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.
There was hail in the Middle Keys today.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “I was heading down to Key West, I was up around Stock Island this morning, about eight o’clock in the morning, when we got the beginning of the bad squall line came through and it just dropped out of the sky torrential downpour rains. But as part of that, also, we were getting actually hail and not just a little bit, a lot of hail, which is so unusual. We just don’t see that here for obvious reasons. I could just hear my car just getting pelted. It was just so loud with the hail hitting. So unusual. A lot of rain in a short period of time. We saw that immediate flooding, pooling of waters. The conditions were so poor, you couldn’t even barely see in front of you. I saw a lot of cars just pulling over to the shoulder putting their hazard lights on just waiting for it to pass for safety reasons. So I’m always glad to see that, that was a good move. I had my hazard lights on just trying to warn people ahead of time because it gets so bad you can’t even sometimes see how far a car may be in front of you.”
Recently, a driver was going 80 miles an hour and hitting other vehicles near mile marker 92. He was from York, PA.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “This started out as a reckless driver. The sheriff’s office received multiple calls about a reckless car which was driving fast, was running cars off the road. People were concerned about the safety overall. So we received reports from our citizens, which we love, we want to have the relationships where they call us and tell us what’s going on or what they’re seeing out there, an extra set of eyes and ears for us for sure. So we started looking for the vehicle. We did find the vehicle eventually, and then got into a short little chase to get this person to stop eventually. When we did try to deal with this person, very combative, argumentative, wouldn’t listen a commands, directions from the officers, pulling away, resisting, pushing, and eventually prompted us to take this individual to jail on multiple charges. But it’s hard to understand why someone’s driving so fast. So stupid. Start drawing attention to themselves. You wonder, most people don’t want interaction with law enforcement. Most people try to avoid law enforcement and avoid confrontation or if they are out with them, just kind of do what they’re supposed to do. But 80 miles an hour, you’re looking for attention, you’re driving recklessly, you’re going to draw attention. Then when you don’t do what you’re told to do, you’re drawing more attention. Then good things don’t happen, for anybody. But our goal is to get these idiots off the road, make the roads safe, and secure. But we’re always thankful when people do call us and help warn us or give us directions to look for something in particular. That’s what makes this system so great is working together one big team.”
One person tried to get away from officers on a scooter.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Well, if we’re going to have a pursuit, we’d rather it be a low speed pursuit. This was a slow speed pursuit around Rockland Key. We’re seeing more prevalent these e-bikes, electric bikes, electric scooters. We saw an electric scooter around that area. One of my officers went to stop it for a traffic violation. The person did not want to stop and took flight and tried to evade, eluded on an electric scooter. So he went for a while and got back into some commercial residential areas. We lost sight him for a while, but we eventually did locate him, ultimately arrested him. You look back and you wonder why? Why not just stop, see what the officer wants, you’re probably gonna get a verbal warning. But instead of just stopping and seeing what it is that he or she wants to talk to you about, it turns into this slow speed chase, which turned into eventually you get arrested and charged for fleeing, eluding, resisting charges, other related charges. We just say is that, just because we’re stopping you to talk to you doesn’t mean you’re going to jail, it doesn’t mean you’re getting a ticket, it doesn’t mean something bad’s going on. We may be telling you about a brake light or a tail light or some safety issue. Don’t assume the worst and don’t take these evasive actions, where nothing good can come out of it. It just doesn’t make any sense. We know who you are most of time. Most time in the car, we’re going to get your tag. You just don’t get a chance just to flee, get away from us and have it go away like it never happened. We’re going to continue to track people down, arrest them, hold them accountable. So I don’t know. We keep getting these people and they’re just making the situation’s worse. Maybe people can learn by other people’s stupid decisions and mistakes and say, hey, I don’t want that to be me.”
There was an altercation on 20th Street in Marathon where a knife was involved.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Every community does have populations, we have to deal with this population of homeless people with some dignity and respect the best we can. But homeless populations do have a lot of mental illness involved, a lot of anger management, individuals, a lot of people have alcohol and substance abuse problems. So you’re getting people in a tight, contained area and not uncommon for arguments, disagreements or violence to occur. So we did get called to the 20th Street area of Boot Key in Marathon about an attack. A male who allegedly struck another male in the head with the butt of a knife after an altercation involving threats of violence and a woman who had some marks consistent of some type of altercation. So we got there not uncommon the homeless population a lot of time don’t want to talk to law enforcement or cooperate. So we struggled initially to try to find out what was going on because we’re not getting a lot of cooperation even from the victims in this case, but we were eventually able to get to the bottom, figure it out, identify the suspect, get some medical treatment for the people involved. Eventually we did arrest this individual for multiple charges on this attack. Again, there’s got to be law in order everywhere, including homeless populations, they’ve got to know that law enforcement are going to come out there and hold people accountable. We’re going to make those populations as safe as possible. That particular area we go out there on a daily basis and do directed patrols, we walk that campsite, to be seen, to be visible, to have a presence so that people who live there can feel safer too, as well. And that people who are bad actors know that we are accessible, we are visible and we are going to be there as a deterrent. So every population is important to us, even our homeless population. I know a lot of people are not thrilled with homeless population, but a lot of our homeless people don’t want to be homeless. They’ve fallen on bad times. Then there are those homeless people who, yeah, that’s their lifestyle. That’s what they want. They don’t want a job, they don’t want to get back into a normal routine. They like that style of life, which is fine, then we just have to adapt our law enforcement services to any normal people based on whatever their economic basis is, or their wants and desires a living conditions.”
A recent traffic stop resulted in two people being arrested for drugs.
Sheriff Ramsay said, “Traffic stop again, we talk about how much traffic enforcement we do. We talk about it because it’s the number one factor which people get hurt, killed, or ties up traffic and number one complaint, so we spend a lot of time dealing with traffic enforcement. While out with this car, we did have a reason to believe there was marijuana, smell in the car and potentially other drugs. We did have a canine Coral come in alert to the presence of other drugs. Our canines do not alert to marijuana. They’re not trained for marijuana, so there won’t be a dog reacting to marijuana in the car. So we knew there was other illegal drugs besides the fact that there was no medical marijuana card and there’s marijuana smell coming out of the car. Ultimately, we did get inside the car, we found 12 ounces of amphetamines, which is quite a bit of drugs. That’s from the 41 year old male out to Lehigh Acres, marijuana, signs of drug paraphernalia, signs of drug dealing, this volume of drugs is more than a personal use. This is clearly someone who’s a drug dealer. We also found a second person out of the Key West area who was in the car with that person as well, a Key West resident who had a violation probation warrant as well. So we did arrest the passenger for a VOP, violation probation warrant, as well as the driver on the multiple drug charges. Again, good case to get these criminals off the streets, get the drugs off the street, tow their car, hold them accountable, keep sending the message. We’re not going to tolerate this here. That’s the message that I want my troops to continue to send.”