March 24, 2008

Left to right, Sgt. Mike Digiovanni, Sgt. Dave Carey and Sgt. Derek Paul

New sergeants in the upper Keys

The Sheriff’s Office has promoted two new sergeants in its Sector Seven patrol area, which runs from Tavernier to north Key Largo. Congratulations go out to newly promoted Sergeants Derek Paul and Mike Digiovanni. In addition, Sergeant Dave Carey has transferred from Road Patrol Sergeant to Sergeant in charge of the Sector’s Criminal Investigative Unit.

March 20, 2008

Sobriety Checkpoint planned April 4th in Islamorada

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be operating a sobriety checkpoint Friday, April 4th in the vicinity of the 90 mile marker of U.S. One in Islamorada. The checkpoint will start at 10 p.m. and will run to approximately 3 a.m. the following morning. Officers on the scene will be pulling cars over to the side of the road and checking drivers for impairment. They will also check for outstanding warrants, and check vehicles for properly operating safety equipment. Assisting with the operation will be Sheriff’s Office Reserve deputies, Sheriff’s Traffic Enforcement deputies, the Florida Highway Patrol and the city of Miami Police Department

March 14, 2008

Sheriff’s Office checks Sex Offender locations

Monroe County – Over a three day period, the Sheriff’s Crimes Against Women and Children’s Unit checked on 41 sexual offenders living in the Florida Keys.

The checks, which are done quarterly, confirm that the offenders are still living in the location under which they are registered. Detectives from the CAWCU Unit keep track of those offenders in the Keys who are not currently on probation with the State Office of Probation and Parole. On March 11th, they checked offenders in the lower Keys; on the 12th they checked those living in Marathon and on the 13th they checked offenders in the upper Keys. They checked on a total of 41 offenders in all. Out of that number, they are rechecking eight who had some kind of irregularity in their records which bears closer scrutiny. If any are found to have “absconded”, or failed to properly register their place of residence, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

If you would like to know more about the state of Florida’s laws requiring the registration of sexual offenders and predators, or if you would like to view offenders and predators in your county, city or neighborhood, you can visit the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s web site at

March 11, 2008

Traffic Enforcement initiative in Islamorada successful, so far

Captain Donnie Fanelli, Sector Commander in Islamorada, says the traffic enforcement initiative announced in February for Islamorada has been productive and successful so far. He plans to continue with the program, targeting speeders on the old highway, running stop signs and other violations in the Islamorada area.

In February, Captain Fanelli announced his deputies, and traffic enforcement officers working in Islamorada, would begin concentrating on a few areas that have drawn numerous complaints from residents.

“I’ve received numerous calls from people about the increase in traffic, and about some specific traffic related issues in Islamorada right now,” he said. “Specifically, in response to complaints, I’m asking my officers to pay close attention to speeding on the old highway, running stop signs near Coral Shores High School and in the area of Venetian Shores”.  In addition, during tourist season, there is always an increase in people passing in no passing zones – particularly in the middle turn lane that runs through Islamorada - and speeding in general, so those violations also became areas of concentration for deputies on patrol.

So far, he says, the initiative has resulted in 71 citations for speeding, 12 warnings issued for various offenses, two criminal citations, two physical arrests and 1 towed vehicle.

“I believe our efforts have made a difference,” he said. “People know we’re out there and are less likely to disobey traffic laws because of it. We will continue our efforts, particularly now during this heavy traffic season. It is important for everyone to pay attention to traffic safety because the sheer volume of cars on the highway makes it truly dangerous not to,” he said.

March 11, 2008

In the photo, left to right: Reserve Deputy Robert Guhl,
Communications Officer Joni Greene, SRO Deputy Sonya Morgan,
Farm Specialist Jeanne Selander, Cadet James Aurelio,
Detention Sgt. Jonathan Crane and Sheriff Rick Roth.

Sheriff honors Employees of the Year for 2007

On Friday, March 7th, the Sheriff's Office held a ceremony to honor its Employees of the Year for 2007 at the Marathon Government Center Commission Chambers.

The Employees of the Year are chosen from all of those who received one of the Sheriff’s Employee of the Quarter awards throughout the past year.

"The people chosen to be Employees of the Year are truly the best of the best – they have proven themselves to be outstanding employees, as well as outstanding contributors to the community they serve," said Sheriff Rick Roth.

The yearly award winners received a special plaque from the Sheriff in recognition of their exemplary work, and a badge to wear on their uniforms with the designation "Officer (or Employee) of the Year". In addition, they each receive a check for $500.00 donated by TIB Bank, and $1,000.00 from the Sheriff’s Office. The Cadet of the year receives $100.00 from TIB Bank, with a matching amount from the Sheriff’s Office.

The Cormier Memorial Award, given to the Sheriff’s Office Sworn Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, is named for Deputy David Cormier, a Sheriff’s reserve officer killed in the line of duty in a traffic accident in November of 1989. Members of the Cormier family attend the ceremony each year in memory of their loved one who gave his life in service to the community.

SWORN: Deputy Sonya Morgan began her career with the MCSO in August 2000.  Deputy Morgan continually excels at her every day duties as an SRO but on at least two occasions during this past quarter Deputy Morgan went above and beyond what would be expected of a deputy.

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.  Realizing 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.  Taking the time and initiative to track down the juvenile, Deputy Morgan followed leads on Big Pine Key.  While most people had made the assumption the juvenile was staying with a local family, Deputy Morgan 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 en route 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.

Deputy Morgan’s actions and dedication to duty are those we try to instill in all of our officers.  She went out of her way to follow up on events she instinctually felt were not right, and pursued them to the end.  With the juvenile runaway off the streets of Big Pine and back home where he belongs, hopefully he will get the help he deserves. 
Deputy Morgan’s actions will also no doubt help prevent crime on Big Pine, as this individual is suspected to have committed at least one burglary in that area while trying to survive on the streets.  The sex offender’s motives may never be known, but the fact that he was staying that close to a grade school is unsettling to say the least.  There is no doubt his behavior, combined with his obvious desire to stay anonymous by failing to register as a sex offender, indicate his intentions were not innocent.

CORRECTIONS: Detention Sergeant Jonathan Crane began his career with the MCSO in April 1998.  Sergeant Crane has established himself as an extremely reliable and dependable leader.  The Sheriff’s Office receives dividends from his work products daily.  Within the last quarter:

1)    Sergeant Crane cultivated information from a confidential informant within the jail.  Sergeant Crane obtained the first critical piece of information from the informant describing how a former employee was smuggling contraband into the facility to give to an inmate.  He then diligently searched through hours of videotaped images to locate the crucial images that sustained the information.   On the day of the arrest, Sergeant Crane received the information that a “drop” (of tobacco) was going to occur in Unit Bravo.  He took decisive action that led to the arrest and the recovery of evidence.  He assisted with the interrogation of the suspect.  He then spent over an hour hand writing all the call history in the employee’s cell phone to help prove the conspiracy case against the inmate involved.  His thoroughly prepared reports led to a successful prosecution.

2)    Sergeant Crane spent over two hours talking with a mentally ill inmate who had climbed onto the fencing in Unit Alpha.  Initially, the inmate enjoyed all the attention and refused to come down off the fence.  Sergeant Crane effectively used the rapport he had developed with the inmate through several previous conversations with the inmate.  Sergeant Crane talked the inmate into coming down off the fence.  However, when the inmate tried to come down off the fence, he physically “froze” and was unable to move.  It became apparent that the inmate wanted to come down, but could not make himself move for fear of falling. Sergeant Crane climbed onto the fencing and helped the scared young man maneuver on the fencing so he could safely climb down.

3)    Sergeant Crane was just selected to serve as a member of the training committee for the Florida Police and Corrections (FLA-TAC) accreditation coalition.  Sergeant Crane has been a corrections assessor for about one year and has already been recognized by his peers around the state as a “leader you go to when you need to get it done.”

SUPPORT: Animal Farm/Landscaping Specialist Jeanne Selander began her career with the MCSO in September 2006.  From day one Ms. Selander has gone above and beyond, giving it her all to do the best job for the agency, animals and community.  Ms. Selander has overhauled the farm and has taken upon herself of replacing all of the garden rocks on the grounds.

Ms. Selander has worked very hard to promote the farm and make it available to the community.  There has been an increase in the number of visitors visiting the farm on a regular basis. During her time here she has made the front page of several newspapers with photo’s and articles about the farm and her work.  Recently Ms. Selander and the Sheriff were featured in a national law enforcement publication about the farm.

COMMUNICATIONS: Communications Officer Joni Greene began her career with the MCSO in September 2006.   received a 911 call from security of a fight and shots fired at Key Largo Ocean Resorts. While landline with security, dispatch received another 911 call. The second call was from the victim’s nine year old daughter. The call was taken by Joni who calmed the child down and got information necessary for the deputies enroute to the scene. Joni kept the child on the phone for several minutes until the deputies took arrival. She kept reassuring the child help was on the way. Joni kept calm which in turn kept the child calm. Joni did an outstanding job at handling a very intense and difficult situation.

RESERVE: Auxiliary Support Reserve Deputy  Robert Guhl began his career with the MCSO in August of 2005.  Bob’s primary assignment has been to the MCSO Dive Team, to which he has applied his skills as a professional diver to the vast majority of the team call-outs.  As an example,   he recently responded from Key West as one the primary divers in the recovery of lives lost on the wreck of the Spiegel Grove off Key Largo.
Beyond this, Bob has enthusiastically participated in other aspects of the Reserve Program, turning out for many special details and becoming one of the first Sector I uncertified reserves to participate in traffic control training.  Most notable in the last Quarter has been Mr. Guhl’s role in creating the multi-agency Florida Keys Safe Diving Initiative, a public education program developed to mitigate scuba diving facilities in the Florida Keys.  Bob, representing both the MCSO and the FKCC Marine Public Safety Program, created hosted a Lobster Diving Rodeo and Exposition  presented by all of the Marine Public Safety Agencies in the Florida Keys before last year’s mini-season. 

EXPLORER: Cadet James Aurelio has been an Explorer for over five years.  Jimmy Aurelio is a dedicated Explorer who plans for a law enforcement career when he completes his education.

Jimmy has logged numerous hours volunteering with members of the road patrol division in the Upper Keys. He takes the lead at times when no one else seems to step up.  At a recent Delegates Conference he made sure that the other explorers knew where to go for various events.  He helped the advisors and other explorers bring their luggage to their rooms. While at the conference, Jimmy showed true pride for his agency and was clearly proud to tell people which agency he is with.
Jimmy was also one of several Explorers and Cadets who volunteered time practicing the flag ceremony and presentation of colors at the DARE Graduation at Plantation Key School on December 12, 2007.  Jimmy demonstrates a true and sincere interest in law enforcement, asking questions and desiring to learn all aspects of the job.  Jimmy is the type of person who would do anything for a fellow officer or a fellow explorer, and the agency is lucky to have him.

March 10, 2008

Easter Event at the Farm scheduled for March 16th

Farmer Jeanne Selander would like to remind everyone of the annual Easter on the Animal Farm event, coming up March 16th from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

Mark your calendar now and don’t miss this opportunity to spend the day with the animals, hunt for Easter eggs on the farm and have your child’s photo taken with the Easter Bunny! The Egg Hunt is always very popular and will start right at 1 p.m. so make sure you are there on time, with an Easter basket in hand, if your child would like to hunt for eggs. Because of the Easter event, March 16th is the only day in that month when the farm will be open.

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. 

There are some new additions at the farm to visit. Farmer Selander recently acquired a baby Albino Hedgehog that is as cute as can be, although he is still a little shy around people, and a baby Emu chick which just arrived and is sure to be a big hit. In addition, the Cavys at the farm have moved out of the Aviary and are now housed in their very own habitat, making it easier to view their activities.

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.