With the calendar changing to spring months, the Keys should get prepared for an influx of visitors.
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM for an update of what’s going on in Monroe County.
Listeners were reminded that the Sheriff’s Department website maintains an up-to-date traffic report. It’s free to download on the Google Play store and will let travelers know if and when the road is shut down.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We keep the status so current. We can’t afford to get behind two minutes. So when it’s happening, we’re alerting you so you know what’s going on.”
With spring break on the horizon, traffic could be an issue in the Keys and more people will be in the water.
Unfortunately, it also brings water-related deaths. A 61-year-old man from Massachusetts died while snorkeling off Islamorada recently. There was no foul play involved.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “The FWC is a great partner to us. It’s got more marine vessels. They work really well with us. United States Coast Guard, Sheriff’s office. We all work as one big team.”
Panic in the water can result in heart attacks and strokes, especially for people who aren’t used to snorkeling.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We also had a 67-year-old old male who was found unresponsive that was deceased. It was determined to be another dive accident, another dive death. Unfortunately they’re generally going to be older, generally going to be in not too good shape, generally haven’t been diving for 20 years. It’s just sad.”
It’s really important to follow safety protocols and know what you’re doing in the water.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently cited a 35-year-old Miami man for illegally spearing a snook near Tavernier Creek.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “We do our part to try to help out FWC to protect our environment on land and on sea. We did come across this male and we did find in his possession a speared snook, which is illegal. You cannot spear them. You have to catch them by hook and line only. (We) hold those accountable and deter people from ravaging our environment. It’s so fragile as it is.”
A 50-year-old Key West man was arrested Thursday for stealing $950 worth of seafood from a Stock Island business.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “The Sheriff’s Office takes every case we have seriously. We work so hard to try to solve these crimes when they take place. Our solvability factor is twice that of most agencies, so we take crime seriously.”
A 40-year-old Key West man was arrested last Wednesday for leaving more than 30 mattresses and box springs on a Stock Island street.
Sheriff Ramsay explained, “These mattresses and box springs came from a Key West hotel. He was paid to pick up and dispose of these. Instead of going to the landfill like he should have, which would have cost a few hundred bucks, he just picked them up and drove them to Stock Island, drove up to Front Street and just dumped them.”
It was 1,700 pounds of mattresses and box springs.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “My patrol sergeants did a good job. They did a lot of research. We tracked them back down to Key West Hotel. We tracked them there to the person who was contracted to remove them. We worked with solid waste management from the county to remove them. We eventually located the suspect, identified him and got a confession from him.”
He was paid $1,200 to remove the mattresses, but didn’t use any of that to legally dispose of them. Instead, he was charged with felony dumping.
Migrant landings, while they have slowed down – thanks to efforts from Sheriff Ramsay, the Coast Guard, the federal government and Governor DeSantis – are still happening.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Things are still really tense and difficult in these third world countries and people still want to come to America, but the efforts we put in place and plans are really working to curb the mass migration we’ve been seeing.”
With so many trying to leave, some will still get through.
Over the weekend, there were two migrant landings.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “The resources here from the state are impressive, the federal government.”
It also looks like the resources will remain longer than initially thought.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Maybe up to a year. To keep the pressure on to try to keep our Keys community safe.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department had another perfect audit.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “I take pride in fiscal responsibility. I take pride in accounting for every penny of our tax dollars money. I’ve had perfect audits every year I’ve been the sheriff. I take pride in that to manage our citizen’s money accordingly. We bring outside auditors in to give a second look at it just to make sure it’s transparent. I’m always proud every year to see these perfect audits and know we’re doing everything just right.”