From arrests to clean-ups to traffic stops, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department always works to provide the best for the community

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the county.

Sheriff Ramsay has been named best elected official at the Best of Marathon event over the weekend.

He said, “I’ve been very blessed to have support from our citizens. It’s so nice to have the support, the friendship and more so the belief in me as the elected sheriff. When this occurs every year, it just continues to reinforce that people seem to be happy with the direction of the sheriff’s office with me as a leader in law enforcement. I work hard as you know, to try to be visible, be present, to have the finger on the pulse of what’s happening and try to go above and beyond. So it validates when I get this award. We have some really other great leaders for sure. I’m blessed to have that award. It was a really nice moment to receive that award and just continue to think that the citizens are happy with the services I’m providing to them. It means a lot to me, so thank you.”

Gilbert’s Resort is in the news quite a bit – it’s a popular spot for people from the mainland and South Miami-Dade. There were some disturbances there recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s a beautiful resort, the bar right on the water. So it is a nice complex, the owners do a great job. It is a very busy place that draws a heavy crowd from South Dade, from Homestead and Florida City, just a short jaunt, they can get this really cool place in the Keys. So with that, this is a bar with extensive drinking on weekends. Almost every weekend, we have some type of altercation there.”

This weekend a 38-year-old female from Dade County was drinking all day at Gilberts.

Sheriff Ramsay said she was “drinking to a drunken stupor, was becoming loud, yelling, screaming at the bar, was refusing a payer tab, was yelling racial slurs, was just really out of control. Management wanted her kicked off the property. My deputies came out there. We got her to finally pay and then we were escorting her off. While escorting her off, she reached into her purse and she grabbed a bottle of perfume. She turned around to the manager who was standing one side of her and the deputy on the other side and put the spray right in his eyes and sprayed perfume right in his eyes and then turned around to the deputy did the same thing. So both the manager and deputy had a blast of perfume right in their eyes, which can do a lot of damage and temporary blind you and can be very painful as one would imagine. So she became very agitated, combative and ultimately we had to arrest her for battery on a police officer and battery on a civilian manager and handcuffed her and put her in the car and take her to jail. So it’s a shame to see these stupid acts but these are people who just drink to excess. We tell people hey, go out have a good time, have a drink or two, fine, but know your limits on what you can control before you turn into Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and start making poor decisions which adversely impact the rest of your life.”

Another person from Homestead, FL, was arrested following a traffic stop where a loaded handgun and marijuana was discovered in possession of a convicted felon.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “When we come up to the car and when they roll down, you can smell the heavy smell of marijuana in the car. The driver did not have a medical marijuana card. The driver also had a suspended license. So subsequent to that, the search of the car did reveal marijuana. We identified individual was a convicted felon. We found a loaded nine millimeter handgun in the glovebox. So again, we think we’re stopping someone for a minor traffic violation and we’ve got a convicted felon who’s in possession of a firearm, who’s got drugs in the car, doesn’t have a driver’s license. Thank God no one got hurt, we’re able to arrest him. Hold him accountable. Get him off the streets. We’re always happy to get these people off the streets, hold them accountable, and keep trying to send a message to other people that Monroe is not the place to come if you’re going to commit these types of crimes, because we’re very vigilant and we take it very serious. We’re more likely to hold people accountable here, versus other areas and that’s what our job is. We’re trying to prevent, deter crime from occurring, if it happens to be vigilant, investigate and solve it, and hold people truly accountable, which is something we don’t see too much these days in society, it seems.”

A woman from Islamorada was arrested last week for driving recklessly and charged with DUI.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s another sad case of alcohol and poor decisions, the woman was extremely intoxicated, was driving in the opposite lane in oncoming traffic, was driving in the center median, was passing in no passing zones. We had received calls about her reckless operation, unsafe that she was going to kill somebody. So we’re looking for her. We went to stop her and we had a small little pursuit, she sped up for a short time, we actually were setting up Stinger spikes just down the road because we didn’t know if she was going to eventually stop or continue to flee from us. Right before she approached the set of Stinger spikes, she did pull over and stop. She was extremely intoxicated. We did field sobriety tests, she failed. She has a record for multiple charges. But the bigger picture here is we got her off the roads before she killed herself or somebody else. At this level of intoxication, you’re driving in oncoming traffic, you’re going to kill somebody, you’re going to kill yourself. If you kill somebody else and you’re under the influence, you’re going to go to jail for DUI manslaughter. We just keep trying to tell people it’s just not worth it. There’s so many means of alternate transportation. There’s Ubers, there’s taxis, there’s friends, there’s so many options, but in this day and age the option to get behind the wheel of your car and drive while you’re intoxicated, just is not an option. Only bad things occur from it. Our goal is to try to keep our streets and community safe at all costs.”

The Sheriff’s Office also deals with issues on the water. Last week two divers made a distress call and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies were first on the scene.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We always want to be good partners to our state and local federal partners. We did get a call to our 911 dispatch center about a two missing divers. The wife was in the boat, the husband and son went down. You get disorientated and you’re not really sure about which way you’re going, how far you are from the boat. The currents do a lot. You don’t realize you’re moving faster one way versus the other way. It’s not uncommon for people to surface and they’re now down current of the boat. But with all their gear on, just a couple of knots, current is almost impossible to transition back to a boat. So they surfaced. The wife did see them back behind the boat that they were in distress and were not going to make it back. She called our 911 dispatch center, which then activates the emergency system. We notify our friends at the United States Coast Guard, they conduct what’s called a SAR mission, search and rescue. They launched several vessels to help aid and assist. We also notified our friends of FWC. We happen to have one of our patrol deputies who was marine operated, qualified to run one of our patrol boats, our patrol boat was pretty close to where he was at. So he actually drove his car there, jumped on one of our patrol boats and went to try to locate the divers as well. So all three agencies have vessels responding. We just happen to be the first vessel they’re located these two missing divers. I’m sure our friends in FWC or Coast Guard would have found them soon thereafter. But our goal is to get these people out of the water as fast as possible and that’s what we did. We located them, took them on board the sheriff’s office patrol boat. Coast Guard and FWC had arrived by that time, all three boats are right there in the area and we brought them back to the family vessel. They were extremely, obviously thankful and grateful, and they were scared what was going to happen. But again, it goes to show the emergency system how it works. It goes to show you how great a partnership we have with our friends, state, local and federal. We all work together as one big team. There’s no big thing about who can get the person first or who can arrest somebody, no. It’s about getting the mission done. Help aid and assist, protect life, limb and property in that order. That’s what happened here with all three agencies working together as one goal to do the SAR, Search and Rescue Mission, cover three times the area one patrol boat can cover.”

Sheriff Ramsay helped clean up trash and debris at the Key Haven boat ramp recently.

He said, “Key Haven boat ramp is an area which accumulates a lot of trash and debris, a lot of which is coming from all the liveaboards in the harbor. But we have to do cleanups on a regular basis there. This year it was organized by Ocean Aid 360, who did a three day event out there. They worked closely with partners and civilians and other people. The program was geared towards land, shorelines and water. FWC was out there on a patrol boat to make sure we’re safe and secure area. We had people on vessels who were out there with long nets and getting stuff off the bottom they could see from the boat. It was really nasty in the shoreline. You can imagine in the marsh trying to get that stuff out of there. It was pretty nasty stuff. But end of the day is our job continues to work well with others, whether we organize these cleanups which we do so much, or whether someone else does, we always want to be part of such good stuff. The proven fact is clean neighborhoods are safer neighborhoods. As well as we all want a beautiful, clean Florida Keys. We want to live in paradise and paradise isn’t when you have trash, garbage, debris everywhere. So we keep trying to keep our community safe, secure, clean, so that people who live here can have a safe, secure community, feel safe, be safe, and be proud of what we have. We want people to come to visit to want to come back and tell people how great this place is, but if it’s dirty, disheveled with trash and garbage and shopping carts everywhere, people probably aren’t going to come. If they do come, they’re probably not coming back and they’re probably going to tell people don’t go there. It’s disgusting. So, it’s not our job. But whose job is it? It’s all over our jobs. My officers ask me all the time, why do we have to do it? I say just tell me who’s going to do it? I would love to know. I would love to have someone else have to do it. But we have to be leaders. Leaders step up and just get the job done and spend less time complaining, less time figuring out why it’s not our job, just spend more time just figuring out how to get it done and just do it. So the day we find someone else who wants to be the lead to clean up our community, I will love it and we’ll be a good partner. Until then, we’re going to be a leader and we’re going to continue to do everything we can to keep our community safe and secure and clean, from the north end to the south end.”