April 24, 2008

Sheriff’s Traffic Enforcement Unit receives awards

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recently recognized the Sheriff’s Office and the Sheriff’s Traffic Enforcement Unit for “Commitment to DUI Enforcement”. In the photo, Deputy Luis Blasco (left) and Deputy Jason Keith accepted the awards at a recent ceremony. The awards were to the entire Traffic Unit which received the “DUI Enforcement Unit” award; the Sheriff’s Office which received the “Agency Award” and to Deputy Blasco who received an award for “Outstanding Activision for Education and Enforcement”.

New faces in the upper Keys Detective Division

There have been recent changes in the Sheriff’s Office upper Keys Detective Division. Detective Sergeant Dave Carey welcomes, left to right:

Bike event to effect traffic in Key Largo May 3rd and 4th

An annual bike event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 3rd and 4th, 2008 is expected to cause traffic delays in the upper Keys. Travelers should plan extra time if they are going to be driving through the Key Largo area on those days.

Lt. Corey Bryan is coordinating security for the event, which is expected to attract 2,700 bicyclers to the upper Keys. Event organizers pay for officers to work the special duty detail.

He says the Maroone MS 150 Bike Tour, which raises money for Multiple Sclerosis, usually causes the most problems with traffic on Saturday afternoon, between noon and 5 p.m., but people will begin seeing bicyclers on Card Sound Road and in the Keys around 9 a.m. that day. Deputies working the event will be specifically stationed on Card Sound Road, and at the 106 and 102 mile markers of the highway.

The riders travel from Miami-Dade County on Card Sound Road, then on Highway U.S. One to John Pennekamp State Park. They leave the Keys the following Sunday morning, beginning at 7 a.m. and travelers can expect delays on that morning as well, until about 9:30 a.m. with heavy bike traffic on Card Sound Road until about 11 a.m.

April 15, 2008

Sheriff's Office sees 1.2% decrease in Major Crimes

Monroe County - Monroe County experienced a 1.2% decrease in major index crimes, according to statistics released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement recently. That decrease applies to all of Monroe County excluding the cities of Key West and Key Colony Beach. In addition, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office suceeded in clearing 24.6% of those crimes, a clearance rate two percent higher than the statewide clearance rate.

"We are happy to announce that crime continues it's downward trend in Monroe County," said Sheriff Rick Roth. "More importantly, we are showing an excellent clearance rate for those crimes, which shows our officers are effectively solving our major cases," he added. There are two ways to clear a case: by arrest, or "Cleared by Exception", which means an offender has been identified but there is something beyond the agency's control which keeps that offender from being arrested. An example would be that the offender is dead, extradition is denied, or the case involves a juvenile offender who cannot be charged for some reason.

The following chart shows the major index crimes tracked by FDLE, along with the numbers of crimes in Monroe County Sheriff's Office jurisdiction in 2006 and 2007:

Crime 2007 2006
Murder 3 0
Forcible Rape 8 15
Robbery 18 32
Aggravated Assault 224 200
Burglary 406 422
Larceny 1,435 1,454
Motor Vehicle Theft 123 122


Sheriff and YMCA hold "Healthy Kids Day"

Key Largo - The Sheriff's Office and the YMCA will be holding "Healthy Kids Day" and "Justice for Victims Day" April 27th at Key Largo Park.

The event will feature free food, beverages and Sno Cones. There will also be face painting and a Bounce House for kids. The Sheriff's Office will have various Special Units in attendance and kids will get to tour police vehicles and look at specialized police equipment. Also present for the event will be the Masonic Identification Trailer which will offer free fingerprint and DNA kits for kids.

Fun for the whole family and free to boot. Don't miss it, April 27th from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at Key Largo Park, mile marker 100 Bayside.

April 9, 2008

National Victim’s Rights Week

“National Victims’ Rights Week” is April 13 – 19. A time to honor victims, their families and those who serve them.  This year’s theme is “Justice for Victims, Justice for All”. That means there will be no justice for any of us if we don’t seek greater fairness for victims of crime.

As a symbolic gesture honoring all victims, the Sheriff’s Office will be holding a ceremony on April 16th at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters building on Stock Island. Sheriff’s Office Victim’s Advocates have placed a dinghy there belonging to murder victim Sherry Perisho, surrounded by a small memorial garden. Local businesses have made contributions which has enabled the Advocates  to paint and repair the boat as well as to help beautify the area of memorial. Sherry Perisho was brutally murdered in 1989 in her dingy off shore of Big Pine Key. Also, at 9 a.m. on that same date, Victims Advocates will be at the County Commission Meeting in Key West for the Proclamation of National Victim’s Rights Week.

If you are the victim of a crime in the State of Florida you are entitled to:

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office has Victim Advocates who assist victims’ and witnesses of crime navigate the criminal justice system. If you have any questions about victim rights, please call the following:

National Public Safety Telecommunicator's Week

April 11 - 17 is National Public Safety Telecommunicator's Week, a week when the public safety community, and those in the community who depend on public safety workers to keep them safe, take time out to give thanks to dispatchers who work behind the scenes to make sure the folks out in the field are safe.

Public Safety Dispatchers have one of the toughest, most stressful jobs. They deal with people in crisis on an almost constant basis, and must do it calmly and professionally. They are responsible for making sure law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics in the field have as much information as possible about the incidents they are responding to, for their own safety as well as for the safety of those needing assistance.

It is a weighty responsibility and, too often, they perform the job day in and day out without much recognition.  National Public Safety Telecommunicator's Week gives us all a chance to remedy that. If you know a public safety dispatcher, or work for a public safety agency, pick up the phone, write a letter - do something to let them know how much you appreciate the job they do.

The Sheriff's Office Communications Center in Marathon operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is on a 12 hour shift schedule. Communications Officers start at $36,000 a year, and there are currently positions open. To see further job requirements, or to apply to work for Sheriff's Office visit our web site at www.keysso.net.

The week is also a good time to educate people on the proper procedures to use when calling 911.

What to Expect when you call 911

911 is an emergency response service provided by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to assist the citizens of our county with receiving law enforcement, fire, and ambulance assistance during crisis times. Sheriff’s Office Communications Officers man special emergency phone lines 24 hours a day so that the citizens of Monroe County may receive help as expeditiously as possible. The Sheriff's Office answers these emergency phone lines county wide, excluding the city of Key West, and dispatches firefighters and paramedics in addition to law enforcement.

At the same time as they answer 911 calls, Sheriff' s Office Communications Officers also answer non- emergency calls on regular phone lines. Obviously, someone in a crisis situation will get assistance prior to someone calling with a non-emergency situation.

When Should You call 911?

 911 Emergency calls should be made only in cases such as a crime in progress, a fire, a medical emergency, or a similar immediately threatening case. A possible 911 situation can involve something you see - a burglar breaking in to a neighbor’s house, a fire, an automobile accident. It can also involve what you hear - a woman screaming or yelling "Don’t hit me again," gunfire, an explosion or glass breaking. Also, a suspected drunk driver is always a 911 call. They’re potential killers not only of themselves, but of innocent bystanders as well.

Before you call, gather as many facts as you can under the circumstances and write them down so you won’t forget them. Take a second look - a minute gathering more complete information may be worth the delay. If you are describing a person, important points include the race of the person, whether it is a male or a female, what the person is wearing, the color of his or her hair and any other outstanding characteristics. With a car description, a tag number is great if you can get it, and a report that the vehicle had a ladder on top or a dented left front fender is more useful than simply describing the vehicle as a "white van".

The job of the communications officer is to gather as much pertinent information relative to the situation as possible and to keep you on the phone if at all possible. This action better prepares deputies coming to your aid.

What to expect when you call 911

When you call 911 emergency lines, one of the first things you will be asked is "Is this an emergency? This question is a necessary one because unfortunately, some people do call 911 for non-emergencies. Communications Officers must often deal with 911 calls for directions, weather conditions or traffic information. This misuse of 911 is unacceptable, and has the potential of delaying true emergency calls.

Once it is established that you do have an emergency situation, the Communications Officer will ask you a series of questions in an effort to get enough information so he/she can send the proper assistance to you as soon as possible. Try to answer the questions as calmly and clearly as possible. Help will be sent to you right away, and the more cooperative you are over the phone, the faster that help will arrive. When you call 911, a computerized system will automatically tell the Communications Officer your address and phone number. If you have any special medical conditions you can register that information with the Sheriff’s Office and that information can be included in the system, and will be available to Communications officers when you call. The officer will continue to talk with you after help has been dispatched to you. The longer he/she can keep you on the phone and the more information that can be relayed to the responding deputy, ambulance or fire truck, the better and safer the situation is.

Communications officers in Monroe County are trained in Emergency Medical Dispatching. This means if you have a medical emergency, the Communications Officer will be able to assist you with initial treatment steps, such as performing CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver for choking victims, or other common medical emergencies.

Misuse of the 911 Emergency system

Unfortunately a substantial number of 911 calls received by MCSO Communications Officers are not of an emergency nature. If you are reporting a non-emergency situation such as a suspicious person, a previously stolen bike or a dog continually barking, 911 is not the proper number to call. The Sheriff’s Office offers non-emergency phone numbers for the reporting of such calls. Your call will still be handled appropriately, but this will allow true emergencies to be handled first.

Let me re-emphasize: 911 is for emergency calls only and is not equipped to answer questions, give directions, weather forecasts or road conditions. How would you like it if you had a real emergency and someone else was tying up the Communications Officer asking where the closest post office is? To report a non-emergency call, the following phone numbers may be called 24 hours a day:

For further information on the use of 911, call Crime Watch Coordinator Deputy Emil LaVache at 292-7116 or 1-800-273-COPS .

April 8, 2008

Sheriff's Animal Farm open this Sunday

The Sheriff's Office Animal Farm will be open to the public Sunday, April 13th, 2008, 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, a 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. Call the Sheriff's Office Detention Center at 305-293-7300 to schedule a visit.

Law Enforcement Torch Run Friday

Monroe County - Representatives from various local law enforcement agencies will be taking part this Friday in the 2008 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

The run, which will carry the torch from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Headquarters building on Stock Island all the way through town to the Southernmost Point and finally ending at Mallory Square, is an annual event to show law enforcement's support of and to raise awareness for the Special Olympics.

Though a law enforcement event, anyone is welcome to join in the run. Runners will stop at Publix, the major sponsor of the run statewide, Poinciana Elementary, Key West High, Horace O'Bryant Middle School and Glenn Archer School. At each school they will meet and briefly run with young Special Olympics Athletes from those schools.

The run is this Friday, April 11th with an 8:30 a.m. opening ceremony at the Sheriff's office on Stock Island and 9 a.m. start time. Anyone who needs more information can contact Coordinator Jim Painter at jpainter@keysso.net or 305-292-7027.
Every year, law enforcement officers from around the state participate in the run as a kick-off to the Florida Special Olympics Summer Games. This year's 35th Annual Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games are in Tampa, Florida on April 27-28. For more information on the run, Florida Special Olympics, and on participating agencies, go to:

Please come out and cheer the runners on for a good cause.

Note: in the past, parents have become concerned because they have received reports about fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency service vehicles present at the schools along the Torch Run route. These vehicles accompany the runners for visibility and so kids can see them and should in no way cause concern by their presence at the schools.

Sheriff’s Office Auctions off vehicles, and other items

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will sell a number of surplus vehicles and items by sealed bids. All bids must be received by no later than 10:00a.m. On April 17, 2008, at which time they will be opened publicly. A list of vehicles and items to be sold may be viewed at our www.keysso.net web site. Bidding instructions and required bid forms are available on the web site as well, or at the Sheriff’s Headquarters building in Key West, or by contacting:

Johnnie Yongue 305-293-7477
John Fowley 305-292-6832
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
5525 College Road
Key West, FL 33040

The property to be sold (EXCEPT the boat engines – see below) is open to public inspection at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters Building at 5525 College Road, Stock Island, Key West, FL at the following dates and times:

April 9, 2008 ---- 2:00 p.m. - 4:00p.m.

The boat engines are open to public inspection at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Aviation Hanger at 10100 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL on:

April 10, 2008 --- 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM.

The Sheriff’s Office makes no representation or guarantee regarding whether any item contains precious metal or precious or semi-precious stones, the authenticity of an item, the mechanical condition of any item (e.g. watches, vehicles) or any brand name.  All sales are as is, where is. All sales are final.