November 29, 2007

Christmas at the Animal Farm December 16th

The Sheriff's Office Animal Farm will hold its annual Christmas at the Animal Farm party Sunday December 16th, 2007, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome to visit, free of charge. Santa will be there and there will be lots of fun for children and adults alike. Visitors will see a wide variety of animals at the park, including tropical birds, snakes, ferrets, rabbits, horses, ponies, a llama, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, an 100 pound tortoise and more. 


The Children's Animal Farm is located at the Stock Island Detention Center, just off of College Road. It is open to the public on the second and fourth Sunday of every month. Groups may make special arrangements to visit the farm as well. Call the Sheriff's Office Detention Center at 305-293-7300 to schedule a visit.


November 6, 2007

Sheriff honors employees of the third quarter

SWORN Law Enforcement Officer: Deputy Sonya Morgan began her career with the MCSO in August 2000.  Deputy Morgan continually excels at her every day duties as a School Resource Officer assigned to Sugarloaf School. On at least two occasions during this past quarter Deputy Morgan went above and beyond what would normally be expected. 

In late August of 2007 Deputy Morgan received information a juvenile and former student at Sugarloaf School was back in town staying in Big Pine Key.  She had heard the juvenile’s family moved to the Carolinas earlier in the summer, and figuring it was not likely the parents had returned, Deputy Morgan began an investigation.  Deputy Morgan followed leads on Big Pine Key and discovered the juvenile was actually living on the streets of Big Pine as an unreported runaway.  Deputy Morgan located the child, notified the parents, made contact with the appropriate authorities and assisted in getting the juvenile transportation back to his family in the Carolinas.

During a second noteworthy incident this quarter Deputy Morgan was responsible for locating and capturing a known sex offender frequenting the area of Sugarloaf School. Armed with the knowledge a possible sex offender has been seen in the area, Deputy Morgan kept a vigilant watch for suspicious vehicles and persons near her school.  On September 27th Deputy Morgan noticed an individual she believed to be the man in question driving by the school.  Deputy Morgan attempted to stop the vehicle but the suspect refused to stop.  Eventually the suspect drove to the end of a dead end road, exited the vehicle and confronted Deputy Morgan.  While backup was enroute to Deputy Morgan’s location she was able to control the subject and take him into custody.  A records check confirmed his identity, along with several outstanding warrants for failing to register as a sex offender and for violating probation.

CORRECTIONS Officer of the Quarter: Sergeant Detention Deputy Anne Sweeney, who works at the Stock Island Detention Center, began her career with the MCSO in December 1996.

Over 15 years ago a man named Franklin Townsend sodomized a child in California. Townsend served 12 years in a California prison.  Upon release, he went to Montana where he failed to register as a sex offender.  He began committing burglaries and fled to Key West when he learned that he was going to be arrested.

Shortly after moving to Key West, Townsend became a suspect in a burglary at his place of employment.  When detectives from the Key West Police Department questioned Townsend, they learned of an outstanding warrant for Franklin Townsend’s arrest in Montana for a violation of his probation for failing to register as a sex offender.  Townsend identified himself as Frederick Townsend and insisted that it was his twin brother Franklin, not him, who was wanted by the police.  Townsend was arrested on the warrant and brought to our jail.

Townsend immediately began proclaiming his innocence and demanded his release.  He berated the system for placing an innocent man in jail.  He insisted that his twin brother was the guilty man, but would not offer any information to anyone, including his own attorney, about his brother, his family or his past so his claims could be confirmed or refuted.

KWPD Detective Diane Lipinski received a court order for Townsend’s DNA and came to the jail to get the sample.  Detective Lipinski told Sgt. Sweeney Townsend’s story and asked for her help in gaining any information about Townsend’s past, in particular, his place of birth and family history so his identify could be confirmed.

Sgt. Sweeney, in her typical wise-guy Bronx style, engaged Townsend in casual conversation while taking him between his cell and Intake.  Within a matter of minutes, Sgt. Sweeney learned that Townsend was a twin, had been born and raised in Mt. Clemens, Michigan and had left Michigan for the Army after graduating from high school.

Using the information obtained by Sgt. Sweeney, Detective Lipinski and Detective Young from the Michigan State Police learned that the man who claimed to be Frederick Townsend was, in fact, Franklin Townsend.  Franklin had been using his twin brother, Frederick’s, identification for over 15 years.  The real Frederick Townsend had never been arrested and had never left the state of Michigan.  Franklin had phony driver’s licenses in six states.  He had been arrested for drunk driving using another brother’s, Charles’, identification.  He even married a woman using the name Charles Townsend.

Franklin has been criminally charged under his correct identity.  He currently faces up to 40 months in a Florida state prison and may be charged under the new federal Adam Walsh law that allows sex offenders who flee across state lines to receive up to 15 years in prison.

None of this would have been possible if it had not been for Sgt. Sweeney talking with Townsend and getting the crucial information that allowed the detectives to explore Townsend’s past.

COMMUNICATIONS Officer of the Quarter: Communications Officer Carolina Diesen began her career with the MCSO in July 2003.  Carolina was outstanding in handling the phone call regarding the Key Largo murder of Maria Proenza.  The caller was Spanish speaking and Carolina speaks Spanish, which was a great benefit when handling the call. Carolina remained calm and professional throughout the call and was able to relay crucial information to deputies en route to the call.

SUPPORT Employee of the Quarter: Detention Records Supervisor William Dor began his career with the MCSO in August 2004.  He is an outstanding employee, very hard worker, a team player who goes above and beyond his duties.

During the time when Jail Records had a personnel shortage of personnel William was always ready to pitch in and help. Every time he was called to fill in, even at the last minute, he would agree readily and he never once complained.  He even claled on a daily basis to see if anyone needed help.

When Intake and Release was renovated, William called on again for his physical strength.  He helped with lifting, moving equipment, running wires under the carpet or whatever he needed to do.

As one of the more experienced Records Clerks William has been called upon by Lt. Age and Detention Records Supervisor Beverly Greene to help train new Detention Deputies and every one of them has said William is an excellent trainer and a good person to work with.

More than anything, William consistently shows his devotion to his job and his willingness to do whatever is asked of him.  He is a great asset to the Monroe County Sheriff’s office.

RESERVE Deputy of the Quarter: Auxiliary Support Reserve Deputy Richard Daniel Zieg began his career with the MCSO in May 2004.  Dan has been instrumental in assisting with the care of and maintenance of the command post.  This is a complicated piece of equipment Dan took the time to learn about so he would be able to operate and maintain it properly. Dan routinely conducts inspections of the command post and takes pride in making sure the equipment is clean and in working order.  He is a true asset to the reserve program and this agency.

EXPLORER of the Quarter: Cadet Andrea Rainer has been an Explorer for over four years.  Andrea has shown true leadership abilities during the last two Delegates conferences as well as the last Explorer Boot Camp.  

Explorer Rainer took the role of Captain at the March Delegates conference, the Spring Boot Camp and the June State Delegates conference.  Her responsibilities included making sure all Explorers know the rules for the trip, had all their equipment ready for whatever the day or days required, and she helped new Explorers get acquainted with others from around the state during these events.  Explorer Rainer also had the responsibility of casting the votes for Monroe County during the recent F.S.E.A. state board elections.  She had to attend meetings and listen to speeches presented by the nominees, report back to the post discussing the information presented and come to a consensus as to whom should be on the board.  Explorer Rainer also helped and supported her fellow explorers during competitions at the State Delegates in June.

November 5, 2007

Libraries and Sheriff’s Office team up on Operation Identification

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Public Libraries are partnering for a community crime prevention program designed to discourage theft and help recover stolen or lost property. The Sheriff’s Office has provided engraving tools to all local libraries as part of “Operation Identification”, a nationwide campaign.

Criminals do not like to handle easily identifiable items, as it greatly increases their chance of being detected, and makes "fencing" such items considerably more difficult. Engraving property with a driver’s license number helps law enforcement find the owners of stolen property.

“Partnering with the Public Libraries on this project extends our reach into the community. I urge residents to check out the engraving tools we have provided. Marking valuables can deter a criminal and in case something is stolen, can  quickly reunite possessions with their owners,” said Sheriff Rick Roth. The Sheriff’s Office suggests engraving valuables such as televisions, DVD players, GPS units, bicycles, stereos, even specialty tire rims, with a driver’s license number, followed by “FL” for Florida.

Engraving tools are also available through the Sheriff’s Office Community Relations Division. Crime Watch Coordinator Deputy Emil LaVache is a long time believer in Operation Identification. He also has special invisible marking pens which allow people to mark items which cannot be engraved. Items such as jewelry and china should be photographed with a complete description written on the back of the photograph for reference.  Operation Identification also recommends people write down serial numbers of valuable property, along with a complete description, and keep the property list in a safe place. Stolen property can be more easily entered into law enforcement databases if serial numbers are readily available at the time of the theft. An Operation Identification form can be found on the Sheriff’s Office web site at

Deputy LaVache is also available to perform free residential security surveys at people’s homes. During the survey, he will inspect the property and make suggestions for how the property owner can make his or home more safe and secure. A Do-it-Yourself Security Survey is also available on the Sheriff’s web site at

Library card holders can check out the engraving kits at all 5 community libraries. For library locations and hours, visit their website at

Sheriff's Animal Farm open this Sunday

Note: The farm will only be open one Sunday in November - November 11th; in December, the farm will only be open one Sunday for it's Annual Christmas at the Animal Farm, scheduled for December 16th.

The Sheriff's Office Animal Farm will be open to the public this Sunday, November 11th, 2007, between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome to visit, free of charge, and see the wide variety of animals at the park, including tropical birds, snakes, ferrets, rabbits, horses, ponies, a llama, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, an 100 pound tortoise and more. 

The Children's Animal Farm is located at the Stock Island Detention Center, just off of College Road. It is open to the public on the second and fourth Sunday of every month. Groups may make special arrangements to visit the farm as well. Call the Sheriff's Office Detention Center at 305-293-7300 to schedule a visit.

November 2, 2007

Crime Stoppers awards three tipsters for information leading to arrests

The Crime Stoppers Board of Directors has voted to pay three rewards to tipsters whose information led to arrests recently.

On October 23rd, a tipster called the Sheriff’s Office to report that 36 year old Jonathan Love was at a business on Stock Island. Love was wanted for felony battery in Pinellas County and for violation of probation in Georgia. He was picked up by Deputy Kim Trullender and was booked into jail. The tipster will receive $250 for the information.

On October 29th, a tipster reported that 35 year old James Henry was on Sugarloaf Key. Henry was wanted in Monroe County for violation of probation ref. fraud. He was picked up by Deputy John Gabay and was booked into jail on the charges. The tipster will receive $225 for the information.

On October 31st, a tipster gave the location of 39 year old Shawn Beehler, wanted for failure to appear in court for driving with his license expired. Beehler was spotted near the 106 mile marker of the highway driving a Ford F150 pickup truck and was pulled over by Sgt. Eric Mixon. Beehler was charged with the warrant, with driving with his license suspended and with altering the decal on his license plate. He was booked into jail. The tipster will receive $125 for the information.

Notice of Grant Funding Opportunity- 2008: Sheriff’s Shared Asset Forfeiture Fund

                Grant funding is available to non-profit organizations operating in Monroe County for projects relating to:

                Grant applications and instructions are available on the Sheriff’s web site at and at these locations:

Sheriff’s Substations on Plantation Key, Islamorada, Marathon, and Cudjoe Key, and at the Administrative Headquarters, 5525 College Road on Stock Island.

Monroe County Public Library Branches:

City offices:

County offices:

The Grant application deadline is noon, Friday, February  8, 2008.

November 1, 2007

Sheriff’s Office talks safety at Montessori School

Click here for photos of the event

Islamorada - October was safety month at Montessori School in Islamorada. On October 31, 2007 members of the Sheriff’s Office went to Montessori School to talk to kids about everything from respecting one another to gun safety.

Over 150 kids were at the event, from kindergarten to sixth grade. All of them received a gift bag put together by Crime Watch Coordinator Deputy Emil LaVache containing safety information coloring books and crayons. In addition to Deputy LaVache, officers from the Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, Traffic Enforcement Unit, Marine Unit, Road Patrol, Victim Advocates and a K-9 team were on hand. The kids were able to interact with the officers and see some of the specialized equipment they use to do their jobs.

Deputy LaVache kept the kids motivated with his powerful presentation on stranger danger, but the star of the show was K-9 Tracer and his handler, Deputy Ken Fricke. The K-9 Team put on a demonstration that kept the kids interested and kept them laughing. Dive team members Detective Mark Coleman and Detective Terry Smith set up some of the dive teams equipment and gave the kids a hands on demonstration. Deputy Paul Kupke from the Islamorada Marine Unit was on hand with his vessel showing off some of the boats electronics and talking about boating safety. Deputy Andrew Leird and Deputy Julio Alvarez from the Traffic Enforcement Unit were on hand with their motorcycles.