Let’s check in with Sheriff Rick Ramsay…

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.

The powerboat races sure brought a lot of people to town.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “No doubt this is a busy time of the sheriff’s office between all the traffic on the highway, these big rigs coming up and down, they do cause some traffic jams. Some require detailed escort officers because they’re so wide for wide loads. Obviously the boat races themselves are just a great event. We had sheriff’s office patrol boats, all three days that are helping out with Key West and the various needs for marine vessels. So this is manpower intensive at all levels. It’s all hands on deck between city of Key West, Coast Guard, sheriff’s office, all the entities that make this event happen. So many events and Keys we have all the time, they all require a lot of coordination between multiple agencies to make sure they’re efficient, effective as possible, but mostly all that they’re safe and secure.”

A man was arrested recently for making threats against court members, including threatening to kill a judge from the Florida Keys, his defense attorney and the state prosecutor as well.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is a difficult business and the businesses is not making people happy. A lot of the times, people are either arrested or their lives are being altered. They think because of us, although they’re the ones that create the situations they’re in. So many sad issues occur before a court systems, whether it be civil, administrative, whether it be lawsuits, or crimes. We deal with people who don’t take these things well, that they’re having to be held accountable, or things don’t go their way. So in this case, an individual, is very upset with the court system, in this case, the judge and his defense attorney and the prosecutor in case and had made a written death threat and mailed to the judge about killing him and the prosecutor and the defense attorney. I take every and all threats seriously, whether it come from the pagans, whether it be kids at school, whether it be someone threatening to hurt one of my officers. I keep telling people, you make threats, we’re going to take every threat serious. We have to believe that you’re willing to carry out what you say and our job is to try to prevent that threat from actually occurring. By doing that we have to hold people accountable, arrest them, incarcerate them, put a risk protection order in place, mitigate their mobility, their ability to access weapons, their ability to carry out a potential threat. So this is no different. Our judges are in difficult positions, just like police officers having to make life and death decisions that adversely affect people’s lives. So this individual, a 41 year old male from the Miami area did make threats to again kill the judge, the prosecutor and defense attorney. We did get a warrant for his arrest and we arrested him and he’s currently sitting in my jail, and he’ll be there where he’ll get a chance to see the judge again, and we’re going to keep sending the message. We’re not going to tolerate violence, acts of violence or threats of violence.”

A woman was arrested recently for stealing a boat in Summerland Key.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “She lived close to this vacant lot and as one of our neighbors also lived close to a vacant lot on in the Summerland area, and had parked the trailer and boat there for a while, restoring it there. One day the owner sees that the boat and trailer is gone. Doesn’t know what happened. Then she called the sheriff’s office. So we take the report for grant theft. We’re trying to find this vessel, trailer. It took us awhile, but a couple of months later, we eventually did find the boat and trailer on Big Pine. We tracked this all back down to her neighbor, this young lady had hooked up this boat and trailer and took it. We don’t know the exact reason why. But we were able to recover the boat, returned the boat, identify the suspect who stole it, arrest the suspect, hold her accountable. Again, keep sending the message. You’re more likely to get arrested here in the Keys on charges of crimes. We are diligent. We are really focused on trying to investigate, solve crime, arrest people who commit crimes. You’re less likely to get away with here in Monroe than other areas I think. We try to send that message because we want a deterrent message that crime is not easy, because so many crimes in life are crimes of opportunity that are just too easy. People think they can get away with this stuff. We keep trying to send a message. We’re not going to let you get away with here. If you commit a crime, you’re more likely to get charged and we have twice the clearance rates of other counties. Our clearance rates are two times that of the average state and national clearance rate. So we’re doing it twice as good as most other areas. That’s hopefully a deterrent for our people. Think twice.”

A Florida man resisted arrest recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This individual was wanted by the sheriff’s office on multiple warrants. One of my alert deputies saw him on Shrimp Road about 4 p.m. in the afternoon. We tried to apprehend him and it turned into a foot chase. We bought in other units, had a perimeter setup, trying to find this individual who fled and was resisting us taking him custody. We eventually did find him hiding in a maintenance shed. Once we tried to arrest him again, we continue to have a struggle pulling, pushing, resisting, tensing up, trying to keep from being handcuffed and secured. But ultimately, we did get him handcuffed and secured and took him to jail, which is just part of our job each and every day. Most people aren’t compliant when it comes to going to jail. If they have a chance and opportunity, they’re going run. If they have an opportunity, they’re going to try to get away. It’s a fight or flight syndrome. If you give them a chance, they’re more likely to take flight and it’s stupid because they already have warrants for their arrest. By fighting us and resisting us, it’s only going to have more criminal charges put upon you, make your situation worse. A lot of times the warrants that we’re looking for people are not really big deal warrants. It’s not going to mean you’re going to jail the rest of your life. There are minor charges that you’re being picked up on, but when you start resisting, fighting, pushing, touching officers, you’re committing battery and law enforcement officer felonies. You’re committing resisting arrest with violence charges, fleeing charges, obstruction charges. So for something minor, you could have just got in, fined, and got out or got out of jail for time served. Why get yourself loaded up with two, three felonies and sit in jail for months while you wait to go to trial and then when you get found guilty, you’re going to go to jail for a longer period of time. So don’t make your situation worse is what we try to tell people. Own it. Deal with it. Resolve it, put it behind you. Move on.”

A snorkeling incident resulted in a death last Tuesday off of Key West.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re surrounded by water, so much of the sheriff’s office business is water related. The Coast Guard had four migrant interdictions over the weekend. We had a diving, fatality unfortunately, on a recreational boat, a commercial boat off of Key West. The person was brought back to the vessel unresponsive. The crew did a great job to try to start CPR, get this person back to shore. Ultimately, this person did pass away. No foul play involved, but that’s an unattended death, we’ll have to have the sheriff office look into that as part of a death investigation, working hand in hand with our medical examiner. The plane crash in the gulf, I actually know the pilot, actually used to work for the Sheriff’s Office. He retired from the sheriff’s office about eight years ago, a real good young man. A single engine aircraft about four miles off a Marathon. He was coming back in from Everglades City. I think I’m not the final on in this but I think they ran out of fuel. Four miles out, a boater saw a small little single engine aircraft, saw it going down, saw it crash. The boater, a Good Samaritan called in right away, which is great. We love our partnership with our citizens to help aid and assist us. We immediately contacted obviously our friends in the United States Coast Guard and FWC responded with vessels right away. The Good Samaritan ran to the scene tried to get the person out of water. The Coast Guard came and transferred the person to their vessel. He was brought in to be checked out medically. He was fine, thank God, the only person on board. Now the recovery efforts are to get this plane out of the water and hope there’s not an environmental impact. People think the sheriff’s office police, that’s just land. We do so much on the water. We always talk about search and rescue missions or dive into the Marine related fishery cases. We’re working on patrol boats and plane crashes of migrants and boat races and there’s so much happening that we have to be a little bit everywhere to try to make sure we keep this community and county safe and secure.”