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.
Fantasy Fest has wrapped up and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department helped make sure the law was obeyed.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “These are an all hands on deck event, we provide on Friday and Saturday about 25 officers each day. We’re out there along with our friends, partners from FHP and Key West Police and other agencies trying to make sure it’s safe and secure. We also have about another 10 officers from the jail that have to work that are either doing mobile booking stations, transportation or intake release. So as we look at the sheriff’s office arrest page, you’ll see a lot of arrests over the weekend, especially Saturday, mostly battery related fighting, alcohol related, a few of indecent exposures. So it’s a lot of work for the sheriff’s office. It’s kind of a lot of work for the men and women over there.”
Traffic is also an issue during the big events.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re trying to deal with traffic getting down to the festival, and traffic leaving. And Friday and Saturday, we saw heavy amounts of traffic especially Saturday. It’s one of the busiest most difficult challenging events that we have to participate in.”
The sheriff was a judge for Boo Fest on Key Colony Beach.
He said, “It was a great event. It’s a fundraiser and it’s doing stuff for kids in the community. But it’s also just a good time for people to get together. It’s organized. It’s not chaotic. It’s a really interesting fun time, fun costumes. I always love being part of it.”
There were some poor decisions made from visitors recently.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We had one of our nice, newer patrol cars parked in one of the intersections. We come around the corner and find a guy jumping up and dancing on the hood of the patrol car. So we approach him, he jumps off, tries to run away, it turns into a foot chase. We eventually do arrest him. This is a 22 year old male from California that we arrested for criminal mischief, felony criminal mischief. He did a lot of damage to the patrol car. We’re going to hold him accountable but boy, if that was me come around the corner, someone’s jumping, dancing on the hood of my car, I would not be happy. We’ve seen that in the past in California, some of these protests and stuff that people seem to be able to get away with, but you’re not going to get away with it here.”
The Sheriff’s Animal Farm received donations recently.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Every time we get these groups come forward to want to help support, donate something to the farm is so impressive. That’s what this community is about. It takes a lot to keep this farm up and running. Those 155 Animals have to be cared for, fed, taken care of. This is such a special thing for our community, and we’ve got Christmas on the Farm coming up. It’s going to show just how important this program is to the community, we’ll have 1200 people come out to the farm in a matter of few hours for Christmas on the Farm. But people love animals, which is great. They love to support a good cause and this is a great cause. So we’re always happy and thankful for the partnership and friendship that we have in this community. We thank them for being part of this program.”
The sea life is also protected in the Keys. A gentleman from Hollywood, Florida was found with seven Mangrove Snapper, which was over the limit.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We continue to be focused on protecting our environment. A lot of our work is done by land based officers who are going out, who are looking on the bridges, in the shoreline, looking for resources. So we did come across this individual from Hollywood area who was fishing, but had over limit and also had undersized fish as well. So we did give this individual notice to appear. We’ve got to protect our resources, which are attacked each and every day. If we don’t save what we have today, there’ll be nothing there for tomorrow.”
A 30 year old Fort Lauderdale, Florida man was arrested on Sunday for stealing a Jeep, where the keys were left in the car.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “He’s the same guy who about five o’clock in the morning, jumped the fence at the Key West International Airport and was on the property and my security found him in the construction zone and on what’s called the secure area of the airport, which violates TSA rules and regulations. We did arrest him for two felony charges then. He just got released from jail the other day. As soon as he got released in the jail, he immediately wanted to find a car to leave. He went to the Hurricane Hole. He found a jeep. He found the keys in the center console. So he started the Jeep up and just drove it. People came out looking for the Jeep, found it was gone. Pretty quickly called us. We put a BOLO which is Be On the Look Out for, a short time later going through Big Pine northbound, we see that Jeep. Patrol cars do a felony traffic stop. We do arrest him for Grand Theft Auto and return them back to the jail which he just got released from just an hour or two prior, able to get the Jeep back to the owner with no damage. Our crimes are crimes of opportunity. When this happens, we have a stolen car, almost all the time, it’s stolen because the keys are left in it. People are not hotwiring cars like you see on TV. We are making it too easy for people to commit crime sometimes. This is a clear crime that was preventable by just taking the keys out. We’re lucky that the car was located here and we got it back so fast and we got the person who committed the crime.”
Another traffic stop recently after midnight resulted in a number of different violations.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We always talk about traffic stops, how important they are for public safety just for the traffic flow, but also we talked about so many important things come out of traffic because we never know who’s driving the car or what they’ve just done. Our officers doing diligent traffic enforcement did come across this individual. We did smell the smell of marijuana coming from the car. He did not have a medical marijuana card, which gave us probable cause to enter and search the car. Subsequently, we did determine that he was a convicted felon. We did find ammunition in the car, which violates his the terms of being a convicted felon, you’re not allowed to possess a firearm or ammunition as well. We did also find in this car, narcotics, a variety of different drugs that he had in the car. So we arrested him for felony possession of ammunition. We arrested him for multiple drug charges. It was just comes down again, doing our part, trying to go above and beyond, trying to make sure we hold people accountable. We keep sending a strong message about enforcement here in the Keys. This place is like no other area when it comes to enforcement. You’re more likely to get stopped here. You’re more likely to get arrested here. You’re more likely to get prosecuted here and you’re more likely to spend more time in jail here. That’s just how it is. We take this stuff seriously. We keep trying to send a message, a strong message that we’re not going to tolerate it here. We want people to come here visit and have a good time. That’s great. But we’re not going to let you come here and commit crimes and steal stuff and sell drugs and have weapons without us trying to enforce the law and hold you accountable.”
A Richland, Texas man was arrested Friday. He had an altered hand gun, a black ski mask and black gloves.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “This was another case where we had a person who was driving extremely reckless, high speeds, past one of my deputies in the opposite direction going estimated over 100 miles an hour passing the center turn lane, a tractor trailer. The deputy couldn’t get on him fast enough. We radio ahead to another car. We eventually did clock him further down the road. Doing I think like 80 something miles an hour, still driving real fast. We did stop him. Ultimately we did wind up finding an altered weapon, gloves, ski mask, some other related stuff. We have multiple charges on him and put him in jail and get them off the road. We’re never going to really know what those guns and mask were about here or somewhere else. But you know, we are doing our part here.”