With Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, accountability is the key

If you do wrong in the Keys, you will be held accountable. No matter what.

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

A recent case saw a Monroe County Sheriff’s Officer arrested.

Detective Sergeant Nick Whiteman from the Upper Keys Investigative Division was arrested last week for battery after engaging in a full nelson wrestling move with a subordinate officer. The unprovoked attack resulted in an injury to the employee. 

The victim, a detective, wanted to pursue charges and made a criminal complaint. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “There were independent witnesses to verify the story.” 

Whiteman is suspended without pay pending the internal affairs investigation. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It’s a shame to see this. I don’t know why this took place. The best we can tell there was no prior incidents. There was nothing leading up to this. It appeared to be unprovoked. I have almost 600 employees and sometimes our employees make mistakes or do things wrong and when they do, I always make sure our listeners hear the good from the Sheriff’s Office, but even when something bad happens, I make sure they hear it from me first. I make sure I send a message internal and external that I’m going to hold our people accountable for their actions, whether they be good or in this case, poor. It’s a sad situation.” 

A teenager was arrested in the Keys for making threats — a 14-year-old and some other juveniles got into an argument that got out of hand. 

Electronic messages were sent threatening to shoot and kill one of the teens involved in the argument. School violence was discussed and the 14-year-old said he was willing to go to school and enact this violence in the classroom setting. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “As soon as we see any type of threats toward anybody, but especially schools and kids, everything comes to a stop. We put full force efforts on these type of incidents. We brought in our Threat Management Team, our detectives.” 

The 14-year-old was arrested for electronic threats to kill or do bodily harm. 

“It’s sad to see this,” Sheriff Ramsay said. “We have to take every threat as a legitimate threat. Whether this young man would or wouldn’t have gone through with these threats, we don’t know, but we’re never going to give someone a chance to carry out these threats if we can. We’re going to take every effort to take every threat one hundred percent serious, hold those accountable, protect our kids and our schools to make sure they’re safe. That’s our job is to protect our kids, our schools, our communities. We hope that this young man learns from this lesson. We hope the parents step up, hold this young man accountable, have better control of him, what he’s doing, who he’s with, where he’s at. Kids have access to cell phones, computers. Parents own these, buy these, have the ability to put programs on where they can see what text messages are being sent and received. They should be checking the juvenile’s computers to see what’s happening.”

Some parents believe checking phones and computers is an invasion of privacy. 

Sheriff Ramsay assured, “The reality is, no it’s not. Parents buy these phones and computers. They own it. It’s not an invasion of privacy. It’s good parenting to have some check and balance and make sure you know who your kids are talking to, what messages are being sent by other kids that may be trying to get them in trouble for drugs or parties or sexual activity.”

Controls like this are quite important, especially in this day and age. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “The goal is to be the parent. We see a lot of problems where kids offend or get in trouble, we see a history of the parents not parenting and not having accountability and letting the kids do what they want, when they want, where they want and it doesn’t work out well. We hope that these are lessons learned for the kids and the parents and will create future good behavior and get these kids back on track.” 

A road rage incident recently on US 1 saw a 24-year-old Colorado man brandishing a handgun from his vehicle. There had apparently been tailgating and changing lanes and gestures. 

When the male brought out the gun, the woman in the other car called the Sheriff’s Department and provided a description of the vehicle and the gun, which had an American flag logo on it. 

The man was found and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as well as other charges. 

“It’s a shame to see this,” Sheriff Ramsay said. “People are driving more aggressive these days. People are more apt to have road rage and acts of violence, whether it be physical or brandishing weapons. We’re pretty vigilant to get these people stopped pretty quickly. It’s one road and the Sheriff’s Office is vigilant to stop these road rage incidents and arrest and hold these people accountable when they do occur. This is still one of the safest communities anywhere when compared to other areas, but stupid things do happen and a lot of times when stupid things are occurring like these, they’re from out of county, people coming into this county thinking this behavior is acceptable where they’re from, but surely not here in Monroe.” 

A body found at Higgs Beach recently showed no signs of foul play, but an investigation is still under way. A medical exam will determine cause of death. It appears to be a man in his 60s. The sheriff’s office is looking for any information. 

Sheriff Ramsay said, “It doesn’t appear to be criminal in nature at this time, but our goal always is to make sure that there’s no foul play and to identify family members so they can be made aware.” 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 305-289-2410.

Heavy traffic is expected for Fantasy Fest this weekend. 

Sheriff Ramsay reminded, “If you don’t need to drive somewhere, stay off the road the best you can. If you’re going somewhere, plan ahead. Leave early. Be patient. Watch out for all the crazies. It’s going to be a busy weekend. It’s just that time of year. We have a large influx of people here, party, drinking stuff going on. Have a good time, be safe, but also factor in the amount of traffic and people that are going to be down here.”