July  - September, 2002

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.

September 25, 2002

Clarification: School Crossing Guards are not being eliminated

Monroe County - The Monroe County Sheriff's Office and County Mayor Charles "Sonny" McCoy would like to clarify the status of School Crossing Guards in the city of Key West.

Many citizens have called Mayor McCoy's office voicing their concerns over what will be happening with the Crossing Guards. In response to those calls, he would like to assure the community that the School Crossing Guards which service schools in the city of Key West are not being eliminated.

The intent of recent county actions regarding these positions is to shift funding to an alternate source. The positions have been cut from the Sheriff's Office budget for the coming fiscal year, but the Sheriff's Office and the county are working with City officials to find another way to fund the Crossing Guard positions.

Sept. 24, 2002

Guardian Ad Litem Program offers Child Abduction Forum

The Guardian Ad Litem of Monroe County in partnership with the Key West Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement(FDLE), and the State Attorney’s office will present a forum on “Fighting Child Abduction and Exploitation”- Tuesday, October 15- 7pm at the Key West branch of the Monroe County Public Library’s auditorium. Speakers will include local law enforcement experts in the areas of Child Abduction and Exploitation including; Pam Klein, Case Coordinator for the Guardian Ad Litem, Detective Al Citelli of the KWPD, Detective Janine Gedmin of the Monroe County Sheriff’s office, Special Agent Kathy Smith of FDLE, and Catherine Vogel- Assistant State Attorney from the State Attorney’s office. This forum is opened to the general public free of charge and is recommended for area professionals and parents interested in protecting children and learning more about these issues.

August 22, 2002

Stock Island Clean-up: “Operation Face-lift”

The Sheriff's Office, trustys from the Monroe County Detention Center and the City of  Key
West employees worked together to clean up the biek path area along U.S. One on Stock Island

By Sgt. J.B. Flatter

Everyone who has cause to drive, walk or ride a bike on Stock Island should be noticing a big change in the appearance of the areas just adjacent to the Highway on both sides. Deputy Matt Dowling, Sector One’s new Community Policing Officer, has undertaken the largest clean-up project to date along the 1.8 mile stretch of roadway.

Deputy Dowling has been working with Cynthia Snell, the City of Key West’s Landscape Coordinator, along with six other City of Key West employees, and four Monroe County Jail trustys to begin clearing underbrush and overgrown vegetation on both sides of the road from one end to the other.

The area had become unsightly and potentially dangerous in places due to the heavy growth that had collected a large amount of trash and was a possible haven for illegal activities such as drug sales and other suspicious activities. With the clearance of the area, it will be both more pleasing to the eye and less intimidating than in the past for those who choose to walk, run or bicycle there. Additionally, deputies on patrol will be able to be more effective on their patrols of the area without the overgrown vegetation blocking the view. Deputy Dowling also spearheaded the cleanup of the Key Haven boat ramp area in 1999. That area has remained relatively trash-free since then, and abandoned vehicles no longer accumulate in the boat ramp area.

The Sheriff's Office would like to thank Deputy Dowling for his outstanding efforts to clean up the community for everyone. We appreciate his ingenuity, and congratulate him on yet another job well done.


August 14, 2002

DJJ Building completed

Judge Richard Payne addresses a crowd gathered to
celebrate the official opening of the Monroe County
Department of Juvenile Justice Building on Stock Island.

Monroe County – Sheriff Rick Roth joined with officials from the Department of Juvenile Justice, Judge Richard Payne and Monroe County Mayor Charles “Sonny” McCoy today to announce the completion of the new Juvenile Detention Facility on Stock Island.

Saying he was “happy to be able to announce the project is not only on time, but under budget,” Sheriff Roth welcomed a crowd of approximately 75 people to tour the new building, which will initially house offices for various agencies on the second floor, including a number of agencies which service juveniles in the county. The first floor was built as a detention facility for juveniles. It will not initially be used for that purpose, however, due to a lack of state funding to begin its operation.

“We here on a local level have done all that we can to make this dream a reality,” said Judge Richard Payne, who addressed the crowd from the podium. Judge Payne has been instrumental in pushing for a juvenile detention facility for area youth. “It is so very important that we be able to keep our children here, in our community, where they can be close to their families and have the benefit of services we have to offer,” he continued. “It is now up to the state to provide the funding necessary to finish what we have started.”

Currently, juveniles who are detained for committing crimes in Monroe County must be shipped 150 miles to be held there in an overcrowded detention facility in Miami-Dade County. Judge Payne referred to the conditions these juveniles must face when they get there, saying the facility is build to house just over 200 juveniles, but is always overcrowded and often houses almost twice that number.

Until the state of Florida sees fit to provide the funding needed to house juveniles, Sheriff Roth is attempting to find other uses for the new detention facilities. One possibility: temporary housing of detainees for the Immigration and Naturalization Service at a cost to them of $82.00 a day. This possibility would pay for itself and return over a million dollars a year in revenues to the county to offset expenses.

“What we really need, though, is a place to house our youthful detainees where we can control the influences on them and where their families can easily visit them. We need a detention facility in Monroe County – it is very important – and we urge our legislators in Tallahassee to approve the funding for it as soon as possible,” said Sheriff Roth.

August 13, 2002

New K-9 Addition to Islamorada Sector

Attached are pictures of the newest addition to the Monroe County Sheriffs Office Islamorada District. K-9 Storm is a 3 1/2 year old Belgian Malinois. Sgt. Tim Hurd, a 10 year veteran of the Sheriffs Office, and Storm recently completed a combined course of 460 hours training at K-9 Concepts Training Center in Broussard Louisiana. Storm is certified in narcotics detection, criminal apprehension, handler protection and basic obedience. Storm was purchased for the Islamorada District by Sheriff Rick Roth out of funds seized during the course of criminal investigations, at no cost to the taxpayers.


August 13, 2002

Free used furniture to those who qualify

Plantation Key – Monroe County is getting ready to move ahead with renovation of the old Mariner’s Hospital building on Plantation Key. The building is slated to be the new home of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Sector 7 office. First, however, all the building’s contents must be disposed of, as soon as possible.

With that in mind, and in the hopes that some of the items inside can be of use to someone, Captain Jennifer Bell-Thomson will be holding an open house for non-profit groups, charitable and government organizations August 27th.

“Anyone who falls into those categories can come visit the building between 8 a.m. and noon that day and see if there is anything they can use,” said Captain Jenny Bell Thomson. “We’ll give them the items free of charge – they just have to haul it away.”

She stresses that the items must be gone from the building that same day, preferably during the four hour open house timeframe. Available items include desks, shelving units, chairs, tables and other office-type furniture.

“Keep in mind – this stuff is very well used,” said Captain Thomson. “But I don’t want to throw it away before I give other people a chance to take a look and see if they can use it.”

Everyone who comes to the open house should bring with them some sort of proof that they are, indeed, part of a non-profit, charitable or government organization. Priority will be given to those organizations located in Monroe County. They should also bring some means of transporting whatever furniture they decide to take away with them.

For more information, contact the Plantation Key Substation, 853-3211.


August 13, 2002

Monroe County participates in state-wide initiative

Monroe County – Monroe County law enforcement agencies and school officials are participating in a state-wide initiative aimed at stopping Sexual Predators and Offenders from preying on children. Governor Jeb Bush along with the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, yesterday announced the beginning of "Operation S.A.F.E." (Statewide Arrest & Fugitive Enforcement). Local and state law enforcement agencies have partnered to collectively focus on the safety of Florida's children as the school year begins.

Operation S.A.F.E. will target registered sexual predators and offenders who have active arrest warrants and are currently wanted for a sex related offense. FDLE members have identified approximately 300 offenders statewide who meet these criteria. Law enforcement officials will also be looking for individuals in Florida who are wanted for a sex crime as well as registered sexual predators and offenders who have active warrants for any type of crime.

Locally, fifteen people have been identified as either Sexual Predators or offenders with outstanding warrants, or as fugitives wanted for sexual crimes involving minors, according to information provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. All sixteen are known to have spent time in the Florida Keys, or in the past have resided here. (See attached list).

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the local office of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Key West Police Department and Monroe County Schools will be working together to keep our children safe in the Florida Keys. Law Enforcement officers will be on the streets looking for these wanted fugitives, and will be communicating with schools to make sure they have the information they need to keep school children safe from sexual predators and offenders.

“We’ve compiled and distributed a list of fugitives wanted for sexual crimes in Monroe County,” said Ed Miller, Special Agent Supervisor for the Key West field office. “Our agents will be out in the community working with local law enforcement to affect as many arrests of these offenders as we possibly can.”

“Sexual crimes against children are, in reality, crimes against all of us,” said Sheriff Rick Roth. “Children are our most precious resource, and we at the Sheriff’s Office will do everything we can to protect them from those who would prey on their innocence,” he said. Deputies and Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office will be assisting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in their efforts to locate wanted fugitives, as well as to check on known sexual predators and offenders in the Keys.

“We certainly want to know at all times who the convicted sexual offenders and predators are in our community: what they look like, where they live, where they work and where they hang out,” Key West Police Chief Gordon “Buz” Dillon said.  “Our officers are always on the lookout for these depraved people wherever children gather in the City of Key West  - school zones, parks, playgrounds and special children’s events.”

"As our children begin to head back to school it is critical that we do all we can to ensure their safety. Many students across our state walk to and from school and Operation S.A.F.E. will protect them from dangerous criminals," said Governor Bush. "I want to thank the Florida Sheriff's Association and the FDLE for all their work in coordinating the task force that will specifically address the safety of our children."

Through partnerships with school administrators, school resource officers, D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officers, and Florida Crime Stoppers, the program will also engage in a public education campaign focusing on child safety. To receive more information on Florida's sexual predators and offenders and child safety, visit FDLE's website at www.fdle.state.fl.us/safekids.

"Since 1982, with the establishment of the Missing Children Information Clearinghouse, FDLE has distributed information on missing children and actively worked in partnership with local law enforcement for their safe recovery. We are proud to be a part of an initiative that is based upon prevention and deterrence," stated FDLE Commissioner Tim Moore.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the following people are wanted on outstanding warrants and may be residing in the Florida Keys:










VOP - Att Sex Batt on Juvenile





Failure to register as a sex offender





VOP - Lewd and Lascivious acts on a minor





VOP Lewd and Lascivious on child





FTA - possession of controlled substance





Burg to dwelling\sexual battery with physical force





Sexual battery on child under 12





Sexual offense against a child





Sexual battery





Sexual assault on person under 18





Sexual offense on a child - lewd and lascivious





VOP - Lewd and lascivious act on a child





Kidnapping a minor





Sexual assault on a minor victim


July 30, 2002

Sheriff’s Deputies and kids go to 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 25th to 29th in Homestead at Camp Owaisa Bauer

Thirteen Marathon teens attended free of charge, sponsored by HIDTA and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Attending the camp was: Timeka Tubbs, Lisuani Sanchez, Onyo Sanchez, Mac Shepard, Tyrell Williams, Tamara Williams, Lyia Stewart, Nekita Leatherwood, Ashley McKnight, Brittany McKnight, Justin Holmes, Maryann Scott and Sergio Howard. Camp counselors from Monroe County were Deputies Linda Hartley, and Eric Mixon.

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 (for the second year in a row), Dr. David Parsons, who provided free physicals for the camp attendees (for the third year in a row!) and Go Tours of Marathon, which supplied transportation on a bus for the trip up and back.

 In the photos:

 Photo #1: Camp kids from Marathon in front of their bus prior to their trip to Homestead.

Photo #2: Camp kids participate in a flag raising ceremony at HIDTA camp.

Photo #3: Deputy Eric Mixon shows the group photos of traffic homicide investigations after a presentation on the subject.


July 30, 2002

Explorer Drill Team takes home First Place in State competition

Left to right: Jocelyn Marles, Brian Backus, Priscilla Franco,
Jimmy Jensen, T.C. Brazil, Hunter Owen, Cory Jecelin and
Yessenia Crespo. Kneeling in front are School Resource Officers
Deputy Beverly Brazil (left) and Deputy Tammy Jensen.

By School Resource Officer and Explorer Advisor Tammy Jensen

The adrenalin is pumping; the rain is falling; yet the Monroe County Explorer Drill Team stands at attention. The judges are inspecting their uniforms. Soon the Squad Leader will be handed a card with a series of stationary drill commands she must memorize.

She calls out the commands and the team executes them all properly. This is the easy part. The Squad Leader takes her place and calls the group to “Port……Arms”, the drill has begun. Each member is in step, rifles twirl as the Squad Leader walks the line; she turns and walks back through the line as rifles are tossed in front of and behind her. Their timing is good as rifle butts bang the ground, boots march and hands slap sides in unison. This is what they have trained for and they deliver an excellent performance.

The Explorers have been busy the last couple of months, and that work has paid off in the form of a First Place award. It all started when they found out there was going to be competition at the June State Conference of the Florida Sheriff’s Explorer Association (FSEA), which is sponsored by the Florida Sheriffs Association.

“The purpose of the association is to bring together Sheriff’s Explorer posts in the State of Florida in an effort to further the knowledge and understanding of law enforcement, fostering interest and assist in informing and organizing new posts, further the relationship between the youth and their communities while representing their respective agencies, coordinate and enhance the progression of member units through training and programming, assist law enforcement agencies throughout the state, maintain organization through proper communication, maintain an image and follow the guidelines as approved by the organizational sponsor, The Florida Sheriffs Association.” (taken from www.fsea.4mg.com)

Quarterly delegates meetings are held around the state, hosted by different counties each quarter and attended by 200-250 Explorers. Monroe County hosted the week long June State Conference in 1995 and 1998. Explorers receive training in various law enforcement related topics, learn leadership and elect their own governing board as well as networking with Explorers from 39 counties throughout the state of Florida.

This year’s State Delegates meeting was full of competition. Explorers could compete in Felony Traffic Stops (4 member team), Domestic Disturbance Calls (2 member team), Fight/Stabbing Calls (2 member team) or Drill Team (7 member team). Monroe posts 904 and 905 competed in Domestic Disturbance. Post 905 did well in the Felony Traffic Stop competition and Posts 905 and 906 combined forces for the Drill Competition.

The Drill Competition was by far the most complicated. Teams were to be judged on appearance, drill command execution and a two-minute “Monkey Drill” of their own design. The Explorers on our team practiced 3 days a week, 2-3 hours a day for two months. They enlisted the help of the U.S. Coast Guard. Master Chief Hodges of USCG Station Marathon allowed two of his Petty Officers to train the team at their station. Each Explorer worked hard learning and then repeating the maneuvers over and over and over again till they got them right. Petty Officers Roche and Mats kept them busy and insisted they practice at home as well.

All that hard work paid off and these young people should be commended for their hard work and dedication. They were and continue to be terrific representatives of the Monroe County Sheriffs Department.


July 26, 2002

Outstanding warrants on the www

Monroe County – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is now featuring outstanding warrants on the Sheriff’s Office web site.

Visitors to the web site can click on “Outstanding Warrants” and view a listing of all warrants that have an issue date of six months ago or older. The warrants are listed by the wanted person’s name and are in alphabetical order. Thousands of such warrants are available, with the option of viewing the wanted person’s mug shot from a previous arrest if it is available.

“We are hoping, by allowing people to view this list of warrants, that we will be able to clear some of the older ones by arrested the wanted person,” said Sheriff Rick Roth. “If a person has information about a wanted person’s whereabouts, they should contact us immediately,” he said.

People also have the option of reporting information about wanted persons to Crime Stoppers with just the click of a mouse. The Warrants web page has a direct link to the Crime Stoppers email address at crimestoppers@keysso.net. A return email will assign a Crime Stoppers identification number for future reference and, if a felony arrest is made, the email tipster will be notified via email that his or her cash reward is waiting.

“Tipsters can notify Crime Stoppers via email or by calling our hot line number,” said Crime Stoppers Coordinator Greg Artman. “People who send a Crime Stoppers email do need to realize that they will, technically, be identified to a degree by their email address. If they are concerned about remaining completely anonymous they should still use the phone to call in their tip,” he said.

Email tips can be sent to CrimeStoppers@keysso.net. Callers should dial 1-800-346-TIPS.


Another new feature on the web site: people who want to run a search to see if a specific person has been arrested during the past five years can now do so. Visit the Sheriff’s Office “Arrests” web page and click on “Arrest Search”.


July 15, 2002

Sheriff issues cautionary message about “fake” guns

Monroe County – In two separate incidents in the past two months, young men with pellet or paint ball guns that look real were involved in incidents in the upper Keys.

The first incident, in May, happened at the Burger King restaurant in Islamorada. A group of young people going through the drive-thru called 911 to report that someone in a black truck ahead of them had pointed a gun at them and threatened them. Deputies stopped the truck and discovered the gun was a pellet gun. The gun resembles very closely a Berretta semi-automatic pistol, a gun carried by many deputies.

From a distance, the pellet gun could not be distinguished from a real gun. The teen that possessed the pellet gun was arrested and charged with aggravated assault for allegedly pointing it at the other youths and threatening them.

The second incident occurred last week at the Dairy Queen restaurant in Plantation Key. A man called Sheriff’s dispatchers to report seeing someone in the parking lot waving a gun around, and pointing it at people driving by. Deputies arrived and found two young men, one of which had a paint ball gun. The paint ball gun resembled a real gun. The gun was taken into custody by the deputy and the teens were warned about possessing such an item in a public place.

Sheriff Rick Roth would like to remind everyone of the dangers involved in possessing and carrying such “replica” guns. Regardless of their ability or inability to kill a person, the perception that they are real can be extremely dangerous – to the person carrying them.

“If a law enforcement officer sees someone with a gun that looks real, he must assume that gun is real. If someone points such a gun at an officer, there is a very good chance that officer will have to make the difficult and tragic decision to shoot that person,” said Sheriff Rick Roth. “And the officer would be justified in the shooting because he or she would have no way of knowing the gun is not real.”

“I want to urge parents to keep their eyes open – pay attention to what your kids are doing and pay attention to items they carry in their backpacks, their pockets, and in their cars. Don’t allow them to carry any type of weapon which looks like a real gun. Doing so could truly endanger their lives,” said Sheriff Roth.

“And kids, you may think it is cool to carry something that looks like a real gun. It’s not – you are risking your life and potentially the life of anyone with you when you do.”

July 9, 2002

Sheriff releases list of unclaimed bond money

The Sheriff's Office web site, www.keysso.net, is currently featuring a list of unclaimed bond money, published pursuant to F.S. 116.21 (2). The money is now in the custody of Richard D. Roth, Sheriff of Monroe County, Florida, and unless such bond monies are claimed on or before September 1, 2002, they shall be forfeited to Monroe County.

Persons having or claiming any interest in said funds or any portion of them shall file their written claims to the Sheriff of Monroe County, on or before September 2, 2002, and show sufficient proof to the Sheriff of Monroe County of his/her ownership and upon doing so, shall be entitled to receive any part of the monies so claimed.

To see the list, please visit http://www.keysso.net/admin_divs/financediv/misc/unclaimed_bonds.htm, or go to www.keysso.net and click on "Finance Division".


July 8, 2002

Key Largo woman buys teddy bears for patrol cars

Mrs. Bonnie Stanford, Lt. Bill Moran and the teddy bears.

Upper Keys – Upper Keys deputies will be carrying teddy bears in their patrol cars thanks to the efforts of a Key Largo woman. The bears will be used to help children deal with stressful situations such as accidents and criminal investigations. Children who are involved in law enforcement related incidents are often upset by circumstances, and stuffed animals help to sooth them and make them feel a little less afraid. Mrs. Bonnie Stanford collected enough bears to equip every patrol car in Sector 7, which covers the area from the 90.2 mile marker in Tavernier to the county line. She has pledged to continue supplying the bears as they are used, a pledge that is very much appreciated by Lt. Bill Moran, Station Commander for Sector 7. “Mrs. Stanford’s efforts are truly outstanding. Her teddy bears will make the children we deal with feel safer and more secure and this, in turn, will make our jobs easier,” he said. “Her public service should be applauded. We thank her for her work.” Mrs. Stanford says she is not doing this for tax reasons, or for personal recognition. She just wants to help. “I’m just happy to do this for the Sheriff’s Office and for the children,” she said. “My goal is to make a child’s life a bit easier at a frightening time in life.”

July 1, 2002

Partial Road Closure on South Roosevelt Blvd.

Motorists who plan to use South Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West early this Fourth of July are advised of a partial road closure between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Motorists using Bertha Street to access S. Roosevelt Boulevard will be diverted to Flagler

Avenue because the two outside traffic lanes on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Boulevard will be closed from Bertha Street to the Key Wester Motel. Motorists who use A1A to access S.Roosevelt can proceed normally. Police Officers will be stationed along the route to ensure traffic safety. Traffic cones will be used to mark the route of the race. The partial road closure is for the Crime Stoppers Fourth of July Run/Walk that starts at 7:30 a.m.Thursday, July 4. Runners and walkers will use the two closed lanes for the race, which will benefit the Crime Stoppers’ reward fund. Normal traffic will resume at approximately 9 a.m. on this section of South Roosevelt Boulevard. For further information, contact the Sheriff’s Community Relations Division at 292-7116.