When it comes to keeping Key West safe, Chief Brandenburg and his officers are diligent about their job

July 14 — With the increase in fentanyl seen around the country, the drug is cropping up in the streets of Key West, too. 

Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM to discuss issues facing his department.

On June 23, the Key West Police Department, the KWPD special response team, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Homeland Security executed a search warrant at 1627 George Street. 

During the search, more than 19 grams of fentanyl was found. 

Chief Brandenburg said, “To remind everybody, just a few grains of sand of fentanyl is enough to overdose and kill someone, so 19 grams is a substantial amount of fentanyl.” 

Giovanni Malby, 38, was arrested for trafficking fentanyl. 

In 2017, fentanyl was responsible for 60% of the overdose deaths in the US. 

Chief Brandenburg said, “It’s a very dangerous drug. It takes a very small amount to overdose on and can be quite fatal.” 

Another search warrant about a week later on United Street recovered fentanyl, MDMA, cocaine and Xanax. Three adults were in the house as well as 16-month-old child. 

Possession charges and child neglect charges were the result of that search warrant. 

Chief Brandenburg said, “In talking to my narcotics guys, it’s quite common that pretty much any powder that we’re turning up here in Key West, regardless of what the dealer is labeling it as, it has some amount of fentanyl in it. It’s becoming quite popular in the illegal drug market.” 

So be aware, there is fentanyl on the streets of Key West. 

Chief Brandenburg assured, “We are doing everything we can to put these people that peddle in this toxic material in jail.” 

If given in time, NARCAN can be successful with fentanyl overdoses. Key West Police Officers will be outfitted with NARCAN in the future. 

A traffic stop just last night with the K9 unit discovered narcotics in the suspect’s car. The officer found cocaine, crack cocaine, amphetamines, psychedelic mushrooms, marijuana in multiple packages, a lot of pills and more than $6,000. 

Three arrests were made and they are currently being booked into the Monroe County Jail. 

When it comes to the health of the dog in the K9 unit, there’s always a risk that the dog could overdose when sniffing out narcotics. Officers carry a first aid kit with products to counteract the effects of drugs on the dog. 

Chief Brandenburg said, “I have K9 experience. When I had my K9 the one time, the bad guy had ripped open his big bag of cocaine and it had spilled all over the floor and they wanted my dog to go in there and alert to the drugs. I’m like absolutely not because that’s loose cocaine laying all over the floor my dog’s going to have to walk through and smell. I have a field test kit. I’ll tell you it’s cocaine. You don’t need the dog to tell you.”  

The Key West Police Department recently received accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement. 

Chief Brandenburg explained, “To be an accredited agency here in the state of Florida, you have to meet over 200 standards that are best practice for law enforcement agencies throughout the state. So we work throughout the year to make sure that all of our policies are within those standards and that we’re following those policies because you can talk the talk, but if you don’t walk the walk, it’s not any good. So we make sure that we not only have the policy that meets the standard, but we make sure the officers are following the policies that meet the standards and every three years they come in and they make sure every I is dotted and every T is crossed. They interview everyone that works here in the Key West Police Department.”

Officers are asked random questions about the standards to see that the officers know them from memory. 

Chief Brandenburg said, “We did an outstanding job there. This one was extra special. This one we got excelsior and in order to get the excelsior level, you have to have done five reaccreditations without any hiccups or problems.” 

It takes 15 years to reach the excelsior level and the KWPD is incredibly proud to have achieved that and will work diligently to keep it. 

Mike Stapleford of KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM said, “That’s a great honor for the department to receive that accommodation. Congratulations on that.” 

Eight applicants are currently going through the police academy to become a part of the Key West PD. KWPD is also looking for dispatchers.

Anyone interested is asked to call 305-809-1087 or log onto www.cityofkeywest-fl.gov

Crime statistics in Key West are quite good compared to the rest of the country. 

Chief Brandenburg said, “Especially considering some of the larger cities and the spikes of crime they’ve had. We have not seen that here in the City of Key West and we work hard to make sure that that’s not going to happen.”