The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department works diligently to keep the Keys safe

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.

A busy weekend in the Keys saw the Marathon power boat races, the Conch Republic Bed Race and the 30th anniversary of Leadership Monroe.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I support Leadership Monroe. I think it’s a great program. We’ve been involved in it from day one. Every year we send about two people to Leadership Monroe, trying to be part of our community and show those relationships.”

It is National Correction Officers and Employees week. There are about 136 corrections officers and 31 support staff in the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I was the captain of the jail about 20 years ago, so I understand how difficult and complex the Bureau of Corrections can be. These men and women do a very difficult, challenging job, just like the men and women on the streets, dealing with people who are not happy and don’t want to be there. It could be challenging, but it can be exciting – a lot of opportunity. It was a good opportunity for me when I worked at the jail. I learned a lot. The men and women who do that job are just second to none.”

There is a current $5,000 sign on bonus for corrections officers at the jail.

Sheriff’s officers are also busy on the road.

Recently a 26-year-old Miami man was arrested in Georgia after fleeing a Marathon resort with a 16-year-old girl.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “This is so concerning for a parent if your 16-year-old daughter is gone with a person they knew. It appeared to be some type of relationship between these two. The mother was trying to be in contact with the daughter who was not contacting her.”

When the 26-year-old took a 16-year-old out of state, it was a serious thing.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Department worked with agencies in Georgia to find the couple.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The agencies there did a great job. We had a description of the car. They started going from area hotels and motels. They found the car parked at a Motel 8 on one of the interstates.”

The child was taken into protective custody.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The male was very combative and argumentative. He got charged with criminal charges there and we’ve got warrants coming out for him here. It’s a bad scene when you see adults that are in relationships with kids. The mother was extremely excited and happy that we were able to so quickly get this child in a safe, secure environment so quickly. It’s difficult to be a parent sometimes.”

A man from West Palm Beach was arrested Thursday for lewd and lascivious behavior in a Key Largo parking lot. He was partially clothed with a 14-year-old female.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “Alert deputies, proactive, working hard saw a suspicious car in a parking lot about 2 a.m., a black Mercedes. They went up to encounter the vehicle to see what was going on. They did find an adult partially clothed with a 14-year-old minor female. Very disturbing. Obviously the concern is for the well-being of the child. Very concerning when we see adults having relationships with kids. It’s just sickening. It’s sick to your stomach. We continue to talk about how difficult it is to be a police officer and how you think you’re just going up to a suspicious car parked in a parking lot at 2 a.m. to find an adult male half naked with a 14-year-old girl. That’s why we want our officers to continue to be proactive, but you never know what comes out of it.”

A Monroe County Corrections Officer was charged with DUI when he was found asleep behind the wheel of a private vehicle while off duty.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We want to be transparent. I always tell the citizens there’s so much great stuff the Sheriff’s Office does and you’re going to hear it from me, but every now and then our people make bad decisions just like other people in America and when that happens, good or bad, you’re going to hear it from me first. If you didn’t hear the news from me first it’s because I didn’t know.”

The Sheriff’s Department sent out a press release to talk about the corrections officer arrested for DUI.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I hold my people accountable. In fact I think sometimes our people get held at a higher standard which is okay by me.”

A traffic stop on US 1 found cocaine and pills on a man from Miami-Dade County recently. A police canine alerted to the presence of narcotics.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We found 1.8 ounces of cocaine. So we found what’s called trafficking level, trafficking weight of cocaine and he was arrested on a variety of charges. We continue to do our part to try to battle the war on drugs, but it is a difficult, challenging job in this nation and every community to deal with it. We’re doing the best we can to control it, to send messages to drug dealers and drug users that we’re going to do as much as we can to get them and arrest them.”

The See Something, Say Something rule is always in place in Monroe County, so any citizen that sees something suspicious is encouraged to call the police.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I always talk about the citizens being an extension of the Sheriff’s Office. Together we’re all working for the same common goal to keep the community safe and secure. I’ve got 200 deputies county wide. If I get all the citizens involved, then I’ve got 75,000 deputies. So we want the citizens to work with us, tell us what’s going on, talk to us about suspicious activity, something they’re hearing, help us solve crime, help us prevent crime. We continue to work on this partnership, relationship with the citizens to be one big team, one big gang.”

If it’s not an in-progress emergency, don’t call 911 – officers want to leave that line open for in the moment emergencies.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “If it’s not an in-progress emergency, we’d rather that you call our main dispatch center or stop by one of our stations. Everything is relevant to how critical this is and whether we need to do something this second or whether we have the ability to try to plan.”

The non-emergency number is 305-292-7000.