October - December 2003

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.

December 24, 2002

Correcting misunderstandings about Cuban Bi-Plane

Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office would like to correct some apparent misunderstandings among some members of the public about the recent seizure of a Cuban bi-plane, and the circumstances leading up to it.

The plane, an Antonov AN-2 Colt, belonged to the Cuban Government and was flown to the United States by a Cuban pilot on November 11th along with 7 of his family members. The eight Cuban immigrants were taken into custody by Immigration and Naturalization Services. The plane was left by Federal Government officials at the Key West International Airport.

The plane, still technically the property of the Republic of Cuba, was a potential target for, at the least, vandalism, so Airport Manager Peter Horton ordered a 24 hour guard on the plane to make sure it remained safe and in one piece while the government sorted out what would happen with the plane.

Meanwhile, a Miami woman, Ana Margarita Martinez, who has a court judgment against the Republic of Cuba, began court proceedings to seize the plane. If the court granted her request the plane would be sold at auction to satisfy a portion of her $27 million judgment. While the court proceedings were moving forward, Sheriff’s Office General Counsel Mark Willis spent considerable time on the phone with various offices in the United States State Department in consultation about what could and could not be done with the plane. The final result of those conversations was that, if ordered by the court to do so, the Sheriff’s Office could, and should, seize the plane.

On December 4th, Circuit Judge Allen Postman ordered that the plane be seized and sold at auction. The agency ordered to seize and sell the plane was the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. That same day, a seizure order was posted on the plane and it was fitted with locks and chains to prevent it from being moved from it’s location at the Key West International Airport.

The plane was guarded at the airport by Airport Security deputies 24 hours a day for 21 days prior to it being seized by the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office contracts with the airport to provide the Airport Security deputies, but airport authorities decide where and how to use the manpower, and pay for the deputies out of the Key West Airport budget. The airport is, reportedly, attempting to recover their costs either from the Federal Government or from the proceeds of the plane’s sale.

Other costs associated with the plane, including storage fees paid by the Sheriff’s Office to keep it in its current place at Island City Flying Service, will be reimbursed from proceeds of the plane’s sale prior to payment being made to Martinez.

The Sheriff is charged, by law, with all civil and criminal seizures of property in Monroe County resulting from court settlements and other legal agreements. All types of property, including cars and boats, are routinely seized by the Sheriff’s Office and sold at auction.

The bi-plane auction has been scheduled for Monday, January 13th at 11 a.m. Interested bidders are invited to inspect the aircraft (including interior and inspection ports) on Sunday, January 12th 2003 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Anyone wishing to view the plane must register before noon Friday, January 10th 2003 with Kirk Bondurant, MCSO Civil Process Supervisor. For instructions on how to register, you may email him at kbondurant@keysso.net or call him at 305-295-3676. Further direction will be given after registration.


December 18th

Sheriff's Office to watch out for Drunk Drivers; Sobriety Checkpoint Scheduled for Islamorada

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be working hard this holiday season to combat drunk driving. To that end, deputies will be keeping a vigilant watch for people who drink and drive, and those people will be arrested and taken to jail. December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (3D) and the Sheriff’s Office will be joining law enforcement agencies across America to try and keep our citizens safe from drunk and unsafe drivers. For more information about 3D month, including facts and figures about drunk driving, visit the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s web site at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/alcohol/3d/3DFY2002/.

The Sheriff’s Office Islamorada Sector would like to announce they will have specialized units out looking for drunk drivers, particularly in the late night and early morning hours. In addition, they will be scheduling a Sobriety Checkpoint Saturday, December 21st from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. in Islamorada. Drivers will be stopped, cars will be checked for possible safety violations and, if the drivers are intoxicated, they will be taken to jail.

During the holidays, please designate a sober driver if you plan to celebrate with friends, either at the many restaurants and bars in the Keys, or at a holiday party. Another safe option is to take a cab home if you plan to consume any alcoholic beverages.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to see everyone in the Keys have a safe and happy holiday season.

December 17, 2002

On the right is Deputy Manny Cuervo with his bloodhound
Sadie, who participated recently in a training course held in Miami.
They are pictured here with another bloodhound team from Cooper City, Florida.

Sheriff’s Office bloodhound and handler attend training

Monroe County – Sheriff’s Office K-9 Team Deputy Manny Cuervo and his bloodhound Sadie recently completed a training seminar with the Miami-Dade Police Institute and the National Police Bloodhound Association.

During the forty hour course, the Bloodhound Team worked directly with the Miami- Dade SWAT unit, utilizing simunitions and learning numerous scenarios in which the hound can be applied in tactical law enforcement applications. This training also involved working side by side with apprehension canines, utilizing the exceptional nose of the hound to track a felony suspect, then deployment of apprehension canine upon successful location of the suspect.

The team also conducted extensive trails in the Everglades covering several square miles of swamp and saw grass, with expert instruction from Fla. Dept. of Corrections K-9 handlers. Urban environments such as downtown Miami Lakes also served as training grounds in deployment of the hound. Various legal issues and case law concerning the Bloodhounds were also discussed by legal counsel from Miami-Dade. Canine Sadie was donated to the Sheriff’s Office by the Jimmy Ryce Foundation so that law enforcement agencies in our area would have another exceptional tool to utilize in attempting to locate a lost or missing child, or adult. The training in criminal tracking and the ability to identify a suspect in a criminal case is an additional testament to the contribution the Bloodhound can make to law enforcement efforts. When it comes down to it, the dog is a tool. While not as ubiquitous as a drug sniffing, or a patrol dog, they're integral members of many police agencies.


December 10, 2002

Christmas at the Animal Farm, Stock Island

Key West - Everyone is invited to join the Christmas festivities at the Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm Sunday. Visit with Santa, take a traditional hay ride and listen to Christmas carols as you visit with all the animals at the farm.

The celebration will be held between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the farm, located at the Sheriff’s Office Detention Center on Stock Island, just off of College Road. There is no charge to attend, and kids and adults alike will have fun visiting with the animals while enjoying the Holiday atmosphere. Other entertainment will include Christmas music by the Gerald Adams School, Steel Drum Band, and the Grace Lutheran Children’s Choir, the Big Coppitt Baptist Church performing a nativity play, and an appearance by jugglers from Gerald Adams Elementary School as well as Christmas carolers.

For those who have never visited the animal park before, there are many traditional farm animals to see and, in some cases, touch, including: cows, horses, goats, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks and geese. In addition, the park features many exotic breeds, including tropical birds, snakes, various types of lizards including Caiman Alligators, a Llama, Patagonian Cavies, turtles, and many others. The party is free for all, and children will even receive a special gift from Santa during their visit.

Come on out and join the fun at the Sheriff’s Office Children’s Animal Park.


November 20, 2002

Photo, Left to right: Cadet Lt. Yessenia Crespo, Det. Dep. Mark Haynes,
Traffic Deputy Donald MacAllaster, Records Asst. Peggy Carey,
Res. Sgt. John Housman and Sheriff Rick Roth.

Sheriff's Office Employees of the Quarter, Third Quarter 2002

Sworn Law Enforcement Employee: Deputy Donald MacAllaster Bureau of Operations, Special Operation-Traffic.

Deputy MacAllaster is a highly motivated individual, who is continually seeking ways to improve himself and the Sheriff’s Office. During the last several months Deputy MacAllaster completed rigorous training to become a Drug Recognition Expert, while maintaining his role as the top producer for the Traffic Unit. During the last quarter Deputy MacAllaster was responsible for 21% of the productivity for our eight man unit.

Frequently Deputy MacAllaster will recognize problems or inefficiencies with standard procedures, and can be counted on to follow policy while correcting these deficiencies. Most recently he spent many hours re-vamping the DUI worksheet used by our county recognizing out-dated procedures. Deputy MacAllaster sought input from all concerned parties and came up with a more efficient and user-friendly DUI worksheet. The changes have shortened the time necessary to process a DUI arrest, there-by returning the arresting deputy to the street sooner, increasing coverage for Monroe County. The change to the worksheet will no doubt improve the quality of documentation made by an arresting deputy, and increase the conviction rate for DUI arrests throughout the county.

This type of selfless dedication to his duties has made Deputy MacAllaster a tremendous asset to this unit and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. His ability to maintain a high level of productivity within the unit, while continuing to improve himself and the procedures of this agency set him apart from most deputies.

Support Employee: Records Assistant Peggy Carey, Bureau of Administration, Central Records.

Peggy has been in the Records Division the entire time of her employment with the agency and is the assistant supervisor in the absence of the supervisor. During the absence of the Records Supervisor Peggy has always run the office efficiently and effectively.

Peggy handles all of the validations in the Records Division. Every two years FDLE audits the division and Peggy has always received great marks for her validations. Peggy also fills in for the secretaries upstairs in Administration when they are out. She has done a good job and they request her when one of the secretaries are going to be out of the office.

I feel that Peggy is a team player and has always taken the initiative to get her job done and then help others with theirs.

Sworn Detention Employee: Corrections Officer Mark Haynes, Bureau of Corrections, Security Division Plantation Key Facility.

The majority of the last three months, D/D Haynes has been the Officer in charge of “C” Watch. Everyday that he has been the O.I.C., he has operated the squad at the bare minimum level of staffing. He is the sole FTO on the shift and has trained several probationary officers while at the same time fulfilling his O.I.C. duties. During the last few months he has dealt with a number of problems and emergencies and has demonstrated good decision making and problem solving skills. He can be counted on to take a positive approach to the changes that are always occurring within the agency and the community; he looks beyond the effects on him and considers the big picture. Without any special invitation, he has been attending and actively participating in the monthly sergeants meetings. Officer Haynes has been very flexible with his time and schedule, he has never refused to trade shifts, work overtime or attend training. His willingness to be flexible and assist has allowed operations at this facility to run smoothly. He is punctual and has a perfect attendance record for the year. The example and standard he provides in the facility and the agency is exceptional and commendable.

Reserve Employee: Reserve Sergeant John Housman, Bureau of Operations, Sector IV, Reserve Section.

John has been a member of the Sheriff’s Office since August 7, 2000. On August 17, 2002 the MCSO Trauma Star helicopter responded to a trauma request for air transportation of victims involving a head-on boat collision. The two boats collided at high speed, ejecting victims into the water and forcing one boat into the mangroves. As Islamorada Rescue personnel arrived at the scene, they were forced to traverse thigh deep mud for over 100 yards. Because of the nature of suspected spinal injuries and the inability to safely move the victims through the mangroves and mud, the decision was made to vertically extract the victims by helicopter rescue hoist.

Trauma Star Pilot, Dep. Leland Cranmer and Reserve Sgt. John Housman were serving that day as the Trauma Star crew. Upon arrival at the scene, the helicopter was rigged for hoist/vertical extraction operations. Sgt. Housman and Islamorada Fire/Rescue Paramedic Henry Farfan set up for over water hoist operations and then rigged Farfan to be lowered to the victims. With exacting precision, disregarding an extreme crosswind, Pilot Dep. Cranmer brought the helicopter to a hover over the boat crash. Paramedic Farfan began the rescue process.

Once the first victim was packaged for lift, Sgt. Housman then raised the Stokes Litter, along with Paramedic Farfan up to the helicopter. Opting to transport the victim externally, Paramedic Farfan hung from the hoist, cradling the victim and the litter with his legs. While perched hundreds of feet in the air, the crew flew the victim to the shoreline into the hands of waiting ground rescue personnel. The helicopter and crew then returned to the crash scene and again repeated the vertical rescue of the second victim. Given the totality and critical circumstances of the mission, the actions of this crew are commendable. Their ability to perform under tremendous pressure, within a time constraint, and under extremely hazardous conditions as a first time crew, is without equal. Their selfless acts of courage and concern for the needs of the victims, goes beyond the normal call-of-duty. Their dedication to duty, professionalism, ability to perform with expert precision and concern for the lives of others reflects greatly upon themselves, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Islamorada Fire Department and the Citizens of Monroe County.

Explorer/Cadet: Explorer/Cadet Lt. Yessenia Crespo, Bureau of Operations, Explorer/Cadet Section Explorer/Cadet.

Yessenia has been a member of this program since November 2000. Yessenia is an asset to Post 906 and any time a job needs doing, she is the first to volunteer. Whether phone calls need to be made, the supply closet organized or a last minute work detail comes up, Explorer Lt. Crespo is always willing to help out. She is that steady, dependable rock we all like to rely on, but frequently overlook for recognition awards because there is no one particular event that makes us take notice.

Explorer Lt. Crespo is a team player and frequently helps other members. She takes the younger ones under her wing and guides them in the right direction. That in itself is an important task.

The county-wide Explorer Drill Team performed at Sombrero Beach at the July 4th celebration. Explorer Crespo was instrumental as the squad leader when their routine had to be changed at the last minute. She worked hard making sure the Explorers came together as a team, when it could have been very chaotic.


October 28, 2002

Corrections Officer charged with battery

Key West – Key West Police arrested a Sheriff’s Corrections Officer Sunday in the early morning hours for multiple counts of battery.

26 year old Shawn Hernandez of Key West is accused of fighting with his roommates and several other people at his residence in Key West. The fight began in a car as he and a group of others were driving home. According to witnesses, he allegedly grabbed one woman’s breast. She yelled at him to stop. She and the others in the car then got out and took a taxi cab to their residence, telling Hernandez not to come home.

When they arrived, he was there however and the fight allegedly continued. The witnesses told Key West Police Officers that Hernandez hit several people during the confrontation, and tore a gold necklace off one person.

Hernandez was placed under arrest and charged with four counts of battery. He was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island.

Hernandez has been an employee of the Sheriff’s Office since June of 2000, and has been a Corrections Officer since June of 2001. Hernandez was released from jail Monday morning after posting an $1,120.00 bond.

Because this incident was not work related, he will be allowed to continue working in the Detention Center for the time being, but will only be allowed to work in areas where another officer is assigned as well.


October 25, 2002

Corrections Officer arrested for attempted sexual activity with an inmate

Stock Island – A Corrections Officer from the Sheriff’s Office Plantation Key facility was arrested today, charged with attempted sexual activity with an inmate.

According to an arrest affidavit by Sheriff’s Internal Affairs detectives, 35 year old Keith Woodberry approached a female inmate in her cell in Plantation Key on numerous occasions, attempting to solicit sex with her. He made unwanted sexual advances, touching her in her vaginal area and asking to see her breasts. He also approached her while she was showering and attempted to touch her several times.

The victim reported the activity, and the case was assigned to the Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Division for investigation. Because video cameras have been installed throughout the detention facilities in the Keys, Woodberry was caught on video tape in these attempts to solicit sex from the victim. Detectives reviewed the tapes, then, working with the victim, set up more surveillance equipment to assist with their investigation. Woodberry was then captured on video tape again during the course of the investigation making similar advances to the victim.

After completion of the investigation, Woodberry was reassigned to work at the Key West Detention Facility. When he showed up to work there today, on the first day of his new assignment, he was arrested. Woodberry was charged with attempted sexual activity between a detention center employee and an inmate and with battery on the victim as well. The bond on the charges is set at $50,000.00. He is currently being held on that bond at the Detention Center on Stock Island.

Woodberry has been suspended from employment with the Sheriff's Office, pending a required pre-termination hearing scheduled for Monday.

Woodberry is currently a resident of Miami who has worked for the Sheriff’s Office as a Corrections Officer since February of 2001. He came to the Sheriff’s Office from the Everglades Correctional Institute.


October 7, 2002

Sheriff's Office works to help remove derelict vessels

In cooperation with the County's Marine Projects Office, the Sheriff's Office is working to have a number of derelict vessels removed from the vicinity of Stock Island.

On Saturday, on a Sheriff's Office waverunner, Community Policing Officer Deputy Matt Dowling documented and marked for removal 12 derelict vessels located in the waterways off of Stock Island. The documentation will be forwarded to Kim McGee, the County's Marine Projects Coordinator, so the process of removing these vessels may begin.

Attached to this email, you will find a number of pictures of the documented vessels, most of which are located off shore of 12th Avenue, and off of Peninsular Avenue.


October 7, 2002

National Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day - 10/10/02


Traffic crashes and fatalities have adversely affected the lives of most Americans. Many of us have lost parents, siblings, children, friends and relatives to the tragic crashes that take place on our nation's highways every day. About 42,000 people are killed on our nation's highways each year. That figure is much too high - and it can be lowered significantly.

The fact is vehicle crashes are an even greater threat to life and health in the U.S. than crime! In 2000, there was one murder every 34 minutes, while one person died from a traffic crash every 13 minutes. There was one violent crime every 22 seconds, but one crash-related injury every 10 seconds. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people ages 6-33, and their economic cost is estimated to be $230.6 billion per year, or 2.3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

We can reduce crashes and save lives on our highways by increasing our nation's focus on reducing driver inattention and drunken driving, increasing the use of seat belts and child safety restraints, and improving our signs and roads. That's why public-sector and private-sector groups throughout the country have joined together for an annual event called Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day to put the focus on saving lives on America's highways.

How We Can "Put the Brakes on Fatalities!"

There are three primary components to highway safety: 1) driver behavior, 2) vehicle equipment, design and maintenance, and 3) roadway design, signage and road improvements. Reducing our nation's unacceptable highway death toll will require continued improvements to all three areas.

Driver Behavior - Drunk driving, speeding, and drowsy, aggressive and distracted driving continue to be major problems on our roads and bridges. Motorists should slow down, drive defensively, and wear all appropriate protective gear - like seat belts and motorcycle helmets. Bicyclists and pedestrians need to be especially alert and careful. In 2000, 690 bicyclists and more than 4,739 pedestrians died in traffic crashes.

Vehicle Equipment, Design and Maintenance - Today's passenger vehicles are safer than ever. Advancements such as integrated seat belts, air bags, anti-lock braking, improved seat design, new crumple zone technology, and other safety features mean motorists and passengers are able to walk away from crashes that once claimed lives. These vehicle improvements will continue; however, owners must properly learn to use the new technologies for them to be effective. Drivers must also keep their cars and trucks well maintained to ensure proper performance.

Roadway Design, Signage and Road Improvements - Substandard road conditions, obsolete designs, and roadside hazards contribute to more than 15,000 highway deaths annually - nearly a third of all fatal crashes. Roadway improvements such as wider lanes, stripes, and shoulders; better lighting and brighter, highly-reflective signs and devices; intersection improvements; median barriers; and rumble strips will help save lives on our nation's highways.