April 2001 - June 2001

For more information, contact Deputy Becky Herrin, Public Information Officer for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Her contact numbers are: office: (305)292-7116, FAX: (305)293-1734 and e-mail: beckyherrin@keysso.net.

July 26, 2001

Sheriff’s Deputies and kids go to camp

Deputy Lin Badman and kids, prior to their departure for the HIDTA camp in Homestead.

Horsing around at camp.


Deputy Linda Hartley and kids, at the end of the HIDTA camp.

Marathon – Sheriff’s deputies and Marathon youth attended a summer camp together in June. The camp, free of charge to the kids attending, focused on decision making skills, making the right choices in life and living a drug-free, crime-free lifestyle.

The summer camp,  the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) 2001 Youth Leadership and Challenge Camp, took place June 14th to the 17th in Homestead at Camp Owaisa Bauer. Fourteen Marathon teens attended free of charge, sponsored by HIDTA and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Attending the camp with them, as camp counselors, was Deputies Linda Hartley, Lin Badman, Eric Mixon and Detention Deputy Jason Kroening.

The purpose of the camp, as outlined in HIDTA Camp literature, is to impress upon the participants:

1.     the consequences of poor decision making in their daily lives.

2.     the benefits of making the right choices when it comes to choosing things like their peer group.

3.     the importance of their attitude toward authority figures.

4.     the importance of their treatment of others.

5.     setting their personal goals for the rest of their lives.

The mission statement of the camp:

To expose the camp participants to a drug-free/crime-free lifestyle by utilizing mental and physical activity, bound together with educational speakers and teamwork-driven exercises designed to assist the youth in making positive changes and plans for their lives.

Some of the courses offered to participants during the four-day camp included:\

       Drugs: Their effects and consequences

       Leadership skills

       Conflict resolution

       Responsibility/Goal setting

“We had a great time, and I think the kids learned a lot,” said Deputy Linda Hartley. “Many of the kids had never attended a summer camp before, and the opportunity to attend the camp, coupled with the opportunity to learn, was really terrific,” she added.

Also contributing to the cost of attending the camp was ZONTA, which provided special T-shirts to the kids, and Dr. David Parsons, who provided free physicals for the camp attendees.


May 17, 2001

Sheriff names employees of the first quarter

Monroe County - Sheriff Rick Roth and his staff choose five Sheriff’s Office employees each quarter to be singled out for a special award, recognizing their efforts in their particular field. The Sheriff’s Office would like to congratulate the following people, chosen as Employees of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2001.

Sworn Law Enforcement: Detective Sergeant Corey Bryan, Bureau of Operations,  Special Ops-Operations

Sgt. Cory Bryan is the Detective Sergeant of the Criminal Investigations Unit in Plantation Key.  For the past 4 years, he has been a mentor for Reserves Lt. Ted Migala.  Under the guidance and supervision of Sgt. Bryan, Ted has completed many hours of training, including the Basic Law Enforcement Academy and his Field Training.

Sgt. Bryan keeps his people motivated by positive feedback and leads by example.  Under his direction, a tracking file of juvenile repeat offenders was developed, therefore making information readily available in solving juvenile crime.  He is also the administrator of the Off-Duty details for that sector.

Off-duty, Cory is kept busy with the Upper Keys Youth Sports Club, of which he was just selected as the President.  He is the head coach of a football team and has organized a mock demonstration of the legal system for the Legal Class of the Key Largo Middle School.  In addition, he maintains the Sector’s gym.

Because of Sgt. Bryan’s outstanding job of supervision, mentoring, and community service, he is the Sworn Officer of the Quarter.

Corrections: Detention Deputy Michelle Lee, Bureau of Corrections, Marathon Facility

Officer Lee transferred to the Marathon Jail in 1996 after working in the Key West Facility immediately after her academy graduation in 1994.  Officer Lee has assisted in many ways to make the Marathon Facility and my shift the success and it is.  Her professional concern for quality work, and tireless dedication to the operation of the Marathon Jail are demonstrated daily through her orderliness and thoroughness in performing work assignments.  She strives for state-of-the-art perfection and displays great pride in her work.  Officer Lee works effectively with others and excels in promoting team efforts. She demonstrates competence in many areas and is an outstanding OIC, When I am absent.  Officer Lee displays a genuine interest in the morale of our facility, and ensures that no one is forgotten on a special occasion.  It also goes without mention that Officer Lee displays a high degree of honesty, loyalty and integrity that I feel needs to be addressed with a positive gesture.

Support Employee: Human Resources Specialist Deshawn Jackson, Human Resources Division

Her work ethic is beyond reproach and the job she did putting together the Officer of the Year Ceremony was exemplary. This was the first function Deshawn had ever produced, as historically,  it had been done by a member of the administration.  She put together the invitations; the program, ordered the plaques, contacted all concerned, and coordinated the entire effort in a smooth and flawless manner.  Her work was that of a veteran.

Reserve: Reserve Deputy Charles Meier, Bureau of Operations, Sector I Reserve Unit

Reserve Deputy Meier joined the department  March 29, 1999 and is currently a member of  the Sector I Reserve Unit.  Reserve Deputy Meier has found his place with the  S.R.T. Unit in Sector I and continues to dedicate himself to excellence in Law Enforcement.  Reserve Deputy Meier is dedicated, effective and a reliable member of the S.R.T. and freely gives of himself when called upon.  Reserve Deputy Meier has logged 297 hours of volunteer service in the first quarter of 2001. 

Cadet: Explorer/Cadet Sgt. Crystal Thomas, Bureau of Operations, Explorer Cadet Section

Explorer Sgt. Crystal Thomas has been with post 906 since 1996.  Since that time she has proven to be an asset to the post. Her up-beat personality and positive outlook on life has been known to turn things around. She is a polite and well-mannered young lady who is not afraid of hard work and is always willing to lend a hand whenever needed, doing whatever needs to be done. 

In June of 2000, Crystal was chosen to be the Secretary of the Florida Sheriff’s Explorer Association, A state-wide organization for sheriff’s office Explorer posts throughout the state.  The F.S.E.A. meets quarterly for Delegates meetings. It is on these trips that older, more experienced explorers are expected to help the newer ones. 

During the last trip, Crystal was called on to go above and beyond the call of duty. She was assigned room captain over three fairly new young explorers. I am proud to report there were no problems at all.  This doesn’t sound like a whole lot, until you consider the fact that she was also carrying out her duties to the association as secretary, requiring her to attend extra meetings and keep up with her paperwork.

She is also a Explorer post secretary and is currently designing a new calendar to distribute to each member each month to make it easier for planning and scheduling. Crystal is missed when she can’t make a meeting or work detail as she is known for taking the younger members under her wing and keeping them on track. 

Explorer Sgt. Thomas will be graduating high school this year. She has enjoyed playing varsity soccer and volleyball as well as many other activities. She is taking Dual Enrollment classes and maintains good grades.  She has joined the Navy through their delayed entry program and will leave for boot camp in October, from there she will be assigned to Pensacola where she will train to be a Para-rescue swimmer.


May 16, 2001

Crime Watch Chairperson of the Year

Left to right, Zone Commander Sgt. Lou Caputo, 
Chairperson Ruth Howell and Crime Watch Coordinator LaVache.

Monroe County – Monroe County Sheriff Rick Roth recently named the Sheriff’s “Crime Watch Chairperson of the Year” for the year 2000, an award given to a person every year who shows selfless devotion and dedication to crime prevention efforts and to the Crime Watch program as a whole.

Mrs. Ruth Howell, chairperson of the Ocean Bay Crime Watch in Key Largo, received a plaque awarded by Sheriff Roth, Captain Jennifer Bell-Thomson and Crime Watch Coordinator Deputy Emil LaVache.

Mrs. Howell received the award for her efforts as chairperson over the past year. She faithfully holds Crime Watch meetings with members of the Crime Watch, as well as with the Sheriff’s Zone Commander, Sgt. Lou Caputo, and Deputy LaVache. She, and members of her group have implemented many “quality of life” programs in their neighborhood and Deputy LaVache believes their efforts are directly responsible for the very low crime rate in their neighborhood.

Anyone interested in starting a Crime Watch in their neighborhood should contact the Sheriff’s Office. Deputy LaVache can be reached at ()305)292-7116 or 1-800-273-COPS.

May 16th, 2001

Buckle Up Florida: Click it or Ticket

Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in the upcoming seatbelt enforcement effort “Click it or Ticket”. During the week of May 26th to June 3rd, deputies will have zero tolerance for people who fail to wear their seatbelts while driving on Monroe County roadways.

This particular enforcement effort is part of Buckle Up Florida, a long term state-wide campaign to encourage people to use seatbelts while they are traveling in their vehicles. This particular week long enforcement period will take place in the entire southeast region of the United States, including the state of Florida. In Florida, the effort is supported by the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Florida Police Chief’s Association and nearly 400 local law enforcement agencies.

According to statistics provided by the Buckle Up Florida campaign, preliminary numbers show that 3.002 people were killed in traffic collisions. Fifty seven percent were not wearing their seatbelts. In Florida, studies show that current safety belt usage is 65 percent.

Start now: wear your safety belt whenever you get into your vehicle, and insist that passengers wear those as well. It is especially important to make sure children are secured, either in a safety belt or in an approved child safety seat, depending on their age.

Remember, there will be no tolerance during the week of May 26th to June 3rd. If you aren’t wearing your safety belt, you will receive a traffic citation.

May 8, 2001

Days designated for flare and ammunition disposal

Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has designated three days in May for the public to bring in outdated flares, ammunition and fireworks for safe and legal disposal. On May 21, 22 and 23 members of the Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad will be available throughout the county to take those items for disposal.

Anyone who has items such as these to dispose of may bring them to any Sheriff’s Office substation, or to the Sheriff’s headquarters building on Stock Island. A member of the Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad will be there during regular business hours to take custody of them for safe disposal in the new Sheriff’s Office burn unit.

With the summer fishing season – and the approach of lobster season – it is time for all Monroe County boat owners to take a look at their flares and make sure they are up to date. If they are not, take advantage of these three days to properly dispose of the old ones, then visit your local marine products store to purchase new ones for use this season.

Because old flares, ammunition and fireworks are designated as hazardous waste, it is illegal to dispose of any of these items in normal household or business waste containers.  It is also illegal to discard hazardous waste of any kind in the water and remember, it is illegal to ignite flares in non-emergency situations. The only safe, legal way to dispose of any of these potentially hazardous materials is to turn them in to a designated hazardous waste collection center, or to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

If you have questions about the three designated disposal days in May, contact Detective Sgt. Bobby Randolph at 292-7060. For general questions about the disposal of hazardous waste, contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at 1-800-741-4DEP.


May 8, 2001

Local Police Memorial Day ceremonies

Monroe County – Local law enforcement officers will honor fallen comrades in two Police Memorial Day ceremonies Friday, May 18th. The public is welcome to attend and help honor the memories of officers killed in the line of duty in the past year.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) web site (http://odmp.org), there were 147 law enforcement officers killed in the United States in the year 2000. Four of those were officers in the state of Florida. Historically, six law enforcement officers have been killed in Monroe County. Four of those were Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies; two of them were Key West Police Officers. For more information about those local officers, including the details of their deaths and photographs when available, visit the Sheriff’s Office web site at www.keysso.net.

A public memorial ceremony sponsored by the Sheriff’s Office will be held in Marathon, at the Marathon Sheriff’s substation, at 10 a.m. Friday, May 18th. Following the ceremony, there will be a public tour of the substation, followed by a town meeting to discuss citizen’s concerns about the course of law enforcement in Marathon and surrounding areas. Members of the community are encouraged to attend. The town meeting will be held following the ceremony, at the courthouse located behind the Sheriff’s Substation.

A Memorial ceremony sponsored by the Sheriff’s Office and Key West Police will also be held in Key West at Bayview Park at 7 p.m. Friday, May 18th. The public is welcome to attend and honor law enforcement officers killed in the past year, and the six local officers killed in Monroe County.

May 8, 2001

Memorial Day Weekend enforcement

Monroe County – Memorial Day Weekend – May 25th through May 28th – is one of the busiest traffic weekends of the year in Monroe County. The Sheriff’s Office will be turning out in force to address traffic issues that weekend, as well as other traffic issues such as drunk driving and improper passing.

The Sheriff’s traffic enforcement division will all be working over the holiday weekend. All traffic units will be assigned to work in the upper Keys area Friday, to enforce traffic laws during the heavy incoming traffic for the weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, they will spread out, enforcing traffic laws county wide. On Monday, all units will again be assigned to the upper Keys as visitors begin traveling north out of the county.

In particular, officers will be watching for speeders, dangerous drivers and those passing improperly in turn lanes and on the shoulders of the highway. Remember, turn lanes are ONLY for turning off of, or on to the highway, not for passing other cars or driving for any distance. Drunk drivers will, as always, be a target of enforcement as well. People who plan on celebrating with alcohol over the holiday weekend should also plan on taking a cab home, or designating a sober driver.

April 24, 2001

AFIX System gets first “Hit”

Attached photo: Fingerprint specialist Nancy Rodriguez shows 
Sheriff Rick Roth the new AFIX machine, and the "hit" she got with a local fingerprint.

Monroe County – The Sheriff’s Office new Automated Fingerprint Information Expander, purchased in January of this year, got it’s first local “hit” on a latent print from an upper Keys case involving a criminal mischief to a vending machine in Plantation Key.

In January, the Sheriff’s Office purchased an AFIX machine, which is a localized fingerprint identification system which uses a database made up of fingerprints from local arrests and other sources to compare latent prints taken at local crime scenes. The machine was installed in Key West, and fingerprint specialist Nancy Rodriguez put out a message to all Sheriff’s detectives to tell her which fingerprints she should enter into the machine first for comparison purposes.

She received a couple of hundred names of local people arrested in the past for various crimes. She entered them all, and had since been entering more fingerprints as she gets them.

In the mean time, Rodriguez is running all latent prints she receives from criminal cases through the AFIX machine. Recently, she got her first “hit” on an otherwise “cold” case. The case was a break in to a Coca Cola machine in the upper Keys. There were no other leads in the case, besides the print found on a cash box from the inside of the soda machine.

Rodriguez checked the print through the machine and came up with a suspect’s name. Now, a case which otherwise would have been closed with no leads has a good chance of being closed with an arrest.

“We’re very excited about having this AFIX machine,” said Sheriff Rick Roth. “Most crimes in a particular area are committed by a relatively small number of people, and most of those people are known to law enforcement officers. The difficulty in our line of work is tying those people to the crimes they have committed – not always an easy task. This machine gives us one more tool to do that,” he said.


April 6, 2001

New Hazardous waste disposal unit in the Keys

Monroe County – The Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad will be expanding their duties, operating a new Mobile Thermal Destruction Unit obtained through a grant, in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Protection.

The “Burn Unit”, which cost $11,300.00, will be used to destroy many types of hazardous waste, including outdated flares, old ammunition, and old explosive devices such as fireworks and tear gas. None of these items can be legally or safely disposed of at normal waste disposal facilities.

“The Keys has a need for such a disposal unit,” said Sgt. Bobby Randolph, a member of the Bomb Squad and the person responsible for acquiring the unit. “Because we are a marine based community, many people have old, outdated flares they have used on their boats. This will give us a safe way to dispose of those flares.”

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, Florida boaters generate over 500,000 out-of-date flares every year.

Sgt. Randolph stressed that people should never try to dispose of old flares themselves.

“Old flares are unsafe, and can misfire or leak hazardous material. It is dangerous for a boater to dispose of them by firing them, or by throwing them away or throwing them into the water. They really should be disposed of properly,” he said. Besides, flares should only be used in an emergency situation. Not only can firing a flare cause an expensive false alarm for the Coast Guard, but it is against the law to ignite a flare in a non-emergency situation.

With the new burn unit, the Sheriff’s Office will be offering to dispose of hazardous items free of charge to the citizens of the county. Anyone with hazardous waste that needs to be urgently disposed of should contact Det. Sgt. Randolph at the Sheriff’s Office at 292-7060 or 1-800-273-COPS. The dates for public hazardous waste disposal will be announced in the near future, along with locations throughout the Keys where hazardous items can be dropped off.

April 2, 2001

New additions at the Sheriff’s Office Children’s Animal Park

The Animal Farm recently added this Llama to it's menagerie of animals.........

.......and this beautiful miniature goat.

Stock Island – Children visiting the Sheriff’s Office Animal Park will now see two new additions to the animal menagerie: a Llama and a miniature goat.

The Llama and goat were both acquired at an animal auction in Arcadia, Florida by “Farmer Deana” Rogowski.

“These two animals will be wonderful additions to our facility. They are friendly, fun and safe for children to be around,” Rogowski said. Inmates have also been working on new display cages for the tropical birds, snakes and Caimans resident at the park.

In addition to being a wonderful family oriented place to visit, the Animal Farm is a designated educational program for detention center inmates. Participants in the farm program receive an “Animal Farm Specialist” certificate at the end of a three month learning period. During that time, they learn a wide variety of skills including animal nutrition, stall management, minor medical care and practical skills such as how to properly feed, clean and care for farm animals. These skills can be useful in applying for jobs at pet stores, race tracks, farms, stables and many other places. Once a month, Veterinarian Doug Mader visits the farm and gives the inmates a “working lecture”, as he visits with each animal on the farm, checking to make sure they are healthy. If he finds a problem, he explains it as he treats the animal, telling the inmates why he is taking action and what he is doing.

The Children’s Animal Park is open to the public every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Families are welcome, and monetary donations are appreciated. The farm is operated primarily from community donations and no tax payer money is used in it’s maintenance.