Number nine for the day: Then didn’t send these out for a LONG time. They are getting caught up
Officers Nelson and Fernbach were on patrol and noticed three individuals fishing from a bridge in Eastpoint. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection and discovered they had of eight red drum, which seven were undersized. The individuals were also in possession of an undersized sheep head and spotted sea trout. The appropriate action was taken regarding the violations.
Officers Raker and Glover were on patrol in Apalachicola when they saw two individuals fishing from a bridge. The officers conducted a fisheries inspection and discovered they were in possession of two undersized red drum, two undersized spotted sea trout, and one undersized black drum. The appropriate action was taken regarding the violations.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
A tornado swept through Milton and left many residents without power. Roads and driveways were blocked by downed trees. Officers Land and Mullins patrolled the impacted area and aided residents. The officers assisted residents removing trees from roadways and cleared driveways so residents could enter and exit their homes.
Officers Cushing, Land, and Matechik were on patrol in Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officers inspected multiple individuals and found violations including operating vehicles on closed roads, operating ATVs in the WMA, littering in the WMA, and driving a vehicle without a tag. Sixteen citations and 15 warnings were issued. Some cases are pending regarding fleeing and eluding law enforcement, driving without a license (habitual offender), and violation of probation. Warrants will be filed with Santa Rosa County for the pending cases.
While on water patrol, Officer Cushing was dispatched to a 911 call from a woman onboard a vessel near Gulf Breeze. The woman stated the operator of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol and she was concerned for her safety. She stayed on the phone communicating with dispatch describing their location. Officer Cushing located the vessel underway east of the Three Mile bridge and initiated a vessel stop. Officer Cushing observed a female huddled on the floor of the boat crying holding a phone. He assisted her onto the patrol vessel. The operator of the vessel showed signs and behaviors of impairment. Due to the prevailing sea conditions and overall circumstances, Officer Cushing “hip towed” the vessel back to the operator’s residence where Officers Land and Wilkenson were waiting to assist. The operator showed indicators of impairment during the seated battery field sobriety tasks and was arrested for boating under the influence.
Lieutenant Marlow saw on social media that a local hunt club had dealt with a trespasser. He followed up with the hunt club and obtained a description of the person and vehicle. He located a campsite bordering the property near the hunt club that likely belonged to the trespasser. While at the campsite, he noticed the vehicle hidden in the woods of the adjoining private property. Lieutenant Marlow returned later to try and locate the individual and was accompanied by Officers Nelson and Raker. The individual was located and interviewed. During the interview, the vehicle was inspected and reported stolen from the adjoining county. Further inspection revealed that the ignition and many other features had been altered for operation of the vehicle. The individual had no title, bill of sale or history of ownership of the vehicle. He was arrested and the vehicle was returned to the owner.
Officers Wicker and N. Basford were on water patrol in St. Andrews Bay and observed a subject fishing from his vessel near Panama City Marina. The officers contacted the subject and conducted a marine resource inspection. While inspecting his catch the officers noticed the subject was showing signs of impairment. The subject performed field sobriety tasks and was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired and transported to the Bay County Jail.
Officer N. Basford received a complaint of several young people drinking alcohol and riding a wave runner at Deer Point Lake. She arrived at the area and observed a subject get on a wave runner without a life jacket and operating the PWC in a careless manner. The operator crashed the wave runner into the seawall and was thrown off onto the shore. Officer N. Basford contacted the operator to make sure he was not injured and had EMS respond to the scene. EMS arrived at the scene and cleared the operator. Field sobriety tasks were utilized, and the operator was arrested for operating a vessel while impaired. The operator attempted to flee the scene on foot but was apprehended and charged with boating under the influence, resisting without violence, violation of probation and operating a personal watercraft without wearing a life jacket. The operator was booked into the Bay County Jail.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
Officers Sapp, Tucker, Cheshire and Sankey patrolled Talbot and Amelia Island State Parks enforcing COVID-19 closures. Since the city parks and Duval County Beaches were reopened, there was confusion about whether the state parks were still closed. Despite signs, cones and other warnings, some people entered the parks. The officers issued nearly 30 warnings to people who entered the parks during the closure.
Officer Shearer observed several people harvesting shellfish in the area of Fort George Inlet and watched them as they dug clams and harvested oysters, putting them in large plastic containers. He approached the subjects and found them in possession of five gallons of clams and 10 gallons of oysters in an area that is closed to the harvest of shellfish. The individuals were cited accordingly, and the shellfish were returned to the water.
Officer Shearer observed three subjects trespassing on Jacksonville Electric Authority property fishing from a conveyor belt. As he approached, he saw a subject land a small fish. Officer Shearer identified himself and an inspection revealed two undersize black drum and four undersize red drum. The subject was cited appropriately.
Officer Specialist Shearer with Officers Schirbock and Hutchinson received a complaint from a local landowner of two individuals trespassing and hunting on his property. The landowner sent game camera footage of the subjects, but they were wearing masks in the pictures. The officers set up surveillance on the property and watched as several subjects climbed the landowners hunting stand and used their flashlight to shine a game feeder several times. When the officers made contact, the subjects had a rifle, shotgun with a light on the end, knives and several other flashlights. Appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Specialist’s Gill and Yates were called to assist Florida Highway Patrol with locating a subject who fled on foot from a traffic stop. Just before their arrival the suspect was apprehended approximately one-half mile away. Officer Specialist Gill deployed his K9 and searched for an item the suspect was holding while he fled on foot. The K9 located a clear plastic bag containing one pound of marijuana. The marijuana was turned over to Florida Highway Patrol for evidence.
Senior Officer Johnston received information from a turkey hunter regarding a large amount of garbage dumped at the entrance to his hunt club gate, creating an obstruction and preventing access to the property. Officer Johnston responded and discovered a fully intact shopping cart, children’s toys, and approximately 50lbs of miscellaneous household garbage. Officer Johnston located several articles of paperwork bearing an address and the names of several potential subjects. The investigation led to various locations, which resulted in a phone call from a subject who heard Officer Johnston was looking for him. The subject admitted to dumping the garbage and agreed to clean it up. Charges are being direct filed with the State Attorney’s Office for criminal littering.
Officers Sweat and Christmas received a complaint about illegal alligator trapping. Upon arrival at the location, the officers searched from a creek bank and located baited alligator hooks. The hooks were suspended above the waterline and baited with turkey breast. Near the area they also found a small boat that was hidden. They setup surveillance from two locations along the creek and later observed a man arrive, board the small vessel and began checking the hooks. While the man was checking the bait, the officers approached and apprehended the subject. Appropriate citations were issued.
Working from information gathered by Officer Geib, area officers worked the waters north of Fernandina on the Georgia border looking for untagged blue crab traps. Officers Schirbock and Shearer pulled 50 traps belonging to one commercial crabber and found 21 of them with no tags and several with unserviceable buoys and improper biodegradable panels. They met with the commercial fisherman and cited him accordingly.
Officer Pelzel was off duty when she observed a black van parked along Bulow Creek State Park. She had developed information earlier that subjects were hunting that area in a dark colored van. Officer Pelzel returned to the location on duty and observed a female in the van and made contact. The female said her son was turkey hunting within the State Park. Officer Pelzel also observed corn around the van. K9 Officer North and K9 Max arrived on scene to assist with locating the subject. The hunter was contacted and possessed a .22 caliber rifle, a set-up turkey decoy, and corn. Officer Pelzel issued a criminal citation for hunting within a state park and issued warnings for other violations.
Officers Thornton and Stoker were on water patrol in the area of Ponce Inlet when they observed a personal watercraft (PWC) with one female operator and two female passengers strike a sand bar, causing all three to be thrown from the PWC. Once underway again, Officer Thornton noticed the operator was not wearing a life jacket. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation. During the stop, Officer Thornton noticed signs of impairment from the operator. After conducting Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks, the operator was arrested for boating under the influence and transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail.
Officer Sapp received information on a male subject who shot an alligator in Debary. During his investigation, Officer Sapp determined that the man had shot the alligator multiple times along the shoreline of Lake Monroe. Officer Sapp charged the man with taking an alligator without the required permit.
Officer Vanas was observing fishermen at Shell Bluff boat ramp when he encountered a man cast netting bluegills and sunfish. An inspection of his catch revealed the man was in possession of 13 gamefish and did not have a fishing license. A computer check revealed the man had an active warrant out of Volusia County for resisting without violence. The man was cited for taking gamefish by unlawful method and no freshwater fishing license and booked into the Volusia County Jail for the warrant.
Officers Malicoat and Thornton were patrolling the Port Orange Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) when they observed an individual walking across the CWA while dragging a kayak. They spoke to the individual and he was aware it was a closed area and he had seen the signs he walked past. The man was issued a notice to appear for the violation.
Lieutenant Riley was on ATV patrol on the Seminole Ranch Conservation Area when he stopped two individuals in off road vehicles driving on the land. Both individuals were cited for destruction of public land with a motorized vehicle.
Lieutenant Riley was conducting resource inspections on Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area (WMA) during the spring turkey hunt when he stopped three separate vehicles for being in the WMA after sunset. Appropriate citations were issued to each driver.
Officer Navarino and Lieutenant Riley were on ATV patrol on Seminole Ranch Conservation Area conducting resource checks. Twelve individuals were stopped on the property for damaging public land with motorized vehicles. The officers issued six written warnings and six notices to appear.
Officer Navarino and Lieutenant Riley were on land patrol in the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area after sunset when they stopped two separate vehicles for being on the property while the area was closed. This was the second time Lieutenant Riley had stopped the individuals driving their vehicles on the property after sunset in the same week. Lieutenant Riley issued the subjects the appropriate citations.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
When checking a local pond in Hastings, Officers Lawshe and Ramsey observed persons using a cast net to catch gamefish. The appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Navarino and Lieutenant Riley were on airboat patrol in the area of the St. Johns River and Highway 520 when they observed a group of fishermen using a cast net. Upon inspection, the fishermen were found to be in possession of freshwater gamefish that were illegally taken with a cast net. The individuals were cited accordingly.
Officers Eller and Snyder investigated a subject who was renting jet skis illegally after receiving warnings for the same violation. Officers observed the subject renting vessels that were being operated on the Indian River. They documented each of these instances and compiled the evidence. Officers Eller and Snyder confronted the illegal livery owner and citations were issued accordingly.
Officers Eller and Snyder responded to a call regarding the illegal take of an American alligator. The officers located the subject at his residence who admitted to shooting and killing the alligator. Officers recovered the alligator’s processed meat, hide, and the firearm used in the crime. The evidence was seized, and citations were issued accordingly.
Lieutenant Lightsey received information about a man keeping undersized pompano on Melbourne Beach. Once he arrived at the location, he found a man fitting the description and approached him to conduct a resource inspection. The inspection revealed the man was in possession of three pompano, two of which were under the legal-size limit. A citation was issued for the offense.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
FWC officers from Putnam County, Marion County, and the Special Operations Group assisted Putnam County Sheriff’s Office in a search for a missing 12-year-old girl. The girl was located by FWC members in good health and was reunited with her family.
Officer Specialist Bibeau observed an individual fishing from the shore and conducted a fisheries inspection. The subject possessed an undersized, out of season snook. Officer Specialist Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for the fisheries violation along with two warnings for not obtaining a fishing license and not having a snook permit.
Officer Specialist Bibeau observed an individual actively fishing from the shoreline and conducted a fisheries inspection. The individual possessed three undersized mangrove snapper, three undersized black sea bass and one undersized lane snapper. Officer Specialist Bibeau also found that the individual did not have a valid fishing license. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued.
Officer Birchfield received information from DEP regarding an individual disturbing an archaeology site. He contacted the individual who admitted to planting some trees in the area not knowing it was a protected area. Officer Birchfield issued the man a warning and educated him about the area.
Officer Midolo was contacted by the Sanibel Police Department regarding a man who possibly had some illegal fish at a local fishing hotspot. When she arrived, Officer Midolo interviewed the man and found that he had harvested three undersized snook, an undersized redfish and an undersized sheepshead. In addition to the redfish and snook being undersized, the fish had also been harvested during the emergency closure that was put into effect to restore fish populations following a red tide event. Appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Garcia was on patrol in a closed state park when she observed indications someone may be in the park illegally. She located two men running pit-bulls with radio collars and wearing hog vests. The men denied hunting hogs in the closed park and said the radio collars were necessary because the dogs were known to run off after pigs. Officer Garcia escorted the men out of the park and issued citations for having dogs in the park without a leash and warnings for being in the park during the COVID19 closure.
Officers Garcia, Perry and Price responded to a landowner’s complaint of large numbers of subjects illegally entering his property. While patrolling the area, Officers Garcia and Perry saw two ATV’s driving towards their location. When they turned on the blue lights, the ATV’s quickly made a U-turn and started to flee. Officer Price was waiting on the opposite end of the trail and as the ATV’s approached, activated the blue lights on his ATV. Officer Price was able to get off his ATV just as one of them turned in front of him. The first ATV crashed into his patrol ATV narrowly missing Officer Price. The men were warned for trespassing on the property and a first-degree misdemeanor citation was issued to the man who crashed into Officer Price’s ATV. Cape Coral Police Department investigated the property damage and will be completing a report with pending charges.
Officer Self responded to the CREW (a property managed by South Florida Water Management District) in reference to people illegally accessing the area and trespassing. The area has been closed since April 4. Upon arrival, Officer Self contacted two individuals exiting the property. Both had been warned the day before by another FWC officer for the same violation. Each received notices to appear for entry onto closed district lands.
Officer Specialist Boyer and Officer Carter responded to a call on Lake Parker regarding individuals illegally cast netting game fish. During the inspection, Officer Carter discovered game fish in the boat. Possession of game fish with an illegal device is prohibited. One subject was issued a notice to appear.
Officer Carter was patrolling Saddle Creek Fish Management Area (FMA) and observed an individual in possession of a cast net. Officer Carter contacted the individual and addressed the violation. The subject was issued a notice to appear for possession of a cast net in an FMA.
Officer Munkwitz and Officer Earls were on patrol on Lake Kissimmee when they observed an airboat violating navigational rules by displaying illegal lighting. They conducted a vessel stop to address the violation. During the stop, the operator showed signs of impairment. After being administered sobriety tasks, the operator was arrested for operating a vessel under the influence and booked into the Polk County Jail.
Officer Earls and Officer Munkwitz were patrolling a known hot spot for trespassing violations. Officer Earls observed a subject in a cattle pasture fishing in a pond. Officer Munkwitz contacted the subject and it was determined he did not have permission to be on the property. Charges are pending.
While on water patrol on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes with Polk County Sheriff’s Deputies, Captain Brooks observed two subjects trespassing on CSX railroad property. They were both in possession of methamphetamine. The subjects were arrested and transported to jail.
While on water patrol on Lake Shipp, Captain Brooks and Polk County Sheriff’s Deputies observed a vessel operating in a careless manner. While conducting a vessel inspection the operator showed signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were conducted, and the operator was arrested for boating under the influence and transported to jail.
SEARCH AND RESCUES
A strong, squall-line thunderstorm occurred in the Tampa Bay area. Eight kayaks with ten people onboard became lost in the Weedon Island mangrove kayak trail during the storm. They tied off to a marker because they could not paddle back during the storm. Officer Resendez, Lieutenant VanTrees, Lieutenant Wells, Captain Holcomb and Major Young responded to the area. The FWC officers worked alongside St. Petersburg Fire Rescue personnel and located the lost kayakers. All the kayakers made it back to land safely.
MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
Officer Smith responded to a call on Dinner Lake in reference to a blue heron which was entangled in plastic. With the help of a nearby homeowner, Officer Smith was able to catch the heron and remove a plastic bottle from around its neck.
While on patrol, Officer Litherland was approached by employees of the Freedom Boat Club at John’s Pass who were concerned about a single baby duckling that they caught with a net in the swift current out of the pass. After taking possession of the baby duckling, Officer Litherland contacted a local certified wildlife rescue coordinator who willingly took in the abandoned baby duck.
Officer Munkwitz responded to a call in Lakeland about a red shoulder hawk aggressively attacking people in a neighborhood. Officer Munkwitz arrived on scene
and found the hawk had a nest in the area. The wildlife assistance biologist was contacted to help the homeowners with a solution.
SOUTH REGION A
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in federal waters offshore of Juno Beach when a charter vessel was observed actively fishing. A resource inspection of the vessel revealed three dolphin in the fish box. While speaking with the customers on board the vessel, Officer Brodbeck confirmed that the vessel was indeed charter fishing. The captain of the vessel could only produce a charter fishing license from 2017 and did not possess a federal charter boat dolphin/wahoo permit. The captain of the vessel was issued a resource citation for no charter fishing license and given a warning for not having a federal permit.
Officers Partelow and Brodbeck were on patrol in federal waters offshore of Jupiter when they observed a commercially registered vessel land a wahoo. The officers initiated a resource inspection, and the captain of the vessel stated he was engaged in commercial fishing. The captain could only produce a valid saltwater products license, with no restricted species endorsement or federal dolphin/wahoo permit. Additionally, the captain was unable to produce any required safety gear for a commercially registered vessel. The captain was issued a resource citation for no restricted species endorsement and given written warnings for the remaining violations.
Officer Brodbeck was on patrol offshore of Boynton Beach when a vessel was observed with three occupants actively fishing. A resource inspection discovered numerous fisheries violations. Officer Brodbeck located several undersized mutton snapper, undersized yellowtail snapper, out-of-season grouper, and marine life violations pertaining to the possession of queen triggerfish. Additionally, no one on board the vessel was in possession of a valid saltwater fishing license. Officer Brodbeck seized 14 fish and issued two resource citations and four warnings to the operator of the vessel, who took responsibility for the violations.
SOUTH REGION B
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Officer Presser was conducting surveillance on a sea wall in downtown Miami and observed two subjects catch a large shark and remove it from the water using a tail rope. Officer Presser contacted the subjects to conduct a resource inspection and found that the shark was a lemon shark which is a prohibited species. Officer Presser assisted the subjects with quickly returning the shark to the water alive. Both subjects were issued criminal notice to appear citations for removing a prohibited shark species from state waters and cited for not being in possession of recreational saltwater shoreline fishing licenses. Both subjects received warnings for not being in possession of shore-based shark fishing permits and for not using circle hooks when targeting sharks from shore.
Officers Pestka and Hoppe were at Card Sound Bridge when they noticed two individuals in the water with snorkels and no dive flag. The men saw the officers and climbed up into mangroves to attempt to hide. Officer McKay arrived on scene with a patrol vessel and the three officers began looking for the men. The subjects were apprehended and possessed spearguns and two illegally speared barracuda. The men were cited for illegally spearfishing in the Upper Keys, having no dive flag, and one speared barracuda.
Officer Jacobs and Officer Weichhan observed two individuals fishing from the mangroves at Steamboat Creek. They watched the subjects who appeared to be hiding fish. After contacting the subjects and finding they possessed no fish, Officer Weichhan checked the surrounding area and discovered a bucket containing seven mangrove snapper, four of which were undersized. The appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Georgevich was on land patrol when he observed people fishing at a popular spot. Several buckets and coolers were in the area. Upon his approach, Officer Georgevich observed one person in the group catch and release an undersized mangrove snapper. A resource inspection revealed one mangrove snapper and one gag grouper. Gag grouper season is closed, and the grouper was six inches short of the minimum 24” requirement. Officer Georgevich cited the violator accordingly.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
During a severe storm, FWC received multiple Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) notifications of several individuals in distress. Officers responded to a report of four individuals who had flipped kayaks and were being blown away from their gear. Officers Kleis, Curbelo, and Lieutenant Balfour, along with Collier County deputies and Fire Rescue responded to the area. After searching for short time in severe weather conditions, all individuals were located unharmed and returned to land.
MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
Investigators Garrison and Alvarez were dispatched to a dolphin entangled in trap line bayside of Layton. Investigator Alvarez and a biologist boarded the reporting party’s vessel with his permission to approach the dolphin. The biologist entered the water, restrained the dolphin, and cut the trap line as Investigator Alvarez maintained a hold on the biologist. The trap line, buoy and trap were collected so biologists could obtain remaining tissue samples of the dolphin. After removal of the trap line, officers followed the dolphin to ensure there were no issues with its behavior.