When it comes to the police, it’s good to remember to stand up for those who stand up for you

When a Monroe County Sheriff’s Officer starts his or her day, there’s no telling what could happen in just one shift.

Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about what’s going on in the county.

The Trauma Star investigation on the flight nurse who was stealing and potentially using drugs is ongoing. The Sheriff’s Office was brought into the case by Fire and Rescue.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We expected all Fire and Rescue personnel to cooperate fully in this investigation because we all should be concerned about an employee who may be stealing, using narcotics and the paramedics have a responsibility, not only ethically, but under Florida code 64J to report these types of things and it did not happen.”

When the Sheriff’s Office began the investigation, the flight nurse was arrested. Other witnesses were interviewed.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “What we found is a lot of these medics who were assigned to the program, quasi circled the wagons and it was almost an organized conspiracy to elude us, to hamper, hinder, oppose, obstruct our investigation. Consisting of people lying to us, destroying evidence, going through all means to disavow any knowledge of it, disavow any knowledge of conversations they were part of, text messages they were part of, pictures that they had seen or taken of discrepancies. It’s sad because the majority of the men and women in Monroe County Fire and Rescue are good, hardworking men and women who do a great job each and every day, but unfortunately the actions of one or two reflect poorly on the bunch. They didn’t have the care to do the right thing. Their actions were destructive and we said in the beginning, only one person needed to go to jail, but unfortunately, some others are forcing their way into jail or causing their own problems.”

Two other firefighter paramedics have been arrested on a variety of charges, including official misconduct, destroying evidence and obstructing justice.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “They just needed to tell the truth, which they should have done voluntarily anyway. We are not going to allow anybody to obstruct, hinder this investigation. Anybody who does is subject to criminal arrest.”  

In terms of why someone would not tell the truth, self-preservation was likely a factor. They didn’t want to incriminate themselves.

Sheriff Ramsay added, “I don’t think they wanted to get this woman, a co-worker in trouble. They were probably trying to mitigate and limit the impact on her and surely not try to help a case against her. I’m sure they didn’t want to be perceived as throwing somebody under the bus. They were probably concerned whether they would get in trouble administratively because they had not come forward and we knew that period of time that they were aware that drugs were being taken and misused and logs were being falsified – drug laws. Yet, they never came forward to notify law enforcement.”

For whatever reason, they didn’t do what they were supposed to do and will face charges. As part of the paramedic license, they are required to notify management when they see violations.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s sad. I know these guys. I like these guys.”

Mike Stapleford of KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM said, “They made poor decisions, unfortunately, and now they have to answer to it. They may have thought they were trying to do the right thing, but unfortunately they were not. We’re sorry to hear about that.”

A 58-year-old Sugarloaf Key man was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) on Friday with a blood alcohol content of .434. The legal limit is .08. He was found by US Navy personnel in a parked Ford Mustang at 1:14 a.m. He couldn’t stand on his own and taken to Lower Keys Medical Center and subsequently charged.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “That puts him about five and a half times the legal limit. At that level, it does require you to go to the hospital because your intoxication level is so high, you are subject to alcohol poisoning or other related medical problems. That’s the point where you literally can’t even stand, but yet people like that are still driving these cars and getting behind the wheel. We thank our friends at the United States Navy.”

A Fort Lauderdale man was arrested last week in a stolen jeep while traveling 70 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone in Key Colony Beach. He was charged with DUI, grand theft of a motor vehicle, speeding, resisting arrest and battery.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We always talk about these people who draw more attention to themselves. If you’re drunk, if you’re in a stolen vehicle, you probably shouldn’t be doing 70 in a 25. You’ve got a neon light saying please stop me.”

When officers did stop him, he was combative and that’s what brought up the battery charged.

A woman trying to get fentanyl into the jail was arrested on drug charges recently.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “She had enough fentanyl to kill literally thousands of people. She was hiding it up inside her vaginal area. We had to get an x-ray. We believed she was hiding something inside her person. So we did get an x-ray, went to the hospital, determined she was, in fact, hiding controlled substances in her vaginal area.”

Because of the search, it kept a lot of fentanyl out of the jail.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “I couldn’t imagine having that amount of fentanyl get into that correctional facility. We could have had multiple people killed in our facility with those drugs. Again, we keep talking about how challenging it is to be a police officer these days. It’s a tough job out there each and every day.”

Stapleford agreed, “We appreciate what you and your department do every day.”

In the last week alone, 15 police officers were shot in the line of duty in the United States.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “We’re seeing officers called to scenes, just to lure you there and when you arrive to get out of your car, just to attack you and shoot you.”

Three officers were shot in Connecticut last week and two of them passed away.

This morning a New York City police officer was run over by four thugs in a stolen car.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The continued acts of violence against people who are risking their lives to protect other people’s (lives). I’ve got to say Monroe is so good to support our law enforcement, but across the nation, not as good. I think we need to see citizens across the nation stand up and start showing support for law enforcement. People are not stepping forward because they’re afraid if they do, they’re going to be ridiculed by somebody. Someone who doesn’t like cops, they’re going to maybe be classified as a racist or somehow assaulted verbally, but at some point in time, you’ve got to stand up for what’s right and you’ve got to stand up for the people who are standing up for you.”

Last Wednesday, two people came from Cuba on sail boards.

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It just goes to show you how desperate things are in third world countries where you’re willing to get on a sail board and try to sail board over from Cuba to the United States in the middle of the night.”