December 5 – When Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joins Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM, it’s always a transparent moment where the truth about crime is front and center.
Fentanyl was a discussion point this morning and wait until you hear what’s been going on with NARCAN.
NARCAN is now being more widely distributed through the Department of Health in attempt to stem the fentanyl overdoses.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We are seeing fentanyl across the nation at epidemic levels, in large part because of the open border, the southwest border. That’s where all the fentanyl is coming into the United States. So the US government is failing to control that border, thus the drugs are getting in and killing record numbers of people that are dying each year from fentanyl overdoses.”
NARCAN has become more available for anyone to administer the life-saving drug.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is a double-edge sword here. Obviously, it’s good in case someone overdoses, they can self-administer to themselves or a partner or a friend and save them. That’s the good thing. The bad thing is it’s giving a sense of security to these people who are using drugs that it’s okay to use fentanyl and they use more because they’re not afraid of overdosing or heroin. They’re becoming so dependent on NARCAN to be so readily available that they’re no longer that fear of overdosing or using too much. So we’re seeing people that are using drugs to the extreme levels because their partner who is also doing drugs has NARCAN. It’s right there on the table. They tell each other if you go out first, I’ll NARCAN you. If I go out first, you NARCAN me. They’re trying to get to this pinnacle to such high level their body’s ready to die before they bring them back. So I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or not. It’s a good thing to save lives, but I think it’s helping to promote the use of illicit drugs at extreme levels causing these overdoses in the first place, so it’s really two different theories on this.”
With the holiday festivities over the weekend, the Sheriff’s Department was quite busy.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is a great time of year to get out and see friends and citizens and just get ready for the season.”
While the holiday celebrations had little police-involved activity, the same cannot be said for the other times and places in the Keys.
A 35-year-old Florida City woman was arrested on Friday for pointing a handgun during a road rage incident on US 1.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is sad. We hate to see these types of situations. A road rage for nothing. She works for Key Largo EMS, so she’s a public safety official and besides everything else, she had a 1-year-old child in the back of her car, which makes this even worse as we talk about this case.”
The woman was tailgating a vehicle on the 18-mile stretch southbound. The driver in front of her started videotaping this as she drove recklessly, going back and forth.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “She went around him and he videotaped her as they went around and then she continued to drive very erratic. He pulled up and took a picture of the tags with the video in the vehicle and when she saw that she was being videotaped, she pulled out a gun and she pointed a Glock19 at the driver who was videotaping here. He then contacted the Sheriff’s Office.”
The woman never called the Sheriff’s Office, so she clearly didn’t feel in fear for her life or anything to point a gun at somebody.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “At some point in time before we found her and stopped her, she stopped and disposed of the gun by a dumpster. She probably figured she was being called in.”
The weapon was located and she was arrested and charged with a number of violations.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s so sad to see this from anybody, but especially someone who’s in the public safety world. A mother with a minor in the car. It makes it that much more difficult, hard to understand. We did notify the Department of Children and Family Services. We were able to stop her, hold her accountable. We did release the picture of her with the gun. We want people to see just how serious this is. We want people to see what law enforcement has to deal with on a regular basis and that we are not going to tolerate this here.”
Are the charges different if the gun is loaded or not or if the person has a permit or not?
Sheriff Ramsay said, “It doesn’t matter any of the above. The only thing that matters is you’ve got a deadly weapon and you pointed a deadly weapon and you’ve instilled a sense of fear and you have the apparent ability to carry it out. You’ve committed an aggravated assault, an assault that is some act by words or threat with the ability to carry it out. Here the aggravated circumstances, you’re using a deadly weapon, which is a serious charge. The only relevant factor is you pointed a gun at somebody and that violates state law.”
A 38-year-old Ocala Florida man was fleeing on a stand-up scooter last week. He was on a bike path with no lights and deputies tried to stop the man to warn him about needing lights, but instead, he took off on the scooter.
The man ended up jumping into the water and was eventually arrested.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s just so stupid. If he would have just stopped, we would have told him hey, you’re required by law to have a light for your safety and others so you can be visible and be seen. We would have given him a warning. We would have told him next time we see you, if you don’t have it, we’re going to site you. He would have just had a slap on the wrist, which is most of the time that people are fleeing for minor, traffic-related charges. They just lose their mind and make poor decisions, which are life-altering and ever-lasting.”
He was arrested for resisting arrest as well as possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “The only reason we knew about the drugs is because he made us arrest him. If we would have stopped him for the violation, he would again have just gotten a verbal warning. We wouldn’t have been searching him or anything else for drugs. You create your own problems in life sometimes.”
Migrant landings continue every day.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “I call it a mass migration. The government doesn’t call it that. They don’t want to use those terminologies. Just like the government says that the southwest border is secure. It’s insulting that they try to lie to us instead of just calling it like it is.”
There has been a 600 percent increase in migration in the Florida Keys.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “That’s a mass migration. For a small community to have our resources, just every day to have them tied up is a mass migration and is causing issues for public safety. Police, fire, rescue resources are tied up so much that it’s delaying our ability to do our main job patrol, protect, serve, prevent crime, detect crime and investigate crime because we’re tied up with so many landings and some of these landings with so many people require a large amount of police services to respond that have to sit and wait for government to show up sometimes, deal with medical emergencies that arise out of some of the landings. It’s very taxing. There’s no easy answer. Well, I say that, the easy answer is for our government to start enforcing the immigration laws which do exist and try to take immigration more serious and have a plan, a pathway to come to the United States for those who do the legal process.”
The Sheriff’s Office Christmas gala is coming up this Friday.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s so important that we acknowledge our Sheriff’s Office staff. We get together, break some bread, have some harmony and spend some time away from just the work daily product. We cook a whole pig and some other variety of foods. Our staff does all the cooking. It’s a big to-do. We invite all our staff to show up there and our partners in law enforcement and public safety to come out. We just try to make it a day just to get ready for the holidays and thank our people for the hard work and dedication.”
The party is paid for by the administration team – Sheriff Ramsay, his colonel, his major, his chief of staff, his attorney. There are about 600 employees in the department.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We all throw money in to pay for the party and to make sure this is one the memorable parties and let our people know that we do appreciate them.”