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March / April 2005 Edition

Operations

Sheriff Roth hands the flag to Sgt. Passarelli's mother at the
memorial service held March 31st.

Sheriff's Report:

So much has happened in the last month. I want to first express my condolences to the family of Joseph Passarelli. Joseph was a long time employee of this agency, and we will miss him. The memorial service, with it's tremendous turn out of representatives from many different law enforcement agencies, demonstrated how many lives he touched while he was here.

I feel I must touch on the subject of police suicide. Studies have shown that law enforcement officers, particularly men in law enforcement, are more likely to commit suicide than members of the general public. Perhaps this is because of the stress of the job, the shift work, the toll the job takes on many marriages; I don't know and I don't think anyone can definitively say for sure. I think we have to acknowledge the problem, however, and make sure that those of us who need help, get that help.

If you, or anyone you know, is having suicidal feelings, don't be ashamed of it. Don't try to hide it. Don't be afraid you'll lose your job if you let someone know. Get help. There are many groups out there specifically targeted at helping law enforcement officers who are having these types of feelings.

  • Our Employee Assistance Program offers you and your eligible dependents confidential help to deal with personal or work related issues.  Please contact Employee Benefits for more information at (305) 292-4446.
  • Helpline is a local 24 hour help line for anyone who needs someone to talk to, or needs help of any kind. Call 296-HELP.
  • The Central Florida Police Stress Unit, (407)428-1800, is not just for law enforcement officers in Central Florida. Anyone who needs help can call. According to Tom Gillan, the Director of the Unit, when an officer calls in on the 24 hour number the call goes to an answering service which in turn pages a peer support person to return the call as soon as possible. Your participation in any of the programs or services offered by The Central Florida Police Stress Unit, Inc. is strictly confidential, with no information of any type going to anyone outside of the program except by specific written request of the officer concerned.
  • The National Police Suicide Foundation, 1-866-276-4615. The mission of the National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation is to provide suicide awareness and prevention training programs and support services that will meet the psychological and spiritual needs of emergency workers and their families.

Click here to see a photo gallery of the memorial ceremony

April 10th through the 16th is National Telecommunicators Week, and we should all take time out to thank the members of our Communications Division for their hard work and dedication. Everyone on the road knows that without effective Communications Officers, the job of a law enforcement officer is a much more difficult one. Dispatchers save lives on a daily basis, and we should all make sure we recognize that fact, not just during National Telecommunicators Week, but all the time.

As of April, this agency lost a long-time employee to retirement, and while we wish Jenny well in her new life outside of law enforcement, we will miss her greatly. Jenny worked her way up the ranks, starting with the agency in June of 1979, when she took a position in the upper Keys as a dispatcher. She has since worked her way up the ranks, becoming a deputy in 1981; a sergeant in 1986; a lieutenant in 1989 and, finally, a captain in 1992.  She dedicated many years and much energy to the Sheriff's Office and we appreciate all that she has done. Our loss is her children's gain, for she is leaving in order to spend more time with them as they grow.

Click here to see a photo gallery of the dedication ceremony

I want to thank everyone who attended the dedication of the new Roth Building on Plantation Key. It is truly an honor to have the building named after me and I was overwhelmed by the number of people who turned out for the ceremony. The building will house our Sector 7 command, and it is about time they all had a decent building to operate out of. I hope you are all enjoying your new digs.

That's it for this month. Take care of yourselves and thank you for all the work that you do.

 

Colonel's Notes

Recently I have heard rumors circulating that the agency is going to implement "Comstat" for accountability reasons. For those of you who do not know what comstat is, it is an accountability system developed by the NYPD and later re-designed and tailored for the BSO's needs. NYPD called it "Comstat" and BSO tagged it with "Powertrack".

You might recall that BSO got into trouble recently for padding UCR data and closing cases by arresting innocent people. Part of the reason was that the pressure from Powertrack to have a high solve rate was so intense. Some BSO Detectives have been arrested as a result and investigations into the matter continue as we speak.

To address the rumors: our agency is not going to adopt either of these accountability programs, or any other accountability program. The rumors started because a few sergeants have not been pulling their weight and have failed to perform at acceptable levels. These individuals have been talked to individually about this issue and have been told their lack of activity is a problem, and that their future activity will be monitored and they will be held accountable should they not bring that level up to acceptable standards. This is only fair - if line level officers are held accountable, then supervisors should be as well.

If you have not been individually spoken to already, then you don't have a problem. Most of our sergeants are doing a good job and are producing activity at acceptable levels. If you are not one of the sergeants who are below average activity level, than the best thing that you can do is to continue on track and keep your activity up. Be positive - pay attention to your own issues and let others do the same.

If you have any questions or want to clear up any rumors you have heard, please ask me. I'd be happy to clear up rumors with the truth any time.


Bureau of Operations

Sector 7 Report

Sector 7 has had a busy, busy month with our emotions ranging from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

On March 21, we had our grand opening of the Roth Building. Over 100 people showed up for the ceremony and refreshments, and tours of the facility were given afterwards. The new upper Keys sub station, the Roth Building, is located at the old Mariners Hospital. The Sheriff purchased it with drug proceeds and it will house the Sheriffs Office, Public Defender, State Heath Department and the Clerks Office.

On a sad note, we lost one of our own this month, Sgt. Joseph Passarelli. A memorial was held for him at the Marathon Hanger with a tremendous turn out from numerous agencies. His parents, his young daughter, Julia, and her mother were present and they were overwhelmed with the kindness and support you extended them.

We welcome several new employees this month. Sgt Mitch Horn and Deputy Walt Allen return to us after many years working in Miami and Det Sgt. Gene Thompson is our new C.I.U. leader. All of them said they refused to come to Sector 7 unless they had a brand new sub-station, so we caved in and gave one to them (just kidding!). We look forward to working with each of you.

We say goodbye to Sgt Deb Ryan who is leaving us for greener pastures and Carol Albury-Johnson who was stolen by Sgt Dally at CAWAU. We wish you the best of luck and know that you will be missed. If you're up in our neck of the woods, please stop by and take a tour of the new building. We are like proud parents and would love to show you around. Till next time...

Business Security Training a Success

By Deputy Dennis Coleman

On February 28, 2005 our fraud seminar was a success. It was held at the community church across from the Marathon sub-station. Numerous business owners and managers  from the Marathon area were in attendance. All who attended received visual aids including posters, DVDs, and pamphlets.

Topics that were covered during the seminar included, learning the Florida drivers license, learning the hidden securities of the new $20.00 and $50.00 bills, credit card fraud, check fraud, and video systems.

I would like to thank Deputy Lin Badman, Detective Lionel Vargas (now Sgt. Vargas), and Deputy Amanda Barger for their assistance. I would also like to thank TIB Bank for sending two of their spokespersons and lastly I would like to thank D-Bolt Video System for demonstrating their digital video system.

Thanks to everyone's effort, not only did those who were in attendance walk away with a better knowledge of how the criminal mind works, but they will now be more aware of possible fraud and not just see dollar signs when they are making a large sale.

This seminar required a $10.00 registration fee that was to benefit Relay for Life. A total of $310.00 was raised. This money was recently donated to Relay for Life and their fund raiser at Stanley Switlik School.

If any one is interested in any of the visual aids, I do have extras. I have posters showing the new $20.00 and $50.00 bills. I also have DVDs and VCR tapes on these bills. If you are interested you can contact me at dcoleman@keysso.net and I will get them in the mail to you.


Awards and Commendations

Sheriff names Officer and Employee of the Year

The Sheriff's Office honored it's Officers and it's Employees of the year for 2004 at a ceremony held March 11th, 2005.

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 past 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 received 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.

For a list of those receiving awards, click here.  Too see photos of the ceremony, click here.

Letters of Thanks and Commendation

  • Dave Stark, Director of Public Safety at Ocean Reef, wrote to Sheriff Roth recently to commend Lt. Don Fanelli and several others under his command for their handling of a suicidal person recently. He expressed his appreciation for they professional way they handled the call, thanking the Lieutenant, as well as Sgt. Sean Heffron, Deputy Mike Sharp, Det. Sgt. Gene Thompson and Det. Don Dalton.
  • Henry and Marla Russell wrote to Sheriff Roth to commend Deputy Sonja Morgan for her exemplary assistance in dealing with an accident involving a family member of theirs.  According to the letter, Deputy Morgan was of tremendous assistance making sure family members were able to reach the hospital to be with their injured relative. They say, in part, "...we all would like to formally thank Deputy Sonja Morgan for her professionalism in a time of crisis, her effective communication skills and ability to perform under stressful situations. Her caring attitude allowed family members to be by Paula's side."
  • Peter Horton, Monroe County Director of Airports, wrote to Airport Security Director Jerome Fain thanking him for outstanding efforts during a tabletop security exercise. He said, "It was immediately evident to not only myself but all others that attended that a great deal of planning and coordination went into the project.....It was well researched, concise, innovative, informative and interactive." Director Horton also praised Sgt.s Karl Beilman and William Gordon for their efforts.
  • Robin Whiting, Manager of the Caribbean Village on Big Coppitt Key, wrote to Sheriff Roth to thank Deputies Evan Calhoun, Brian Kibbe and Luis Blasco. She called for assistance dealing with guests who had become a problem. She said, in part, "Thank you, thank you deputies! We need you. You are very much appreciated!"
  • Sugarloaf School Principal Theresa Axford wrote to the Sheriff to praise the work of School Resource Officer Deputy Tom Peteck. She complimented his rapport with students, his investigation of disciplinary cases, his teaching ability and his willingness to work after hours if necessary.
  • Sanford Goodman, of Forest Hills, New York wrote a letter to the Sheriff praising Deputy Jorge Morffi for his help with a flat tire.  He said, "Being in an unfamiliar setting we were indeed frightened to be immobile in the dark with little lighting and not knowing what may happen....Sheriff Morffi was extremely reassuring and remained and assisted us with the tire change....His dedication and concern for individuals needing assistance gives Key West and your department a very high rating."

Support Services

From the Finance Division

Travel and Training

Dear Finance:

I’ve just been advised by Training that my request for a class has been approved. What do I do now?

Sincerely,
Ready to Go

Dear Ready:

Thanks so much for asking that question. We get asked that a lot.

Training forwards a copy of your approved class/travel request to finance. The travel voucher submitted with your request was based on estimated expenses. It is now your responsibility to make all the necessary arrangements including class registration, hotel reservation, and all necessary transportation. Flight reservations are done through Key West Travel who bills the agency. (If you’re inclined to do so and can find a cheaper fare on line, you can book the reservation yourself. However, you will have to pay for it and then submit copies of the reservation and proof of payment for reimbursement.)

In order to take the hotel payment with you, we need to know which hotel you are staying at – surprise!! The easiest way to accomplish this is for you to supply us with another travel voucher with all the actual information on it. This would include: hotel name, address, cost and confirmation number, car rental company (if applicable), and travel times. Time of departure is based on the time you leave home (not the flight time) and the time you return home. These times determine the amount of per diem you receive.

Refer to the details printed on the back of the travel voucher.

The week before you travel, you will receive a check made payable to the hotel along with a tax-exempt certificate (if applicable) and a check for your per diem. In some instances, a check for the class fee will be provided to you to deliver. If the check has already been mailed, you will receive a copy of it to take with you.

Upon completion of your travel, you are required to complete a return voucher and submit it to Finance within 5 days. This voucher can simply be a copy of the original one with RETURN written across the top. Any receipts given to you (hotel, class enrollment) should be attached to this return voucher. Additional expenses incurred for which you are seeking reimbursement (tolls, taxi) must be listed on the voucher and all receipts attached. It must also be approved again and dated by your Lt. or Captain.

The Sheriff has recently approved an amendment to the reimbursement policy whereby anyone not completing a return voucher within 5 days will have the total of all advanced monies deducted from their next paycheck. The money will be returned through payroll when all completed paperwork is received and processed.

If all this sounds new to you, please see the General Operations Manual Chapter 55:3 (4.c.2). Also, Chapter 80:17 (7). It’s a lot easier than it sounds and once you do it you’ll see how well it works.

And of course, we’re available to answer your calls at any time.

Sheriff's Office receives perfect audit

By Finance Director Amy Heavilin

Two years in a row, the Sheriff’s Office has received a perfect audit. In order to understand the importance of this accomplishment, one needs to know the Finance Department processed approximately $64.2 million for EYE 2004.

A total of fourteen people handle all the financial transactions. These transactions include processing checks to vendors for supplies and services, tuition reimbursement, travel requests, federal and state grants, special revenue accounts, the preparation of annual budgets, monthly financial statements and the ever-important employee payroll. Finance personnel ensure that the monies received from local, state and federal grants are spent in accordance with their specific requirements.

The Finance Division is responsible for the purchasing agent and supply personnel. The purchasing agent researches vendors, compares products and services, compiles bids and orders all products and services. Supply personnel monitor and disburse the supplies once they are received. In EYE 2004, supply personnel were able to reduce on-hand inventory, saving the agency thousands of dollars.

When the Sheriff’s Office acquires a fixed asset that costs more than $750, the inventory specialist tags and records the asset. In addition, he ensures a physical inventory of all fixed assets is conducted and reported annually including HIDTA assets located in South Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The Finance Department manages the fleet of vehicles owned and operated by the Sheriff’s Office. The fleet manager monitors fuel consumption, repairs and maintenance, auctions, and annual fleet purchases.

From the Office of Professional Standards

What was that Accreditation Inspection All About?

By Lt. Bruce Winegarden, Director of Professional Standards

As you know the Sheriff’s Office just completed our CALEA On-site inspection for re-accreditation. The assessment team that conducted the on-site was comprised of a retired NY State Police major, and two lieutenants from Colorado and Indiana sheriff’s offices.

So what does accreditation mean? The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) is the national accrediting body. For more information on CALEA anyone can visit their web site at www.calea.org.

Under CALEA we are a “D” size agency (300+ personnel). There are 446 CALEA standards for our agency size, many of which contain several sub-bullets. Of those 446, some standards are designated as “Other than Mandatory”. Of those “Other than Mandatory” standards an agency may chose not to comply with 20% of them without giving a reason. Also an agency is not required to comply with standards that are “Not Applicable by Function”.

So were do we stand? Of the 446 standards we placed 13 into that 20%, which put us at 15.1% of the 20% allowed, and we had 51 N/A by Function for a total of 382 standards that we complied with.

Of the Other than Mandatory standards we brought into compliance several that we did not comply with on our initial accreditation. We also put a couple into the 20% category that we had complied with on initial accreditation.

There were four (4) mandatory standards were we were weak in showing our compliance. These weaknesses had to be corrected before the on-site team left. These involved how we account for traffic citations after they are issued to deputies, the analysis of motor vehicle pursuits, in-car videotape security and retention and firearms disqualification/remediation issues.

Policies were change to correct the problems the on-site team found. These policies are being further refined and notices will follow as to the changes.

Some believe that accreditation is a rubber stamp. Pay the fee and get accredited. That is far from the truth. Talk to Sheri Cuervo or Butch Albury and ask them if it is a rubber stamp. We can also give you the names of some assessors who can tell you first hand accounts of agencies not making the grade.

Back to the 13 “Other than Mandatory” standards we did not choose to comply with. As we begin our new three year CALEA accreditation cycle we will be bringing these 13 standards into compliance. Some policies will need to be changed as needed and with some we just need to do what is already in place. The point is we will be striving to be in compliance will all our “Other than Mandatory” standards in 2007 during the next on-site.

That brings me to my last point. We begin again. This year is the first of our three (3) year CALEA cycle AND we look forward to State re-accreditation in 2006.

Thus accreditation is a continual process to which Sheriff Roth is committed. Accreditation is part of the way we do business as a law enforcement agency.

Some things we do as a result of accreditation, either CALEA or State, and some things we do simply because that is the way we do them.

We are only successful in achieving re-accreditation status as a direct result of everyone in the agency doing their job and each individual’s commitment to providing professional law enforcement services to the citizens of Monroe County.

Thank you to all the personnel who took a direct part during the recent on-site inspection. Your professionalism speaks louder than our paper files ever will.

General News

From the Southernmost Federal Credit Union

FYI! Southernmost Federal Credit Union is your sponsor Credit Union. If you are not yet a member please call or stop by and join.  Take advantage of our customer service, and low fees.  We are here to help you.  The Credit Union is located at 1004 Kennedy Drive. Our phone number is 296-6568, or you can visit our website at www.smfcu.net.

Employee Health Fairs - 2005

It is time once again for Employee Health Fairs. There will be one in the Lower Keys at the Harvey Government Center on April 13th from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The second health fair, in the middle Keys, will be held at the Marathon Government Center on May 12th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monroe County and Sheriff's Office employees who wish to take part in one of these health fairs should contact the Group Insurance Office at 292-4450 to make an appointment or for more information. The Health Fairs are all FREE OF CHARGE!

The fairs will include:

  • Height and Weight
  • Blood Pressure screening
  • Total Cholesterol and Blood Sugar testing
  • Anemia Testing
  • Education stations about Breast Cancer, Prostate/Testicular Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Diabetes, and Mental Health.
  • Medication review
  • Pulse Oximeter
  • Nutritional Assessment
  • Body Mechanics and Back Safety (Rehab)
  • Body Fat Screening

What’s Happening

FOR RENT

  • Two bedroom two bath on the water at the 14 mile marker, Bay Point. Call Det Hamilton 797-0073.
  • Two bedroom, one bath house in Key West. Newly renovated, all new appliances, central air conditioning, cathedral ceilings on a large corner lot fenced for privacy. Lots of parking. All utilities, cable and yard maintenance is included. $2,500 a month (will give consideration to law enforcement). Call Becky at 797-0155.

Special Deals and Offers

Editor's Note: By putting these offers in the Rap Sheet, I am in no way vouching for their validity. They are simply offers that have made their way to my office and I am passing them on to you. Make sure you check out all such offers carefully before committing to them in any way. Remember the adage: If it is too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Vision Quest Comapny, Inc. says it offers special deals to law enforcement officers on sunglasses, perscription sunglasses, bike helmets and back packs. Visit www.policemyeyes.com, click on the "Rudy Project" icon and enter the password "pop" to find out more.
  • Bahama House and the Best Western Aku Tiki Inn in Daytona Beach is offering special rates for law enforcement officers in April and May. The rates range from $71 to $89 per day, and includes continental breakfast buffett, open bar cocktail hour, fresh baked cookies each morning, private balconies, a sun deck with a swimming pool and hot tub and a daily newspaper. To reserve a room, call 1-800- 571-2001 for the Bahama House and 1-800-258-8454 for the Best Western Aku Tiki. Ask for the Law Enforcement Special Rate, or book on their websites: www.daytonabahamahouse.com or www.bwakutiki.com with the Group Code: LAW.
  • The Hawthorn Suites in Orlando is offering an "Employee Escape" to Orlando between April 5th and June 20th. The Spring Special is $69.00 per night which includes a one bedroom suite which sleeps up to six, complimentary hot breakfast buffet daily, fully equipped kitchens, heated pool, children's pool and a whirlpool spa, exercise room, 24 hour convenience store, VCR and Nintendo64 and free transportation to Disney Theme Parks. Call (407)351-6600 or 1-800-331-5530. You must mention the Employee Escape flyer and your company name when requesting reservations. Based on availability.