Press Releases - May 2009
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May 8, 2009
SWAT team visits Poinciana School today
Swearing in New Troops
May 5, 2009
Sheriff’s Office honors Employees of the Quarter
On May 1st, employees from the Sheriff’s Office gathered in Marathon to honor those chosen to receive the Employee of the Quarter Awards for the first quarter of 2009. The following employees were chosen for the honor:
SWORN Officer of the Quarter: Deputy Deborah Ryan resumed her career with the Sheriff’s Office in October 2007.
Making that extra effort is what it took to break the back of an active group of young burglars responsible for nearly a score of auto break-ins in the early morning hours of January 19, 2009.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a suspicious vehicle in the quiet West Indies Drive area of Ramrod Key. An alert neighbor, out for a walk, saw the vehicle in the area followed by the sound of what turned out to be the sliding door of a van being opened. The witness then saw darkened figures jump into what he described to be a red Ford Explorer and drive off.
Within minutes, Dep. Ryan responded and began to canvass the area. What appeared to be an auto burglary was confirmed by the owner of the van who indicated at least a dozen expensive fishing rods and reels had been taken.
At about that same time, Dep. Ryan located a parked SUV matching the witness description of the suspect vehicle parked in a drive on St Vincent Lane. She determined the engine was still warm and through the window, located numerous fishing poles among other expensive items, including a radio belonging to a ranking member of the county fire department. An area search by Dep. Ryan, Sgt. Tom Walker and Florida Highway Patrol Corporal Gary Dunnick, resulted in one adult and two juvenile suspects found concealing themselves on the deck of a pontoon boat moored in the darkness at the rear of the residence.
It was then the real investigation began, such as evidence processing and organizing the morass of paperwork. Once the suspects were secured, Dep. Ryan remained on scene with Detective Juan Llera well into the morning hours as it was only then other residents of the area awoke to discover they too had been victimized. Once finished, she returned to the Cudjoe substation and continued throughout the following hours with even more reporting as well as assisting the detectives with the suspect interviews.
This case, initiated by Dep. Ryan, resulted in at least 19 felony charges filed against the adult, charges against the juveniles and the eventual round-up of a fourth suspect. In summation, a deputy with lesser experience might have simply kept driving by the suspect vehicle as it appeared so non-descript. However, you made the extra effort to confirm a suspicion only a law enforcement officer of significant tenure develops through years of training and experience.
CORRECTIONS Officer of the Quarter: Detention Deputy Alvarez Rice began her career with the Sheriff’s Office in October 2005.
Officer Rice was on B-watch when Sgt. Katz came to the shift August of 2008. Sgt. Katz realized early on the shift had tremendous respect for her and listened when she spoke. Officer Rice had more knowledge of intake procedures than anyone on the shift.
Rice is also instrumental in getting shift Officers to celebrate holidays and birthdays together. Rice is usually the only officer who calls around to make sure everybody participates and has a great time. These “extra-curricular” activities bring the shift closer together, ensuring they “know” each other in addition to working together.
Rice handles all training bulletins for B-watch and briefs the shift to make sure they are aware of them. Rice also ensures all officers know about required accreditation standards, making sure all are aware of those needing improvement.
Rice volunteered to work Intake and Release and agreed to rove for three months. During this time, she showed tremendous initiative by running intake without assistance. She taught several officers intake procedures and, when working, she always makes sure to check confinement sheets, complete affidavits, serve warrants, complete DNA on inmates and always remains security conscious.
All of these efforts have made the working environment at the main detention facility more professional and more pleasant for everyone. She is to be commended for her hard work and for setting a tremendous example for others at all times.
SUPPORT Employee of the Quarter: Thomas O’Dea is the Director of Maintenance in the Aviation Division. He began his career with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in June 2006.
On January 29, 2009 the Monroe County Trauma Star helicopter had to have a mandatory 1200-hour inspection. Director O’Dea took several months researching the required maintenance to be performed and the procedures for the inspection. He conferred with the aircraft manufacturer, Sikorsky, and the Federal Aviation Administration and excelled in analyzing and adjusting work procedures for maximum efficiency during the inspection period.
Director O’Dea anticipated and procured the required parts, tools and components ahead of time and was able to complete the inspection with minimum down time. Due to his careful planning, Trauma Star was returned to work much more quickly than originally anticipated.
Utilizing all available people and resources, the helicopter was completely disassembled within just two days except for the main fuselage and the tail boom. As the disassembly of the helicopter was underway, major problems surfaced almost immediately that required attention to detail. He was methodical in problem solving during both the disassembly and the subsequent re-assembly of the helicopter.
Tom also made outstanding judgment calls on financial decisions. He effectively controlled costs by managing personnel hours, and by rebuilding some critical components and equipment. This saved Monroe County taxpayers over $104,000.00 dollars.
This obvious dedication to his job, to the mission of Trauma Star and his consideration for the fiscal responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office make Director O’Dea an obvious choice for Support Employee of the Quarter.
RESERVE Deputy of the Quarter: Reserve Deputy Isaac Valdes has been an active Reserve since November 2008.
The Special Investigations Division is charged with actively investigating narcotics cases and other types of investigations. Some of those investigations are enhanced by the use of the Sheriff’s Inmate monitoring system. It is difficult, however, to dedicate the time required to monitor inmate activity. Reserve Deputy Valdes has helped many investigations by spending that required time.
He has been instrumental in gathering and passing on information relevant to investigations involving inmates. He has contributed information in the suspicious death of a baby, in narcotics investigations and in investigations regarding breaches of trustee security at the jail facilities, just to name a few.
Reserve Dep. Valdes contributes in many other ways, including assisting with transcripts and providing intelligence to the Special Operations Unit. The Reserve Program is a vital part of our agency and it is officers like Valdes that make it a successful part of our agency.
Time for Click it or Ticket
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in the State wide “Click it or Ticket” campaign coming up May 18th through May 31st. During this time period, there will be extra enforcement throughout the Florida keys for this violation.
At any time of the year, the Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance policy for not wearing a seat belt or for not properly buckling up children. If you are stopped and you are not wearing one, there will be no warnings issued; you will get a ticket. If an officer sees someone in a car who is under 18 years of age who is not wearing a seatbelt, it is a primary violation, There doesn’t have to be any other violation to make the stop under those circumstances and the fine amount is a costly $101.00.
So, stay safe and buckle up. It makes sense, and it is the law.
May 5, 2009
Bring Mom to the Animal Farm for Mother’s Day Sunday
Make Mother’s Day special this Sunday and bring mom to the Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm for a beautiful afternoon with the animals.
The Animal Farm will be open May 10th between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m. This will be the only open house at the Animal Farm for the month of May.
Everyone is welcome to visit, free of charge, and see the wide variety of animals at the farm.
The Animal Farm has many wonderful animals, including traditional farm animals, tropical animals and birds - something for everyone!
Visit with Piglet, a baby pig who just loves to be petted; Eeyore the Donkey who also loves human attention; two female sheep, both of which have lambs with them who were born recently; a bull calf and a wonderfully friendly blind horse, There is Tina the Key Deer who continues to grow and loves to visit with children and adults alike and there are, as always, tropical birds, snakes, ferrets, rabbits, horses, ponies, a llama, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, a 100 pound tortoise, an Emu, an Albino Hedgehog, Patagonian Cavys and more! New additions include a Kinkajou and a two Sloths, all natives of the Costa Rican rain forest.
The Children's Animal Farm is located at the Stock Island Detention Center, just off of College Road. Groups may make special arrangements to visit the farm. Call the Sheriff's Office Detention Center at 305-293-7300 to schedule a visit.