August 1 – The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was out a lot last week during lobster mini season.
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s happening in the county.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is one of the busiest weeks for us for sure. We’re just so overwhelmed. We’re trying to have officers at the boat ramps, at the shore lines, at the bridges, on the waters. We’re trying to respond to calls. We’re trying to deal with the heavy traffic congestions. So this is a challenging time for sure, but we’re trying to be out there on the water as best we can to help our friends at FWC and Coast Guard, but it is like a needle in a haystack. There’s just so many people on the water and so few boats that all our patrol boats are out.”
One incident found a person with eight queen Conch, which is a protected species.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “You’re not allowed to take any, let alone eight of them. We did arrest that individual for those violations.”
Other people were spear fishing under the bridges – they were arrested.
A number of lobster cases included under sized lobster and people being over the bag limit.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “My guys and gals remained very busy this whole weekend. We do this to try to help our friends at FWC, help protect our environment. We do a lot to try to educate people ahead of time. We really don’t want people offending so we try to put the message out, but also with that has to be enforcement.”
Four fatalities happened during the mini season. Three were medical emergencies. One was a boat strike.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We see a lot of medical emergencies. A lot of people come down and aren’t used to diving or snorkeling, haven’t been in the water for years, are a little bit overweight, aren’t in good shape. They think just snorkeling is really not a big deal, but you’re in current, you’re diving up and down, you’re holding up bags and nets and you can get winded quickly. So we think the three are going to wind up being heart attack/stroke related.”
The medical examiner will report causes soon.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is a very active sport. If you’re going to be in the water, you have to be in good physical condition or else bad things are likely to happen unfortunately.”
Right as lobster mini season hit, a number of other crimes also occurred.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We really don’t have murders in the Keys, thank God. Every couple of years we do. If we do, it’s domestic-related, homeless-on-homeless or drug related.”
The two recent murders were domestic-related. One a man shot his girlfriend in the back of the head and claimed it was a suicide, but the investigation showed she couldn’t have inflicted the wound at the distance the round was fired.
The second was a man who bludgeoned his girlfriend to death.
Both men were arrested for homicide.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Terrible cases. Unusual, but we’re glad we were able to make quick, immediate arrests and get some closure for the families and hold these people accountable.”
Then there was a stabbing on Big Coppitt Key where a 70-year-old man stabbed someone in a fight and he was charged with aggravated assault.
A few days ago Sheriff’s deputies pursued a truck that was stolen from the 90-mile marker around the Plantation Boat Mart.
The truck owner had left the keys in the ignition with the truck running and went into the store.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We always talk about crimes of opportunity. If you leave your truck unattended, running, don’t be surprised someone drives off with it.”
A be on the lookout (BOLO) for was put out for the truck and it was later located by Miami-Dade County Police as it was coming back into Monroe County.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We set up stinger spike system. We were able for about three miles stay behind the vehicle before it actually came to a stop because of flat tires.”
The driver eventually gave himself up.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “This was a crime that didn’t have to happen, was so preventable. Because it did happen, obviously it jeopardized the safety of other motorists while we had to work to get this car stopped. So we keep talking about just locking doors and taking guns out of cars and locking your homes. Just basic preventive stuff can make a big difference for us.”
On Friday, a large amount of cocaine washed ashore in Tavernier. It was 71.6 pounds, which was incredibly significant.
Last week a female was detained at a traffic stop in Stock Island. She had more than 20 grams of fentanyl, which would have been enough to kill a couple thousand people.
Trauma Star Air Ambulance services are also provided through Monroe County. Last year 1,386 Trauma Star flights took place to take people to hospitals.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Trauma Star, I’m proud of that program. That’s been a work of labor of love to keep that program up and running and save lives each and every day. That program is near and dear to my heart and is so needed. We actually carry an assortment of drugs on board, blood, we do blood transfusions. We do stuff most stuff most air medical helicopters wouldn’t do and just don’t do.”
National Night Out will be held tomorrow night at the Community Park in Key Largo, Founders Park in Islamorada, the Sheriff’s Aviation Hanger in Marathon and Bay View Park in Key West. It’s a national celebration to get a chance to talk to law enforcement in a positive setting.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re going to bring all our access, our toys, our equipment. We’re going to have our friends at state, local and federal, FHP, FWC, Coast Guard, Key West Police will be out. This is the time for citizens to come out, see the officers, talk to them, see what we’ve got. Meet, greet, talk about problems, concerns in their community, build these relationships. We’ll have live music, food. We try to make this a really good event for families to come out and spend time with us. It starts about 5:30. We hope that you in your perspective area will come out and spend some time, meet some of the officers, and talk a little bit and tell us what’s going on in your lives and how we can make your lives better.”