a couple of firefighters from the Key Largo Fire Department, are presently in a 4-day training course on child safety seats. The course is taught by NHTSA and is much more involved than we thought it would be. We will be certified to hold child seat safety check-ups in the future at traffic check points or Law Enforcement and Safety Fairs throughout the Keys. At first we could not understand what you could learn or talk about for four whole days in the area of child seats. Now in the first day-we don't think we will have enough time to cover all the legal and logistical aspects of the course.

The biggest event of April was of course the 7-Mile Bridge Run which as usual activated the entire unit and with the assistance of District Two we helped to bring another event to a safe, successful close. In April we also began a new focus which we have designated as Targeted Area Traffic Patrol. Each week certain specific areas are designated throughout the Keys as Target areas. They are selected based first on accident statistics followed by officer suggestions and then finally citizen complains. These areas are advertised and the Traffic Enforcement Unit hits these areas heavy throughout the week showing zero tolerance. The program, although too early to see any statistical success, seems to be working good and is very highly accepted by the community and the media. All I can say is that we are writing a lot of tickets out there while at the same time notifying the motoring public of the locations and causes of problems. I hope the crash/injury rate reflects our success in the future. I will keep you posted. By the way, I notify each District Commander the first part of each week of the upcoming Target Areas that begin on Thursday. These are also posted in all of the newspapers and announced almost daily on all the radio stations. You can also read the results of the previous week's Traffic Enforcement Activity on the Sheriff's Office website on the Traffic Enforcement page. Please visit it and let us know how we are doing. Also please help us impact these selected areas by enforcing any violations in them you see during the times they are targeted.

In May we were, of course, tied up with Memorial Day weekend and Bartenders week. These two operations really took a lot of our time and energy but as I have said before - this is what we love to do. We have done all this while at the same time sending officers to a lot of training. Deputy's Eric Mixon, Diane and Kevin Mimosa attended the State Intoxilizer Operators conference. Kevin and Diane also attended the Agency Intoxilizer Technicians Course and now have taken over responsibility for the technical aspects and requirements of the intoxilizers in Districts 1 and 2. Deputy Kirk Salvatori attended Officer Survival School in May. Deputy Eric Mixon was selected by the SAO to attend Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) School and is presently away at that training directly after attending a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Update along with Deputy Don MacAllaster. If you haven't realized it yet-let me tell you-please go to any of the Traffic Enforcement Officers if you have any questions at all in the field of DUI Enforcement, if they can't answer it no one can.

I would like to welcome the new members of the Traffic Enforcement Unit-George Rosemeyer, David Johnson and Don MacAllaster, who all come with highly energetic work records and commitments of great expectations. We look forward to having them at our side in all the future operations of the unit. I'm sure they will love working in their requested specialty as much as we do and will be just as focused on their duties as we are. We also say good-bye to Butch Albury (Mister Motorcycle), who requested to go back to Road Patrol in District One. We will miss him and we all hope he achieves his goal of becoming a detective, which is why he left.

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Butch “Mr. Motorcycle” Albury is leaving the traffic 
enforcement division after a million years as a “traffic-head” 
to work road patrol in District One. Good luck, Butch!

Congratulations to Eric Lundberg, David Johnson and Kevin Mimosa who took and passed the Sergeant's test. Any of you would make a great supervisor, GOOD LUCK.

We are in the middle of assisting District Two with manpower in an undercover special saturation program directed at burglary eradication which I am sure will be successful. Good Luck, guys. The Unit will also be assisting Florida Marine Patrol during the upcoming Lobster Sport Weekend as we did last summer. After attending a training session with the FMP we will be working undercover in many areas known for Marine Resource violations hammering the "Lobster Mobsters". Last year we made numerous arrests and this year looks just as busy.

4th of July Weekend is approaching and we will be in the Upper Keys in force for most of the weekend. Saturday will be the night of the DUI Checkpoint and we are ready to burn some video. We will also be handling the 4th of July Parades for Key Largo and Marathon as well as the Fireworks show at Sombrero Beach that evening.

If there is anything the Traffic Enforcement Unit can do to assist you in anything related to our function please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the Traffic Deputies. And always remember:

Press Hard-Five Copies

Code Enforcement Officers and Reserves trained to enforce parking

By Sgt. Larry Kelley

Monroe County Code Enforcement Officers and code enforcement officers from the cities of Marathon and Islamorada have now completed a 40 hour course which gives them certification to enforce State, County and Municipal parking ordinances.

Some Sheriff’s Office reserve officers and the parking enforcement officer in Key West also attended the course and were trained and certified.

This training was requested by Monroe County Code Enforcement Director Tom Simmons, and should really help road patrol with some of the issues which are important, but which don’t always take priority on a day-to-day basis.

Owners of abandoned cars to be prosecuted

By Deputy Becky Herrin

People who abandon their cars in the lower Keys should beware. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will now prosecute you for a felony – illegally dumping trash that weighs over 500 lbs.

From now on, the Sheriff’s Office will send a letter to the owner’s of abandoned vehicles. The letters will outline three options. Remove the car from the right of way on your own; take a $100.00 check to Arnold’s Towing or G&M Towing on Stock Island, along with the title to the car, and they will remove it for you; or go to jail.

This effort is part of the SMARTCOP program implemented by the Sheriff’s Office last summer. Officers are assigned to permanently patrol a particular area. They are charged with getting to know their assigned community and take care of that communities problems, no matter how big or how small.

Deputy Genie Hernandez spearheaded this abandoned vehicle effort in the lower Keys after seeing what a growing problem abandoned cars are on Stock Island, her assigned Zone.

“We need to keep the streets from becoming a dumping ground,” Deputy Hernandez said. “This is a message to everyone – we will not allow you to discard your junk on public right of ways. You must dispose of your property legally, or we will put you in jail.”

Upper Keys Zone efforts paying off

By Deputy Becky Herrin

The upper Keys district has a number of SMARTCOP Zone Improvement projects they are working on.

Sgt. Pete Johnston, Sgt. Donnie Fanelli and their squads are working together with Code Enforcement to clean up various neighborhoods in Key Largo. Starting with the Lake Surprise and Sexton Cove subdivisions, deputies and code enforcement officers toured the area to identify trash which needed to be removed, as well as possible code enforcement violations. Owners received warnings, and over 226 cubic yards of debris was removed from these areas. Their efforts are continuing both in these two neighborhoods, and in other areas of their zones.

Sgt. Tim Hurd took on a major effort when he decided that Card Sound Road needed mile markers and he set out to get them installed on the roadside. It has long been a problem for dispatchers that when a car breaks down or an accident occurs on Card Sound Road, there are no reference points to tell them the location of the event. These mile markers – designated with a special letter to set them apart from Highway U.S. One – are being put in by the Monroe County Public Works and will finally allow deputies and the public to tell dispatchers where they are when something happens. Great idea, Tim! Why didn’t we think of it sooner?

Sgt. Roy Bogue has had numerous projects over the past few months. Here are just a few:

The Upper Keys Community Traffic Safety Team completed its first project during the week of May 22-29 for Buckle Up America Week. The team had decided to start with a small project that focused on students, parents and faculty at Coral Shores High School, Plantation Key School, and Island Christian School.

Armed with material from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and coupons from Arby’s, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Dairy Queen, officers conducted checkpoints on Monday and Tuesday at those campuses.

Free food coupons and key chains were given to drivers that had everyone in the vehicle buckled up properly. Those who were not complying with the seatbelt law were “treated” to printed material regarding the seat belt law and reasons for buckling up.

The results of the checkpoints were a pleasant surprise with an average of 90% of the students were belted as well as their passengers. Many adults were seen not wearing their seatbelts.

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An FMP Officer stops a car at Coral Shores High School
 to see if the occupants are wearing seatbelts. This was part
of a CTST effort to educate students about seatbelt use.

Child Safety Seat effort

The Community Traffic Safety Team sponsored a class in Child Passenger Safety, training participants to be Nationally Trained Technicians. The free four-day child car seat class was held in Monroe County on June 19 – 22. Following the training, the CTST sponsored a Child Safety Seat Inspection Checkpoint conducted by local law enforcement agencies and the Key Largo Fire-Rescue at the Marathon Publix parking lot June 25th.

Topics during the training course included: the need for child passenger safety programs, crash dynamics, selection and use of child restraint systems and correct installation of child restraints.

During the checkpoint ten child restraint seats were examined in vehicles that arrived to have the free inspection. Of those seats that were examined one seat was replaced because it had been recalled by the manufacturer and others were found to be incorrectly installed or the specifications of the seat were not followed regarding the age and weight of the child.

When used properly, child car seats are 71% effective in reducing fatalities in children under the age of 5 and 69% effective in reducing the need for hospitalization. Unfortunately, parents and other caregivers too often consider child car seats inconvenient, out their financial reach or too difficult to install.

The next Child Restraint System Checkpoint is schedule for July 29, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier in conjunction with the Mariners Hospital Kid’s Health Fair. For more information contact Sgt. Roy Bogue at the Plantation Key Sheriff’s Office, phone 853-3211 or online rbogue@keysso.net.

The CTST is comprised of representatives from all law enforcement agencies, State Attorney’s Office, Mariner’s Hospital, EMS, Fire Dept., Pride Inc. and local schools. For more information contact Sgt. Bogue

Zone 301 Update

By Sgt. Roy Bogue Zone 301 Commander

Deputies Art Ortoloni and Nelson Sanchez will patrol throughout the Village on bicycles as part of the Sheriff’s SMART COP Program. It’s a great tool for officer – citizen contact and crime prevention, with the deputies being out of their vehicles riding through the Islamorada business district, neighborhoods and Village parks. Alternating their daily patrol routine, they will park their patrol unit in a conspicuous spot for a speed deterrent, get their bike off the rack and peddle around the area. To ensure a quick response to emergencies at any distance away, the deputies on bike will stay within a mile or so from their unit.

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Deputy Nelson Sanchez shows off his bike,
which he is using for bicycle patrols in the city of Islamorada.

Deputies Ortolani and Sanchez have just completed a weeklong Police Bike Patrol training which was hosted and taught by the Miami -Dade Police Dept. During the course they rode over 25 miles a day throughout different locations in Miami- Dade. Because police bike patrol is much different than just cruising up the road, the deputies had to learn and demonstrate riding skills like climbing and descending stairs, maneuvering through cones that simulated riding through a crowd of people and other on and off road techniques.

The community will benefit by having increased contact and information sharing with the bike deputies because they will be more approachable than while patrolling in a car. Bike deputies will also have a positive influence on neighborhood children who are out riding their bikes and deputies will encourage safe riding. Be aware though, that deputies will enforce the law for helmet use of rider’s 16 years old and under.

There are some other benefits of bike patrol to be noted. The deputies get some exercise while on duty and the Sheriff’s Office will save some money on the high cost of fuel.

Sgt. Bogue is the Zone 301 Commander, Islamorada to Long Key. You can contact him at 853-3211 or rbogue@keysso.net.

Legislative Update

Retirement, Disability see big changes

By Deputy Becky Herrin

This legislative session in Tallahassee saw some exciting changes for state employees, particularly for law enforcement officers. All of these bills have not only passed the legislature, but have been signed off on by the Governor.

The following information is taken from the June 2000 PBA “Roll Call” newsletter and from the Governor’s legislative update web site, located at www.state.fl.us/eog/index.html.

Restoration of retirement benefits (effective July 1, 2000)

In 1978, the Legislature lowered the Special Risk yearly accrual rate from three percent a year to two percent a year. In 1988, PBA led the successful fight to have the three percent restored – with the five year phase-in which resulted in Special Risk members again receiving the full three percent accrual starting January 1, 1993. However, this major change was not retroactive and the percentages lost by FRS special risk members from 1978 through 1992 were not regained. Now, thanks to passage of HB 2393 the lost amount will be restored for those who are still active members of the retirement system. This means members working under FRS during those years will receive the full 3% per year. The cost is more than $800 million – to be paid out of the Florida Retirement System surplus which has only come about over the last year or two because the stock market has done unusually well.

Unfortunately, not enough surplus money was available to include those in DROP (who are considered retired in the eyes of the FRS) and those who have left employment and retired. Editor’s Note: Keep in mind, only those who retire after July 1, 2000 are eligible. Members retiring or entering the DROP program before this date are not eligible.

Six year vesting

The current general ten-year vesting will be changed to six year vesting effective July 1, 2001. For those who may be short of the current ten year or future six year requirement, be sure to check with the Division of Retirement if you are planning to leave the System or return to the System and need to use either the ten or six year vesting times. With this new change there are certain exceptions and one should be aware of the ins and outs of the new law before making a career change.

Defined Contribution Plan

Officially dubbed the “Public Employee Optional Retirement Program” (Peorp), this program will allow new and current employees to choose employee-directed investments rather than the traditional defined benefit approach of the FRS. Generally speaking, the program (if properly and officially sanctioned by the IRS) will go into effect for employees in the latter part of 2002. It will be strictly optional for current and new employees. For new employees who do not make a choice between defined benefit and defined contribution, a default option will come into play and the individual will automatically be put in the defined benefit (traditional) plan. Other safeguards include an extensive educational program to explain the pros and cons of each program – before the employee makes a choice – and providing for a third party administrator which must be different from those companies making the investments. Also, new employees choosing this option will be fully vested after being in the program for a year.

While we (PBA) still believe Special Risk employees who plan to stay for any period of time are better served staying with the defined benefit plan, there may be some who want to take a look at the defined contribution plan – and hope the stock market keeps going up! We will be providing more details on this optional retirement plan in the future.

Disability Increases

For Special Risk Class members only, the full in-line-of-duty disability benefit has increased from 42% to 65% of the average final compensation per year.

For more information, you can visit the State Division of Retirement website at www.frs.state.fl.us.

Important Changes to the Police Officers Bill of Rights

Under recent legislative changes agreed to by the PBA and the Florida Sheriff’s Association, officers will now be able to see all statements, whether written, tape-recorded, or video taped, prior to the interrogation and there is a possible criminal penalty for those who, with corrupt intent, violate an officers rights under certain conditions. The actual wording of the bill is: “Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, the officer who is the subject of the complaint may review the complaint and all statements regardless of form made by the complainant and witnesses immediately prior to the beginning of the investigative interview.

Changes in Florida’s Motorcycle Helmet Law

Effective July 1, 2000, there are some changes to Florida’s helmet law. Here is the actual wording of the bill passed during this year’s legislative session:

“b) Notwithstanding subsection (l), a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.”

Legislative updates and legislation signed during the current and past years can be accessed from the Governor’s web site, located at www.state.fl.us/eog/index.html.

For Your Information

Your Health Insurance Pre-Certification

By Leah M. Marquess, Group Insurance Administrator

The Keys Physician-Hospital Alliance (KPHA) provides utilization and case management services for Monroe County employees, their dependants and the third party administrator, Acordia National. Office hours for the KPHA are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (except holidays). You can call at anytime and leave a confidential voice mail detailing the information.

These services are described in your employee benefit plan booklet starting on page 18 and in the group insurance plan change amendments dated October 1, 1998. Information and phone numbers also appear on your insurance ID card. If you are missing any of the above reference materials, please call the group insurance office at 292-4446.

Utilization Management (UM) incorporates the strategies of cost containment, appropriate utilization of services and case management in a cooperative effort with other parties. Utilization review (UR) is a tool whereby we determine whether aspects of a patient’s care are medically necessary and delivered in the most appropriate setting.

Pre-admission and pre-diagnostic and surgical review services consists of reviewing medically related information at least five working days prior to the non-emergency surgery or procedure. If you are pregnant, call when diagnosed. The KPHA must be notified again when you are admitted for delivery or for any other admission. In the advent of a true emergency admission, the KPHA must be notified within two working days from the date of admission.

According to your plan, it is your responsibility or that of your designee to notify the KPHA regarding all admissions, surgeries and certain specific outpatient procedures. The penalty for failure to obtain pre-authorization will result in a 30% reduction in benefits.

Once advised, we obtain further clinical information from your physician an approval and/or denial letter is produced after all information has been received.

When in doubt, always call for pre-authorization.

Please do not hesitate to call should you have any questions at 1-800-400-0984 or 294-4599.

What home records should you keep – and which can you dispose of?

The key to being efficient with paperwork at home – and not drowning in paper – is keeping records only as long as you need to.

Discard after one month: Deposit slips and credit card receipts (after checking them against monthly statements)…receipts for purchases of any items you don’t plan to return, unless they have warranties or are tax deductible.

Discard after one year: Monthly bank and credit card statements…pay stubs, monthly mortgage statements and investment statements (after reconciling with the annual summery)…telephone and utility bills that you don’t need to prove your business expenses.

Hold until sold: Confirmation slips for securities…real estate deeds…home-improvement records…and receipts for big-ticket items with replacement costs exceeding your home insurance deductible.

Forever file away: Tax returns, birth certificates, citizenship papers, marriage and/or divorce certificates, military records, wills, current insurance policies.

These documents can be kept in a fireproof home safe or safe deposit box – with the exception of the original copy of your will which should be kept at home or with your lawyer.

What’s Happening

Department funnies:

District Two had a little trouble recently with a missing marked patrol car. Fleet Manager Johnnie Yongue called Lt. Chad Scibilia looking for unit 875. After an exhaustive search, the lieutenant asked Sgt. Richard Heber for help in locating the missing car. Sgt. Heber asked the Lieutenant what car he was currently assigned……..turned out he’d been driving unit 875 all along.

A few months ago, Sgt. Vaughn Sommers was on patrol and parked his patrol car around the block from a crowd of people near the Tom Thumb on Stock Island. He exited the car and walked to the Tom Thumb to check out the gathering. When he walked back to his car, he found a man letting all the air out of his patrol car’s tires. Needless to say, the man went to jail….after Vaughn got Ricky Arnold to fill up his tires so he could drive him there.

Ask Lt. Mike Pandol about his newest nickname: Superman!

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Deputies Linda Pabon and Lin Badman took some kids to the 2000
HIDTA Camp at Camp Owausa Bauer in Homestead June 1st through the 4th
In the picture are Linda and Lin with Adam, Shanoka and Tamika. A good time was had by all!

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The Sheriff’s Office Dive Team and the Aviation Division took part in a mock-rescue operation sponsored by Florida Keys Community College recently. “Patients” were rescued by air and by boat in a simulated exercise in which six divers had to be rescued after suffering dive injuries while on a trip off shore.  On the top, a rescuer checks out Sgt. Daryl Hull, who posed as one of the injured divers.On the bottom, an “injured” diver is pulled into the Sheriff’s Office helicopter to be flown to shore for treatment.

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The Sheriff’s Office said goodbye to Cyrus Poitier, 
long-standing Human Resources Specialist. He moved to
San Francisco and all our best wishes go with him!

Community Relations

Send me information about your latest projects and newsworthy events

By Deputy Becky Herrin

Now that we are all on board with the SMARTCOP program, the number of projects and newsworthy events is increasing exponentially.

There are a number of ways to get the message out about an event you may be planning:

Newspapers: My office sends information out to many newspapers in the county, including two dailies, nine weeklies and one bi-weekly publication. In order to get the best newspaper coverage, I must have the information at least one and a half weeks prior to the date you would like it published—this is the time required to get your information in all of the above mentioned newspapers.

Radio: There aren’t many radio stations in the Keys that do news anymore, but almost all of them do public service announcements and will give out information about community events.

Web sites: Our web site (www.keysso.net) gets between 300 and 500 visitors a week. I have created a “Special Events” page where I can list upcoming community events and other important information. Most of the newspapers I work with also have web sites where they post information and there is at least one on-line publication in the Keys called “The Village Sun”, located at www.villagesun.com.

Rap Sheet: Anyone inside or outside the agency is welcome to submit written information or pictures to the Rap Sheet. It comes out every other month—the next deadline will be mid-August. We distribute 650 copies of this publication to the agency, retirees and others who have left the agency, County and City Commissioners, Judges and the State Attorney’s Office.

WatchWord: My office publishes a quarterly newsletter for Crime Watches in the Keys. Anyone is welcome to submit an article for the newsletter. The publication deadline is the last week of each quarter.

When it comes to getting agency news out to the public, I’m only as good as the information I get. Don’t assume I know something is happening. Let me know about it as soon as possible. I’m easy to find—I have a cell phone, a pager, a home phone, and voice mail. I also monitor my e-mail constantly when I’m in the office, and check it several times when I am at home.

If you are uncertain about the information I will need, call me. Otherwise, send me an e-mail detailing the event.

If it is a future event, make sure you send me the date, time, location and who will be involved, along with details of what will take place.

If it is something that has already occurred, make sure you tell me who was involved, what happened at the event, and if you have a photo or two, either attach them digitally to the message, or send me hard copies in the courier. Generally, coverage of an event is better if there are photos to go with the story.