November 21, 2008

Toyz for Keyz Kidz collecting toys from Stock Island to Key Largo

Some of the toys collected in last year's drive

Sheriff’s Office employees are beginning  their yearly effort to collect toys for needy kids in the Keys this Christmas season.

They have named their effort “Toyz for Keyz Kidz”, and they are collecting unwrapped new toys and monetary donations. The donations and toys can be dropped off at Sheriff’s Substations on Cudjoe Key, in Marathon, Islamorada and Plantation Key as well as at the Sheriff’s Headquarters building on Stock Island. All proceeds will benefit needy Monroe County kids age 0 – 17 this Christmas.

Toys and donations should be dropped off prior to Monday, December 15th. Last Christmas season, hundreds of families benefited this toy drive.

Marine patrol deputies take to bikes in Islamorada

Islamorada – Marine patrol deputies in Islamorada are trying something new: when the weather isn’t conducive to patrolling on the water, they will be riding bikes patrolling local greenways and bridges in the Islamorada area.

Deputies Nelson Sanchez and Paul Kupke are assigned as full time Marine Patrol Deputies in Islamorada. But what happens when the wind kicks up or the weather precludes them from taking their boats out on the water? Captain Don Fanelli put that question to the two officers and asked them to come up with a productive activity which would complement their normal duties. The deputies suggested bike patrol on bridges in the area and on greenways between those bridges.

On bike patrol the deputies spend time educating the community and visitors on the laws which govern the new Overseas Heritage Trail and with other issues in these areas such as camping violations, illegal dumping and fishing and other resource violations. Fines for these violations range from $100 to $500. One example: the possession of alcoholic beverages within the boundaries of the Heritage Trail can bring a fine of $250.00 to the violator.

Deputies Sanchez and Kupke are riding the trail and bridges and talking to people about these laws. They are primarily looking to educate the public and for voluntary compliance. Enforcement is considered a last resort. They will issue warnings, for the most part, depending on the nature of the violation. Repeat offenders won’t be so lucky.

Sheriff Roth honors Employees of the Quarter

Employees of the Third Quarter of 2008 and people receiving longevity awards were honored at a ceremony held recently at the Marathon Government Center. Sheriff Rick Roth thanked employees receiving the awards for their hard work and dedication to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

In the attached picture, employees of the quarter included, left to right: Detention Deputy Debra Brown; Support employee Myron Schwartz, Work Release Specialist; Deputy Kenneth Baker, Sector 7 Road Patrol and Sheriff Rick Roth. Not pictured: Reserve Deputy Frank Delgado and Explorer Andrea Ranier. Click here for more information about the individual award recipients and what they did to receive the award.

Sheriff’s Office Explorers go to Training Camp

Explorers from around the state learn teamwork in this particular exercise

In October, Sheriff’s Office Explorers attended a Florida Explorer Training Camp along with School Resource Officer Deputy Beverly Brazil. The training camp, which is held twice a year,  is run by volunteer law enforcement officers from around the state, including Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Tom Kiffney and Deputy Brazil. It was held at the Florida Elks Youth Ranch in Umatilla, Florida. teaches confidence building, teamwork, leadership skills and other law enforcement related training.

The group Science on Patrol was on hand to teach the kids about the forensic sciences; Explorers extracted DNA from strawberries, learned about forensic dental identification and blood spatter analysis as well and the effects of alcohol on the human body.

November 20, 2008

Mark your calendars - Christmas on the Animal Farm is coming up!

The Sheriff's Office will be holding it's annual Christmas Party on the Animal Farm in December. The event is free of charge and kids and adults alike will love visiting with the animals, talking to Santa and celebrating the holiday season.

The Christmas party is scheduled for Sunday, December 14th from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. The farm will be decorated for the season and Santa will be on hand, available for photos. He'd love to hear whether you've been naughty or nice and what you want him to bring for Christmas.

Visit with all the animals, including Tina the Key Deer, Piglet, Wilbur, Eeyore the donkey, Albert the African spurred tortoise, all the residents of the ferret house, Bucky the Llama,  our tropical birds, snakes, goats, sheep, horses and much, much more.

December 14th will be the only open house for the animal farm for the month. To schedule private visits or to find out more about the Children's Animal Farm, contact Farm Supervisor Jeanne Selander at 305-293-7331.

November 4, 2008

Sheriff’s Office holds Safety Day in Islamorada

Kids at Islamorada's Montessori School learn about abductions and stranger danger.

See more photos of this event

The Sheriff’s Islamorada Sector held its second annual Safety Day for the Montessori School in Islamorada last week.

On Friday, 15 officers from the Sheriff’s Office were on hand to teach over 170 students about safety on a variety of fronts.

Because the event fell on Halloween, School Resource Deputy Beverly Brazil talked about Halloween safety, followed by Victim Advocate Debbie Shepherd talking about Stranger Danger.  Sgt. Mike DiGiovanni, a member of the Sheriff’s Bomb Squad, talked about suspicious packages; Lt. Tom Brazil showed kids a Taser and demonstrated the device for them.

The Special Weapons and Tactics Team was on hand to show kids how they take down a dangerous subject in a traffic stop; Deputy Ken Fricke and his dog Tracer showed off Tracer’s agility and his amazing sense of smell; Trauma Star flew in and gave kids tours of the helicopter, then showed them what it is really all about by responding to the scene of an accident requiring an air lift that just happened to take place nearby while the event was going on. The Sheriff’s Dive Team was there with their equipment, talking about dive safety and how they do a grid search underwater. The Traffic Enforcement Unit showed off their motorcycles and allowed kids to be photographed on them.

All in all, the event was a big hit and all the kids left with a better idea of how to stay safe, and how law enforcement officers keep them safe as well.