It’s time to talk with Sheriff Rick Ramsay

When it comes to keeping Monroe County safe, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay and his officers work hard for the residents of the Keys.

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

A traffic stop around 2 a.m. on Friday found a 37-year-old female in Marathon who was intoxicated and attempting to drive.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “People there knew she was really intoxicated and were trying to tell her don’t drive, don’t get behind the wheel. She was really yelling and screaming, telling them to get lost. Jumped in the car and almost struck multiple cars in the parking lot. She was so drunk that the patrons from the bar actually called us to tell us that she’s drunk driving a car, which is kind of unusual. You know when the Brass Monkey crowd is calling to report someone else for drunk driving, the person is probably pretty drunk.”

When sheriff’s officers stopped the car, the woman was quite combative and aggressive. She went to jail for DUI as well as threatening to kill police officers and spitting on the police.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “So we did get her off the road before she could hurt or kill somebody or herself, but it goes to show how difficult this job is. You’re out there with a combative, drunk woman threatening to kill you, spitting on you.”

A 20-year-old Tavernier motorist fled from sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday in a GMC pickup.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “There’s really no hurry in the Keys, but this young man is driving down the road, 71 mile an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone.”

Officers pursued and he turned off US 1 in back streets and neighborhoods in an attempt to elude police. He was eventually arrested for fleeing and eluding police.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s kind of hard to get away from the Sheriff’s Office. There’s only one road. We’ve got radios. We’ve got stinger spikes. So we keep telling all the people, if you’re getting stopped, just stop. You don’t even know if you would have gotten a ticket. Maybe this officer would have given you a break, but what was it worth? Trying to get out of a ticket? Now you’re in jail. We towed your car. You’ve got criminal charges lodged against you. You’ve got your picture on the Sheriff’s Office webpage. So we look at the bigger things, it probably wasn’t the smartest move. Just adhere to the law. It’s probably the best thing you could do in the first place.”

A few hundred bicyclists took part in the SMART Ride over the weekend.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “No one got hurt for the most part. I actually rode upon a single vehicle crash and a bicycle crash about the 74 mile marker and I stopped, rendered aid, called a medical unit in, but it was relatively safe overall. There were just literally hundreds of people on bicycles. They’ve got a pretty good system down to try to keep it orderly. Have the impact as minimal as possible on the motorists on the highways, but it is challenging at times.”

A 30-year-old Marathon woman went after her ex-husband with a butcher knife recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “He got injuries to his arm as part of this attack. We got on scene, we render aid to the victim. We determine what took place. We determine she’s the aggressor and used a deadly weapon.”

She was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Sheriff Ramsay suggested, “There’s probably a reason that she’s an ex-wife. He probably should just avoid her. There’s probably a good reason they’re no longer married because if this violence is going on now, it was probably going on before this. Some relationships just don’t work out. Some are just volatile. Hope he moves on.”

Another assault came from Stock Island where a man was threatening two men with a metal pipe.

Sheriff Ramsay explained, “This all stemmed from allegedly a stolen bicycle part from one of the guy’s bikes. These three all know each other. They’re in the same house complex. The suspect in this case believes the victims stole a bike part from his bicycle, so he starts an argument at the house outside. Arms himself with a metal pipe, forces his way inside the house, tracks the person down to his bedroom, starts an altercation and making threats of violence with his metal pipe.”

He has been charged with a felony for an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “You can’t take these type of actions on yourself and not believe that there’s going to be some repercussions. You can’t attack, beat up people. You can’t believe that you’re just going to get away with it and nothing’s going to happen. For every action, there’s a reaction and the reaction is going to mean we’re going to put you in jail and take your freedom away to hold you accountable for these acts of violence on others.”

A burglary on Stock Island brought the Sheriff’s Office to the location where 85 pounds of shrimp, a GPS unit and other items were taken by a 52-year-old Stock Island man who was arrested for the theft.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The job of the Sheriff’s Office is always widespread, always diverse, always someone doing something stupid.”

The Autism Society of the Keys has been working on the Autism Sensory Boxes to help deputies respond to those affected by autism.

There were 75 Autism Sensory Boxes donated to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We already had some in the field with our school resource officers. Our goal is to have one in every patrol car. We come across people with forms of autism on a regular basis and we want to be able to better understand, deal with them, calm them down, help them.”

All the officers have been to training classes for autism.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The sensory boxes are filled with all kinds of stuff for us to help the autistic population. Whether it be toys, whether it be spinning devices, different types of stuff to keep their attention. We try to train that lights and different stuff can affect people with autism. We try to get them to calm down and some of these rotator devices helps to really focus their energy and their attention on one thing and it has a calming effect. We want to be able to help, aid and assist them. We want to be able to talk and communicate with them and one of the ways we can do that is to calm them down, build that trust, that relationship and try to be part of the solution here. So we’re thankful to have these as another tool in our box to better help all the population.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Key West Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office had an academy graduation on Friday.

Seven people graduated.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We hope they’re going to be long term employees. That was nice and exciting.”

The Coast Guard is dealing with a migrant vessel about 40 miles off the Keys with about 19 people on board that capsized and sank.

A large freighter saw an individual swimming and picked him up. He was coming from Cuba.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The Coast Guard right now is conducting a search and rescue mission. I understand they’ve recovered nine people alive and I think they’ve recovered several bodies deceased. I think there’s still a handful that are missing. The migrant flow is a very dangerous situation. It shows the desperation from these third world countries. It’s really, really sad to see that loss of life there for sure.”

With the upcoming holiday, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department sends well wishes to residents in the Keys.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is one of the busiest travel days of the year, so if you’re going to travel, leave early, plan ahead, be patient and be safe and enjoy the holiday with family and friends.”