The Key West Police Department is here for the residents

Coming to the end of 2022 is a time for reflection and the same is true for the Key West Police Department.

Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s been going on in the city.

Chief Brandenburg said, “Every day the men and women of the Key West Police Department go out there and do things that make me proud to be the leader of this agency. They do a great job. I’ve got an amazing team of detectives that do the follow ups. I’ve got road patrol officers now that are following up on the cases that they take. It’s a great team effort. I’m very proud of all of them and what we’re able to accomplish.”

The number of residents and tourists make Key West a relatively unique place to police.

Key West Police Officer Andrea Bernatova was awarded Officer of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce recently. Bernatova speaks three languages and has a Master’s Degree in Economics.

Chief Brandenburg said, “We’re very lucky. We were not the only ones trying to recruit her. She’s smart. She’s patient. She considers all her options available before making a decision and these are all the things we’re looking for in officers and hopefully she might be a future leader here at this agency. I’m glad she chose the Key West Police Department and she’s been doing a phenomenal job since day one.”

In fact, Bernatova’s very first day on the job, on her own, she responded to a local hotel where a man was having a medical emergency and she saved that man’s life.

Chief Brandenburg said, “She earned the Key West Police Department’s Life Saving Award on her very first day solo. That’s a record that can be tied, but never beaten.”

Recruitment has been a year-long process.

There were seven officers that hit the road last Monday to begin their field training program. Before that, two other officers were hired.

Chief Brandenburg said, “Since then, I’ve hired one more and he started last Thursday. I have another one that I made him the offer, he accepted the offer and he’ll be starting his FTO in the upcoming weeks. I think I’m at 12 new hires that our out there training, so a lot of new faces out there for citizens to get to know, but we’re going to try and get them through the field training program. I still have four openings on the road and then my dispatch center, I still have openings for dispatchers. If anyone’s interested in tele-communicator job, please come see us. We have opportunities there.”

For more information on employment opportunities, call 305-809-1087 or click here:

New Year’s Even can be a tricky time for law enforcement.

Chief Brandenburg said, “We’ve already put together an operational plan for those days leading up to and including New Year’s Eve. I’ve looked it over, a couple of modifications I think we need to make. I’ll sit down with the captains this afternoon. We’ll go over that. By December 31, we will certainly have a plan that we’re ready to roll out and prepare for the crowds.”

The Chamber of Commerce usually gives the police department the hotel occupancy numbers for the celebration.

Chief Brandenburg said, “If any of the other celebrations that we’ve had throughout the year is an indicator, I’m guessing this is going to be a big year. I’m going to base my plan on the numbers of people we’ve had at the other celebrations and plan accordingly.”

Citizens are reminded to celebrate responsibly.

Chief Brandenburg said, “It’s a two by four mile island. You can certainly walk to wherever you’re headed to. If you can’t walk, consider one of the many options we have available to get yourself home safely.”

The Key West Police Department and Monroe County Sheriff’s Department have offered the lobbies of their buildings for gift exchanges.

Chief Brandenburg said, “A lot of people buy their Christmas gifts on Facebook Marketplace or Craig’s List. Myself and the sheriff opened up our lobbies and allow for those gift exchanges to take place at the police department or the sheriff’s offices.”

The Key West Police Department lobby is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and includes cameras.

Chief Brandenburg said, “So if you do make a purchase from an individual, rather than have them come to your house or you go to their house, it’s a safe location. There’s people watching those cameras at all times. If the person you’re buying the product from doesn’t want to meet at the police station to do that exchange, that might be a red flag that that’s not somebody you want to do business with.”