Officer McHenry received information regarding a subject who was catching undersized Spanish mackerel at Fort Pickens. He responded to the area and found the subject in possession of seven undersized Spanish mackerel. Officer McHenry learned that the subject had a local warrant out of Escambia County. Officer McHenry cited the individual for undersized Spanish mackerel and transported him to the Escambia County Jail for the warrant.
Officers Pifer, Baber, and Scott were on vessel patrol when they saw a vessel on plane in the idle speed/no wake zone on the east side of Crab Island. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation and conduct a boating safety inspection. During the stop, the operator showed signs of impairment and Officer Scott administered standardized field sobriety tasks. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance on the sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. At U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin, the operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.104 blood alcohol content and 0.098 blood alcohol content. The operator was cited for BUI and violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.
Officers Pifer, Baber, and Scott were on vessel patrol when they saw a vessel on plane in the idle speed/no wake zone on the east side of Crab Island. A vessel stop was initiated to address the violation. During the stop, an 18-month-old child was on board not wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) while the vessel was under way and the operator showed signs of impairment. Officer Pifer then administered standardized field sobriety tasks. Based on observations of the vessel in motion, personal contact with the operator, and the operator’s performance on the field sobriety tasks, the operator was placed under arrest for BUI. At the U.S. Coast Guard Station Destin, the operator agreed to provide a breath sample and the results were 0.159 blood alcohol content and 0.177 blood alcohol content. The operator was cited for BUI, violation of the idle speed/no wake zone, and operating a vessel with child under six on board not wearing a PFD. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.
Officer Bartlett and Investigator Molnar were on vessel patrol at Crab Island and saw a pontoon vessel traveling on plane in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The officers initiated the patrol vessel blue lights signaling for the operator to bring the pontoon vessel to a stop. The operator waved at the officers and continued traveling south toward the Destin Marler Bridge. As the officers were approaching the stern of the vessel, they saw the operator slow the vessel down and then walk away from the helm while the vessel was still in gear. The operator then walked to the stern of the pontoon boat and attempted to establish contact with the officers while leaving his vessel not under command and still making headway. Another vessel that was in the path of the pontoon had to take immediate action to move out of the away to avoid a collision. While speaking with the operator, Officer Bartlett immediately saw his eyes were watery/glassy and his balance was unsteady while walking around the vessel. Throughout the safety inspection, the operator displayed signs of impairment. The operator agreed to perform standard field sobriety tasks (FSTs). Based on the operation of the vessel and the FSTs, the operator was arrested for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.
Officer Bartlett and Investigator Molnar were on vessel patrol at Crab Island and saw a 22-foot vessel traveling on plane in violation of the idle speed/no wake zone. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. Officer Bartlett contacted the operator and conducted a boating safety inspection. Officer Bartlett saw the operator’s eyes were watery and glassy. When asked for the required safety equipment, the operator did not remember where the items were currently stored and had to search the vessel to locate each item. The operator agreed to perform standard field sobriety tasks (FSTs). Based on the operator’s conduct and the FSTs, he was arrested for BUI. The operator provided a breath sample, resulting in 0.123 blood alcohol content and 0.141blood alcohol content. The operator was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.
Officer Pifer was on land patrol conducting boating safety inspections at the Marler Park Boat Ramp. The officer conducted a safety equipment inspection on a personal watercraft (PWC). During the inspection, the operator was unable to produce the vessel’s registration and fire extinguisher. Officer Pifer determined the operator rented the PWC from a local livery. Due to his age, the operator was required to complete a boater safety course. The operator did not have a boater safety card. The officer issued notice to appear citations to the individual at the livery for renting a vessel without proof of insurance with sufficient coverage amounts and for renting a vessel with more than 10 horsepower to a person without a boater safety education ID card. He was also issued three boating warnings for failure to display the required boating safety sign for personal watercraft, failure to receive a written statement from the operator attesting to receiving instructions on the safe handling of a PWC, and for failure to conduct an on-the-water demonstration and check-ride.
Officer Wilkenson received a complaint regarding two subjects harvesting undersized Spanish mackerel at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. Based on the description provided by the complainant, the officer located the two subjects. The fisheries inspection revealed 15 of the 22 harvested Spanish mackerel were undersized. Both harvesters were issued notice to appear citations. The 15 undersized Spanish mackerel were seized and donated to Emerald Coast Wildlife.
Officer Wilkenson received a complaint of battery occurring at a Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park campsite. The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on-scene first. When Officer Wilkenson arrived, he saw the deputies speaking with an adult female later identified as the victim. It was determined that this was a domestic violence situation. The victim provided a sworn written statement stating that the male subject had been drinking and started to hit and strangle her. It was determined the male subject was the primary aggressor and was arrested for domestic violence. He was transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed. He was cited for battery domestic violence and issued a no trespass warning from the state park.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officers Hutchinson and Mullins were patrolling on the Escambia River concentrating on illegal fishing activity when they saw a freshly set bush hook that was baited with a live bream and not identified as required with the owner’s name and address. They continued patrolling and located several more similar lines baited with bream. They hid their patrol vessel and waited until just before daylight when they heard a boat approaching. They saw the operator of the boat check all the lines. The officers stopped the vessel to address the violation. The operator admitted to baiting the lines with bream despite knowing that it was illegal. The officers issued him a notice to appear citation for using bream for bait and fishing with untagged bush hooks.
Officer Roberson was on land patrol when he received information regarding a subject operating an ATV near Burnt Grocery Creek in Yellow River Wildlife Management Area. Officer Roberson located the subject and ran his information through dispatch. The subject’s information came back with a warrant out of Santa Rosa County. Officer Roberson received confirmation of the warrant and instructed the subject to put his hands behind his back because he was under arrest for the warrant. The subject refused multiple times and fled on foot. The subject crossed a creek and took off in a vehicle. The suspect was arrested a few days later by Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office for the same warrant. The suspect was issued multiple citations by Officer Roberson at the Santa Rosa County Jail.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
While working off duty at Mary Esther Cutoff and Highway 98, Officer Bartlett was monitoring a complaint received by FWC Orlando Regional Communication Center regarding a call about a disoriented, overdue boater. The last known location showed the boater at the Mid-Bay Bridge. The officer cleared his off-duty status and went to his patrol vessel to search for the disoriented boater. With Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, he located the boater very quickly. He side-towed the vessel to a local marina where the 66-year-old boater’s son later picked him up. When the vessel ran out of fuel, the overdue boater called 911. It was determined the operator launched his boat the previous day in Navarre. It was estimated he was on the boat for over 21 hours.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
Investigator Thomason worked a scallop detail off Crystal River. While on patrol, he wrote seven reckless vessel operation citations for vessels above idle speed and within 300 feet of a vessel flying a dive flag. The closest vessel was within 40 feet away from a vessel with snorkelers in the water. In addition, he wrote seven UBCs for a variety of vessel safety violations. His efforts during this detail potentially prevented someone from being seriously hurt or killed.
Officer Ulrich was on land patrol when he located a truck parked in the woods adjacent to a wildlife management area (WMA) during early morning hours. Upon approaching the vehicle, he saw an empty bow case in plain view on the backseat of the unoccupied vehicle. Officer Ulrich tracked and located the subject wearing camouflage and carrying a compound bow with hunting broadheads in the WMA. The subject admitted to hunting the WMA during closed season and was issued misdemeanor citation along with other WMA written warnings.
Officers VanNess and Crane were on foot patrol on the east side of Citrus County when they saw five individuals running dogs in SWFMD/Forestry property late at night. The officers saw the individuals calling to the dogs and, on several occasions, witnessed hogs being bayed up in an area closed to hunting. After about an hour, the individuals returned to their vehicles with several GPS collared dogs. The officers made contact and issued each subject a misdemeanor citation for hunting in a closed area and warnings for unlawful entry and unlawful hours.
Lieutenant Humphries worked several active dump sites of waste tires throughout Suwannee County. After carefully watching these areas, a suspect was identified. With further investigation from Investigator Delgado and DEP Regulator Oliverio, the suspect was issued the appropriate paperwork and proper notification of disposal.
Officer Hoover and Investigator Holleman entered a seafood establishment in plain clothes as a store clerk was purchasing blue crabs from two Georgia subjects. After the transaction, the officers identified themselves and conducted a license check. Neither the sellers or the purchaser was licensed through FWC as a Florida Wholesale Dealer. A citation was issued for unlawful purchase by a retail dealer from an unlicensed dealer.
Lieutenant Paul Arkin responded to a report of two subjects who had trapped an American alligator and were driving around the west side of Jacksonville with the animal in their car. Lieutenant Arkin located the vehicle and occupants at a local restaurant in Jacksonville. The two subjects admitted that they knew it was illegal to possess and/or trap an alligator without a license or permit. Both subjects were issued misdemeanor notices to appear in Duval County court for taking or unlawful possession of any alligator or the eggs without a permit/trapping license.
On Sunday, Officer Albritton received information about a deer that had been killed the night before on Four Rivers property. Officer Albritton went to the location of the complaint and located a freshly killed doe deer. The officer talked to the complainant and got a description of the subjects involved. Officer Albritton and Lieutenant Loyed located three different subjects and conducted interviews with them. All three subjects admitted to being together the night before and shooting the deer. Officer Albritton seized a shotgun and will be filling multiple charges on all three subjects.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Boone participated in a summer safety program that was coordinated by the Suwannee County Department of Health. Participating agencies included Department of Health, Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office and Suwannee County Fire & Rescue. Officer Boone presented information on boating safety, resource conservation, conflict wildlife and state vessel regulations.
On Friday, Officer Green went on the air with the “Gone Fishing Show” on 102.5 FM in Jacksonville. The two-hour radio show addresses fishing, outdoor recreation and related issues in the North Florida area. Officer Green and the show’s hosts discussed several topics during the show, including the upcoming red snapper season.
Officer Barry participated in the National Night Out event at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. She spoke about boating safety, fishing, and hunting to approximately 200 people.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
Officer Thomas and Lieutenant Zukowsky assisted FDLE Agents with providing security for Florida First Lady Ann Scott. The Governor’s wife visited Fort Mose Historic State Park in north St. Augustine to speak to a large gathering of school children as part of her statewide literacy initiative. Following the First Lady’s presentation, she toured the park, which has become historically memorialized as home to the first liberated slaves in the United States.
Following up on a tip from Northeast Region investigators, Officer Thomas tracked down a St. Augustine man who had been feeding an adult alligator at a senior citizen community pond. The subject admitted to Officer Thomas that he had fed the alligator on multiple occasions. The subject was issued a citation for the violation and Officer Thomas contacted FWC’s Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) personnel to have the habituated reptile removed from the community.
Officer Miller completed a boating accident investigation regarding a collision between two runabout type vessels that occurred in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) just north of the State Road 312 Bridge. The accident, which occurred in late July, involved two parties of local people who were heading south in the ICW returning to Palm Coast. The lead vessel (an operator and three occupants) slowed down as it approached the boating regulatory slow speed zone under the bridge. The following vessel (an operator and two occupants) did not observe the zone and did not notice the lead vessel had slowed until the last second. The following vessel struck the stern of the lead vessel, ramped up over its stern area, the slid back into the water. The lead vessel sustained fiberglass damage to its stern. Only one person received any injuries, minor abrasions that did not require treatment beyond first aid. Officer Miller issued the operator of the following vessel two uniform boating citations and two written warnings for navigation rule and speed zone violations.
Officer Graves returned from assisting North Central Region personnel as part of their annual special detail focusing on enforcement of resource and boating safety violations during the opening days of the scallop season. Officer Graves worked with local FWC law enforcement officers for five days on the waters of the Gulf in and around Citrus County.
Officer Lawrence returned from a special detail in South Region B after a week of assisting local FWC law enforcement officers in the Florida Keys during the spiny lobster mini-season.
Officer Specialist Greenier and Officer Harris were on water patrol during the late afternoon hours just north of the Vilano Bridge when they were flagged down by a vessel. The occupants of the vessel stated that there was a vessel operating in a reckless manner and tried to spray them three times. On the third pass, one of the reporting occupants took a cell phone video. Officers Greenier and Harris watched the video and obtained the vessel registration number. They were also able to get a photo of the offending occupants. The officers located the vessel in the Intracoastal Waterway north of the Guana River entrance. The officers saw open containers of alcohol aboard the vessel and the four occupants were all under 21. After admitting to consuming the beverages, the occupants voluntarily disposed of the drinks. Officer Greenier issued the vessel operator a notice to appear citation for possession of alcohol under the age of 21. Officer Harris issued three citations and one written warning for safety gear violations.
Lieutenant Zukowsky, Officer Specialist Greenier and Officer Harris were on water patrol during the early evening hours on the south side of the Vilano Bridge in the Intracoastal Waterway. The officers saw a vessel entering the Vilano Bridge slow speed zone on plane. The vessel was about 150 yards into the speed zone when Officer Harris initiated a vessel stop. Officer Greenier noticed the operator of the vessel had bloodshot and watery eyes and smelled of the odor of an alcoholic beverage. After speaking with the operator for a few minutes, Officer Greenier administered a series of standardized field sobriety tasks. After the completion of the tasks, Officer Greenier concluded that the operator was operating a vessel while impaired. He then placed him under arrest and transported him to the St. John’s County Jail. The operator provided two breath samples (.113 and a .113, almost two hours after the initial stop). Officer Greenier booked the operator into the jail for boating under the influence .08 or higher, issued him a citation for the infraction of failing to carry the sufficient number of life jackets for the eight people on board the board, and a written warning for the speed zone violation.
Officers Thomas and Lawrence were on Joint Enforcement Action (JEA) patrol east of the St. Augustine Inlet during the first weekend of the red snapper opening in Atlantic federal waters. After inspecting several vessels, they came across a party of four local subjects. The party had harvested several vermillion snapper, a triggerfish and a barracuda; however, the 36 vermilion snapper put the four subjects over their daily bag limit by 16. Also, three of the snapper were undersized. The vessel captain claimed responsibility for the snapper violations and received a federal citation for the bag limit and size violations. The vessel captain voluntarily returned to the water the extra 16 snapper.
Officer Specialist Greenier was on afternoon land patrol heading south on Highway US1 into Bunnell when he saw a vehicle failing to maintain a single lane – crossing the center dotted line three times. He initiated a traffic stop. The owner of the vehicle had slurred speech and bloodshot and watery eyes. Following a series of standardized field sobriety tasks, Officer Greenier placed the operator under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). Officer Greenier transported and booked the driver into the Flagler County Jail for DUI where he refused to provide a breath sample. Officer Greenier issued him a citation for failing to drive in a single lane.
U.S. Coast Guard personnel were on water patrol in the New Smyrna Beach area and stopped a vessel for a vessel safety inspection. During their inspection they became concerned that the vessel’s operator was possibly boating under the influence (BUI). They notified FWC Officer Bertolami who met with them and investigated. The operator was subsequently arrested and booked in the county jail for BUI and cited for refusing to submit to a breath test.
Officer Edson was performing resource inspections from land when he encountered a subject in the Port Orange area. The man was found to be in possession of undersized black drum and undersized mangrove snapper. He was issued a citation and a written warning for the violations.
Officers Vanas and Ward conducted a vessel stop at a boat ramp in Astor on the St. John’s River to perform a safety inspection. During the inspection the operator exhibited signs of impairment. Officer Vanas conducted a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation and arrested the operator for BUI. He refused to provide a breath sample.
Officers Vanas and Sapp were on water patrol on the Intracoastal Waterway in Daytona when they stopped a vessel for a safety inspection. During the inspection the operator exhibited obvious signs of impairment. After conducting a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation, Officer Vanas arrested the operator for BUI. He refused to provide a breath sample.
Officer Haskins was sitting at a traffic light in Ormond Beach when he saw a vehicle travel slowly through the intersection and strike a power pole. He approached the vehicle and found the driver to be unresponsive, but semi-conscious. A small child was standing, crying in the back seat of the vehicle unrestrained. Officer Haskins instructed the child to unlock the door and was able to safely remove the child. At this time the driver appeared to have convulsions and hit the accelerator, taking off again. The vehicle traveled up the ramp to I-95 and crashed against multiple objects before coming to rest. All airbags deployed, and the operator was found on the passenger side floorboard with a serious head wound. EMS arrived and transported the driver. The child was turned over to his paternal grandfather. Officer Haskins’ actions saved this small child from serious injury. The crash investigation was turned over to FHP.
Officers Bertolami and Muina cited two adult males in the Ormond Beach area for the criminal charge of possessing snook during the closed season and not having the proper licenses. Officer Bertolami also found an adult male at a local beach pier in possession of seatrout that were not within the legal slot size, and another adult male with black drum that were not within the legal slot size near the High Bridge. Both were issued notices to appear.
An annual event inside Ponce de Leon Inlet, known as Beerpalooza, was held recently. This event has taken place over the past few years and attracts a much larger crowd than is usual for the sandbar and piece of land known as Disappearing Island. Extra FWC officers and several agencies with multiple officers were brought in to ensure the public’s safety on the sandbar and while transiting to and from the island by boat.
Officer Bertolami stopped a boat that was being operated in a careless manner. After addressing the issue with the adult male operator, a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation resulted in the operator arrested for BUI and refusing to submit to a breath test. He was transported and booked into the Volusia County Jail.
Officers Rice and Auber were on patrol when they saw two subjects returning to a truck from a small pond. The subjects were carrying fishing poles and a bucket. The officers contacted the subjects to conduct a resource inspection. The officers saw fish in the bucket that was being carried by one of the subjects and located a cooler full of fish in the bed of the truck. During the inspection, the two subjects were found to be in possession of 21 black bass. During a post Miranda interview, the subjects admitted to catching the 21-black bass, 15 of which were over 16-inches in length. Appropriate citations were issued to both subjects.
In May 2018 Lieutenant Dickson and Officer Wester responded with Putnam County Sheriff’s Office to a trespassing complaint in Palatka. Upon arrival it was found that two male subjects were excavating artifacts from a known and listed archaeological site. The subjects were arrested at that time by the Sheriff’s Office for trespass after warning and possession of methamphetamine. Lieutenant Dickson had bones that were mixed in with the recovered artifacts examined by a state archaeologist and found that two fragments were human from a historic period. Felony charges have been filed with the State Attorney’s Office for excavating from a known archaeological site and removal of human remains from an archaeological site.
Officers Guirate, Chriest, and Lieutenant Dickson responded to a vessel crash with injuries near Brown’s Landing on the St John’s River. Two PWC were riding near each other when one stopped and the other ramped over it, striking a female subject and knocking her in the water unconscious. The female regained consciousness and was treated at the hospital for injuries to her face, wrist, and ear. Immediately following the crash, the operator of the offending PWC left the area and proceeded to the Palatka boat ramp where he fled the scene in a truck. The operator was cited for leaving the scene of a boating crash with injuries.
Lieutenant Dickson was on night patrol in the Ocala National Forest when he saw a truck blocking the roadway with its doors open and two male subjects outside. A traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle and during the investigation one subject was found to be in possession of marijuana. The subject was cited for possession of cannabis under 20 grams.
Officer Morrow was on land patrol checking subjects at a spillway at the southwest end of Lake Griffin. He saw that one of the subjects was dip netting baitfish along the water’s edge and placing them in a styrofoam bait bucket. When he inspected the catch collected with the net he found 28 small bluegill inside the bucket mixed with shiners. The subject admitted that he netted the fish and was using them for bait to catch bass. The subject was issued a citation for the violation.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Lieutenant Hudson assisted Wounded Warriors Outdoors in hosting five warriors in an alligator hunt on the St. Johns River. FWC provided the permits for this annual hunt.
Officer Karr was on night patrol when he saw a vehicle traveling slowly down the road. As he followed the truck, he saw a spotlight shine out of both the passenger and driver side windows, illuminating orange groves on both sides of the road. The truck stopped in the middle of the rural road and the driver turned off all the truck’s lights. Officer Karr caught up to the truck and activated his emergency lights. When he approached the vehicle, there was an empty dog box in the back of the truck and the tailgate was open. After interviewing the driver, two dogs wearing GPS tracking collars walked up to the truck. Soon, two subjects also walked up the truck and admitted to riding in the truck. Both subjects were wet and sandy and one of the subjects had a dog leash wrapped around his torso. Neither subject admitted to casting the dogs out of the truck for hunting hogs. Charges will be direct filed with the State Attorney’s Office for hunting off the roadway.
While on night patrol Officer Karr saw what looked like spotlights shining from a vehicle in an orange grove. He watched the lights from the roadway and waited for the vehicle to drive towards the road. When the truck was near the road, Officer Karr activated his emergency lights. When he approached the truck, he could see two subjects in the truck along with a rifle near each subject. Officer Karr secured the scene and interviewed the subjects. They both stated they had permission to hunt in the orange grove from the owner. When Officer Karr ran the subject’s information, the driver had an active warrant out of Florida. The driver was arrested for the warrant without incident.
Officer Geeraerts and Lieutenant Bontrager received a call from dispatch regarding a missing swimmer on Lake June. Officer Geeraerts, Lieutenant Bontrager, Officer Smith, Officer Young and Officer Rarick responded to the scene and assisted Highlands County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) in the search. After an hour of searching, the HCSO dive team located and recovered the swimmer who had drowned near the area where he was last seen. FWC officers helped the dive team recover the swimmer and take him to shore.
Officer Little and Lieutenant Grover were conducting resource inspections on commercial shrimp vessels in Hernando Beach. While conducting an inspection on one vessel, a felony amount of marijuana was in plain view. A search of the vessel also revealed prescription pills without the person in possession having a prescription, and several pieces of drug paraphernalia. The subject was arrested and booked into the Hernando County Jail.
While on water patrol near the Skyway Bridge, Officer Bibeau and Officer Bibler stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau located a 9-inch red grouper. The operator of the vessel admitted to catching the red grouper and was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of an undersized red grouper.
While on water patrol near the Gandy Bridge, Officer Godfrey and Officer Wilkins stopped a vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. During the inspection, Officer Wilkins noticed the vessel did not have a Hull Identification Number (HIN). The operator of the vessel was issued a misdemeanor citation for operating a vessel on the waters of the state without a HIN.
Officer Phillippi was conducting surveillance at a popular fishing spot owned by Southwest Florida Water Management District and CSX Railroad company when he saw a subject carrying fishing equipment while trespassing on the respective properties. During a fishing license and resource inspection, Officer Phillippi discovered the subject was in possession of 5 undersized and out of season snook. The subject was cited for undersized, out of season, over the bag limit, and an enhanced penalty of a major violation of snook regulations. Since the subject was trespassing while committing the violations, another enhanced penalty will be enforced by the Hillsborough County State Attorney. The subject was issued warnings for trespassing, expired saltwater fishing license and no snook permit.
While on water patrol near the MacDill Airforce Base, Officer Godfrey and Officer Wilkins stopped a personal watercraft within the MacDill security zone. MacDill Airforce Base Marine units were notified, and the operator was issued a citation.
While on land patrol at the Southwest Florida Water Management District Tampa Bypass Canal, Officer Phillippi and Officer Wilkins saw two subjects fishing from the water control structure and two subjects with fishing equipment walking away from the water control structure. The water control structure is located within a fenced area which is posted “No Trespassing.” The subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for entering closed district lands, fishing in an unauthorized area and warnings for trespassing.
In a separate case, but same location of the Southwest Florida Water Management District Tampa Bypass Canal, Officer Godfrey and Officer Wilkins saw two subjects fishing from the water control structure. The water control structure is located within a fenced area which is posted “No Trespassing.” The subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for fishing in unauthorized area and warnings for trespassing and entering through a non-designated entrance.
While on land patrol Officer Pettifer and Officer Messman saw three individuals fishing from a dam posted “No Trespassing.” The individuals advised they had jumped the fence to fish for snook. None of the individuals had valid fishing licenses. They were trespassed from the area and warned for the license violations.
Officer Winton and Officer Collazo received a complaint from Koreshan State Park rangers that two subjects were refusing to leave a campsite. The rangers also stated that the male subject was possibly impaired by drugs. The officers responded to the campsite and located multiple items of drug paraphernalia. The male subject also appeared to be under the influence of narcotics and was drifting in and out of consciousness. EMS was called and arrived on scene. They treated the male subject, at which time both subjects were issued notices to appear for possession of drug paraphernalia and were trespassed from the park for a period of two years.
Officer Winton was on patrol in Koreshan State Park when he noticed a vehicle driving with an expired registration. A vehicle stop was conducted, and it was determined that the driver’s license was suspended and that he was aware of the suspension. The driver was issued a notice to appear for knowingly driving while license suspended or revoked and a warning for operating a vehicle with an expired registration.
Officer Price received information about four men throwing a cast net and keeping freshwater game fish. He was able to locate and watch the men fish along a canal bank. As he watched the men fish, they threw a cast net repeatedly and would put everything they caught into a cooler. When the men proceeded to leave the area, Officer Price stopped them and found a cooler with several bass and panfish inside. The men admitted to illegally catching the freshwater game fish. A license check revealed only one of the four men had a valid freshwater fishing license. Infractions were issued for not possessing a valid freshwater license and a notice to appear was issued for illegal method of catching freshwater game fish.
Officer Winton was on patrol when he received information about a subject harassing manatee and posting photos/videos of the harassment on social media. An investigation was conducted, and Officer Winton confirmed the identity of the subject and determined that the subject had indeed unlawfully harassed manatees on multiple occasions. Charges pertaining to the harassment of manatees are being filed with the State Attorney’s Office.
Lieutenant Spoede and Officer Winton were on offshore patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when they saw a fishing vessel transiting inshore from offshore waters. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection. The occupants said that they were returning from the Florida Keys and had lobster onboard. The officers conducted a search of the vessel and determined that the two subjects were in possession of 30 wrung lobster tails. It is a violation to possess wrung lobster tails upon the waters of the state and the subjects were 18 lobsters over the bag limit. The subjects were issued notices to appear for the violations and the lobster tails were seized as evidence.
Lieutenant Spoede and Officer Winton were on water patrol in the Gulf of Mexico offshore of Sanibel Island when they saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. The officers conducted a vessel stop and discovered six undersized mangrove snapper, an undersized gray triggerfish, and 11 reef fish not in whole condition. The officers interviewed the vessel’s occupants to determine which fish belonged to each subject. The operator and one occupant were issued notices to appear for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and reef fish not in whole condition. An additional occupant was issued a warning for possession of undersized gray triggerfish.
Officer Pettifer stopped a vessel that had returned from fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The individuals said they had some silverfish and grouper on board. An inspection of the catch revealed two 13-inch red grouper and one 17-inch gag grouper. The individuals were cited accordingly.
Officer Specialist Balfour and Officer Specialist Pulaski were on water patrol around Hudson Beach when they conducted an inspection of a commercial fishing vessel. During the inspection, the officers located an undersized gag grouper. The fish was seized as evidence and the harvester received a citation for the violation.
Officer Specialist Balfour and Officer Specialist Pulaski were on water patrol near Hudson Beach when they saw a vessel enter the channel at idle speed. When the officers contacted the operator of the vessel, they noticed signs of impairment. The operator participated in the Seated Battery of Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s), which he performed poorly. Officer Specialist Pulaski arrested the operator for BUI. The individual provided a sample of his breath which measured .096 and .095.
Officer Ferguson and Officer Phillippi were dispatched to a domestic disturbance within the state park. The officers interviewed a witness and the subjects involved. One subject was arrested for domestic violence.
Officer Bibeau saw a vessel returning from offshore and initiated a vessel stop for the purposes of conducting a fisheries inspection. Officer Bibeau located three speckled hind. Officer Bibeau issued a misdemeanor citation to the operator of the vessel for being over the daily vessel limit of speckled hind.
While on land patrol Officer Phillippi saw a subject fishing with a cast net at a weir. During a fishing license and resource inspection, it was discovered the subject was in possession of a black bass and a snook measuring 16 ¼”. Post Miranda Warning, the subject admitted to catching the black bass and snook with the cast net. The subject was cited for undersized, out of season and illegal method of taking of snook. The subject was also warned for illegal method of taking of freshwater gamefish.
Officer Rarick and Lieutenant Bontrager were on vehicle patrol in south Polk County when they saw a vehicle traveling slowly and stopping on a rural road. The vehicle stopped in the middle of the road and a spotlight was shining out of the passenger side of the truck. The truck continued to back up and stop three times. Officer Rarick and Lieutenant Bontrager followed the truck and continued to watch the truck passenger shine a light out of the side window. When the officers conducted a vehicle stop, two spotlights were found near the rear seat along with a rifle with a scope. The rear passenger admitted to having the rifle and shining the spotlight. He was cited for night hunting with a gun and light.
While on water patrol Officer Smith and Officer Resendez saw a vessel traveling south on a channel between Lake Shipp and Lake Lulu in Winter Haven. The vessel was creating a wake and struck the bridge pylon with the port (left) side of the vessel and continued south in the channel. Officer Resendez initiated a vessel stop and conducted a safety inspection of the vessel and determined the vessel operator showed signs of impairment. Officer Resendez performed the Seated Battery of Standard Field Sobriety Tasks (SFST’s) on the operator of the vessel and determined his normal faculties were impaired. Officer Resendez placed the vessel operator under arrest for boating under the influence (BUI) and transported him to Polk County Jail to be processed. The vessel operator refused to provide a sample of his breath and was issued a Uniform Boating Citation (UBC) for BUI and one UBC for refusal to submit to test.
DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
Officer Winton, Officer Hazelwood and Officer Fogle organized and executed a detail targeting violations within Lover’s Key State Park. During the detail, the officers issued 3 criminal citations, 9 infraction citations, and 22 written warnings for violations pertaining to speeding, off-road driving, driving while license suspended or revoked, undersized redfish, undersized sheepshead, undersized and out-of-season snook, undersized mangrove snapper, no fishing license or expired fishing license and evasion of state park fees.
Officers Collazo, Garcia, Gray, Furbay, Perry, Price, Salem and Stapleton organized a directed conservation patrol for the protection of Florida panthers. The speed enforcement areas worked were in specific Lee County Panther Zones. During the detail, 27 warnings, 2 misdemeanors and 7 Infractions were issued. The fastest speed recorded was 99 MPH in a 45 MPH zone.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Lieutenant Bontrager, Lieutenant Dipre and Officer Fagan participated in the funeral service for a Line of Duty Death involving Fort Myers Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller at the Germain Arena, Estero. Officer Jobbers-Miller was shot while attempting to apprehend a fleeing criminal suspect. He subsequently died a week later from his wounds. FWC Honor Guard participated in cordon duties during the arrival procession and during the procession to outdoor services that included full honors. The service was attended by numerous dignitaries including Governor Rick Scott and many FWC uniformed officers to include Major Young, Major Escano and Captain Maza.
SOUTH REGION A
Officers Grant and Brock were on vessel patrol on the Hillsboro Canal. They stopped at the Pioneer Park boat ramp and were conducting marine fisheries inspections on individuals fishing at the boat ramp dock. They saw a vessel pull into the dock and one passenger exit off the boat and walk off down the road. They continued their inspections and saw the same individual driving a vehicle towing a trailer and attempting to back it down the boat ramp. They contacted the driver and after conducting field sobriety tasks, Officer Grant placed the individual under arrest for driving under the influence. Officer Brock conducted a breath test on the individual which proved to be three times more than the legal imit. The individual was transported to the Broward County Jail.
Officers Ryan and Sellers were on patrol when a complaint was received by dispatch regarding four tires being slashed while two subjects were hunting in the Holey Land Wildlife Management Area. They conducted interviews of the victims and saw the damage to the tires. Officer Tarr had patrolled that area the night before and with information gathered from him, both officers proceeded to an address in Davie to contact an individual. After interviews and an investigation, they charged one individual with misdemeanor criminal mischief.
Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera responded to a report of an escaped Kinkajou. The investigation revealed the owner was properly licensed to possess the animal, and it escaped while being walked on a leash. The animal was recovered by a neighbor and turned over to a licensed facility. The facility contacted Investigator Corteguera, who returned it to the owner. One misdemeanor citation and two warnings were issued related to the escape.
Officers Stephens, Fijalkowski, Dial and Allen assisted the Investigations section with the execution of two arrest warrants in the Moore Haven area. A man and a woman were arrested at their home pursuant to arrest warrants obtained by FWC Investigators for “scheming to defraud” charges concerning the operation of an alligator farm. Both subjects were booked into the Glades County Jail without incident.
Officer Gouveia checked a game camera he had set up in a local WMA. There were pictures taken from that morning of a truck off trail, which is a violation. While on patrol in town later in the day he saw the same truck and conducted a traffic stop. During the stop he saw 6 full bags of saw palmetto berries. The suspect didn’t have the proper permits to have the berries and was issued a warning. He also received a citation for driving off trail in the WMA.
Officer Willems was driving by Timer Powers Park when he saw a vehicle parked near a popular fishing spot. He approached the vehicle to see if anyone was fishing. He saw an individual sitting in the vehicle smoking a substance off a piece of tinfoil. The individual was asked to step out of the vehicle and when asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, he admitted to having some cocaine. Officer Willems searched the vehicle and found one bag of cocaine powder, 5 empty baggies with cocaine residue, a bag of marijuana, a straw used to smoke cocaine, and a marijuana pipe. The individual was placed under arrest and transported to the Martin County Jail.
Officers Pecko and Morrow were on night patrol and saw a vehicle travelling with no lights. While approaching the vehicle to conduct a traffic stop, the vehicle swerved off the roadway, fish-tailed, and came to a stop on the edge of the roadway. The driver of the vehicle appeared under the influence. Officer Pecko conducted standardized field sobriety tasks and the subject was arrested and charged accordingly. While completing the report at the jail, the corrections deputy informed the officers that the subject needed to be medically cleared due to her high Breath Alcohol Content. The subject was medically cleared at the hospital and was transported back to the jail.
Officer Carroll was on patrol around the Jensen Beach Causeway when he saw a vehicle driving without headlights at night. He conducted a vehicle stop to address the safety violation and detected a strong odor of cannabis emitting from the vehicle. His investigation discovered the driver had a suspended license, was in possession of cannabis over 20 grams and drug paraphernalia. The subject was booked into the Martin County Jail for possession of cannabis over 20 grams, possession of cannabis with intent to sell and drug paraphernalia.
Officer Hausler was on patrol near Micco Bluff Road when he received a request for assistance from the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office to apprehend a recently released state prison inmate for a violation of probation warrant. When Officer Hausler and Okeechobee County Deputies located the subject on a cattle ranch, the subject carjacked a pickup truck with a family inside. Officer Hausler followed the subject to the corner of a cow pasture where the subject exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot. Officer Hausler pursued the subject on foot until the man was caught by an OCSO K-9. The subject was transported to a local hospital by EMS. In addition to the VOP warrant the man faces other charges for the carjacking.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officers Merizio and Kirkland responded to a complaint involving divers spearfishing without a dive flag in the Jupiter Inlet. Upon arrival they found multiple people in the area sitting on the rocks and freediving in the water. Officer Merizio located a bucket with a cast net and two undersized snook. The snook had been taken by a spear gun out of season. While questioning the individuals on scene, one of them admitted that he shot both fish. He was cited for possession of snook out of season. He was issued warnings for possession of snook while in possession of a cast net and taking snook by a method other than hook and line. The youth was also educated on the legal bag and size limit to take snook during season.
Officers Pecko and Morrow received a call about people target shooting on South Florida Water Management Property. When they arrived on scene, there were subjects on the property with air rifles. One of the subjects had blood on his shirt but was not injured. Both officers detected the odor of cannabis emitting from the vehicle and from the subjects. While searching the vehicle, two dead rabbits were found in the backseat. Two of the subjects did not have valid forms of identification. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol were called and arrived on scene. Customs and Border Patrol took custody of the two subjects. All the subjects were cited accordingly.
Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in Boynton Beach and responded to a call regarding subjects catching and keeping undersized snapper with a cast net. He arrived on scene and conducted surveillance, locating individuals matching the provided description. Upon contacting the subjects, Officer Brodbeck located a cooler with 8 undersized mangrove snapper, three cast nets, and a live undersized and out of season stone crab in a bucket. One subject took responsibility and was issued a misdemeanor resource citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper, as well as warnings for illegal method of take and possession of stone crab out of season. The undersized fish were seized as evidence. The stone crab was returned alive to the water.
Officers Langley and Matthews were on coastal patrol when they conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel at Silver Palm Park. The subjects on board the vessel stated that they had speared two hogfish. Upon inspection both hogfish were under the state size requirement of 16” fork length. The subjects were cited accordingly.
Officers Godward and Brodbeck were on vessel patrol around Lake Worth Inlet when they saw a vessel anchored with three individuals actively fishing. A vessel stop was initiated to conduct a resource inspection. The subjects were asked if they had any fish on board, and they stated they had one snapper. One subject opened a rear fish box and Officer Brodbeck saw 3 lane snapper, 1 of which appeared to be undersized. The subject removed the two-legal snapper and attempted to conceal the undersized fish with a washdown hose. Officer Brodbeck boarded the vessel and asked the subjects if they knew the size limit for lane snapper and all correctly stated 8 inches. The officer removed the undersized snapper and placed it on a measuring device on board the vessel, showing the fish was 7 inches. One subject took responsibility for the fish and was issued a misdemeanor resource citation for possession of undersized lane snapper. The fish was photographed for evidence and returned alive to the water.
Officer Brodbeck was on patrol in Riviera Beach when he saw a vehicle with an expired tag. A query through law enforcement databases confirmed the tag was expired. Additionally, the registered owner of the vehicle had a suspended driver license. A traffic stop was initiated to address the violations. Upon opening the door, a strong odor of marijuana was detected. Officer Godward arrived on scene as backup and to assist with the investigation. A resulting search of the vehicle revealed marijuana, THC oil, and multiple smoking pipes. The driver of the vehicle was placed under arrest and transported to the Palm Beach County Jail for possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana less than 20 grams, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving while license suspended/revoked.
Officers Spradling, Godward and Brodbeck performed quality control inspections on markets selling saltwater products. Multiple warnings were issued as well as two misdemeanors for no retail license and selling fish unfit for human consumption.
Officer Boyd was on patrol at the Phil Foster Boat Ramp. He saw a vessel being trailered out of the water that had a lobster tickle stick and lobster gauges. Officer Boyd conducted a fisheries inspection on the vessel and found the subject to be in possession of seven spiny lobsters. During the regular lobster season a person may harvest and possess up to six spiny lobsters per day. Officer Boyd issued the subject a citation for possessing over the bag limit spiny lobster.
Officers Hudson and Trawinski were patrolling Lake Boca near the Boca inlet when the officers noticed a vessel come in from offshore with many fishing rods. The Officers conducted a fisheries inspection on the vessel and found 3 undersized mahi. The individual who had caught the fish was issued a notice to appear for possession of undersized mahi.
Officers Schroer and Moss conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel transiting from the Bahamas to Florida. During the inspection, Officer Moss found the captain of the vessel to be in possession of three-gallon sized plastic bags filled with fish fillets that had no skin left intact. The captain said the bags contained hog snapper fillets. When transiting from the Bahamas to Florida by boat, recreational harvesters may transport their daily Florida bag limit of fish fillets from mahi, wahoo, snapper or grouper if the skin remains intact for identification. The captain of the vessel was cited for being in possession of snapper fillets with no skin intact while transiting from the Bahamas to Florida.
Captive Wildlife Investigator Howell responded to a complaint regarding the illegal possession of raccoons. Upon arrival, he verified an individual was in possession of two raccoons without the required license. The animals were seized and placed at a licensed facility. Warnings were issued for the illegal possession. Officer Trawinski assisted on this incident.
MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
Officer Pecko was on vessel patrol around the Martin County Bird Island Critical Wildlife Area. He received a call about an injured bird by the island. The bird was found to be an Osprey floating close to a seawall and was struggling to stay afloat. Officer Pecko was able to scoop the bird into the vessel and staff from the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary came to the scene to take possession of the Osprey. It was later determined that the Osprey was shot by an air rifle. It is currently recovering at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.
SOUTH REGION B
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Officers Sample, Delgado and Dominguez were on water patrol when they stopped a commercial charter fishing vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection bayside of Key Biscayne. The vessel was returning to Crandon Marina after having completed its fishing charter. An inspection of the catch revealed four undersized tripletails. The first mate acknowledged that he was the one who had measured the fish and was cited for the violation.
Officers Saavedra and Padilla were on water patrol when they saw a vessel tied up to a channel marker at the mouth of the Miami River and ICW. A fisheries inspection revealed that the persons on board were in possession of an undersized nurse shark, mutton snapper, and lane snapper. The snapper was scaled which is a violation of landed in whole condition. The subjects were cited accordingly.
Officers Saavedra and Padilla were on water patrol near the Virginia Key no entry zone when they saw a vessel utilizing a red t-shirt as a dive flag. The diver was requested to return to conduct a fisheries inspection which revealed an undersized speared black grouper and hogfish. The subject was cited accordingly and educated on the importance of a proper dive flag.
Officers Saavedra and Padilla were on water patrol when they saw multiple groups of people exit the water along the seawall at Cape Florida State Park. They exited the water with lobster harvesting gear and a bag containing lobster. A fisheries inspection revealed 6 undersized spiny lobster with one group and 2 undersized spiny lobster with the second group. The subjects were cited accordingly.
Officers Padilla and McKinley were on water patrol in the area of 79th street boat ramp when they stopped 2 PWC’s that were rented from a livery. Upon returning to the ramp a vessel livery inspection was conducted and the owner of the PWC’s was found to have 5 violations. The subject was cited for not having insurance, no boating safety sign, not providing pre-ride instruction, not attaining a written statement instruction was given and the livery employee not having proper education.
Officer Padilla saw a rental PWC enter 79th Street boat ramp and he noticed extensive damage to one of the PWC’s being towed in by an employee. Officer Padilla asked the employee if that damaged was recent and the employee stated that the PWC was just involved in a boating accident that wasn’t reported. Officer Padilla issued a citation to the livery for not reporting a boating accident and issued a livery citation for a temporary certificate contractor having an employee that has not taken the proper boating education courses.
FWC Officers from Miami Dade and Monroe County responded to the county line after a female called 911 in Miami reporting that her husband had just shot and killed a friend on board his vessel. The man stated via text he was going to go and kill other people. Miami Dade Police aviation responded first and found the subject vessel anchored 4 miles ocean side of Ocean Reef with several persons on board. FWC water units responded with a Monroe County Sheriff’s sergeant riding along. Also responding were 2 Miami Dade Police vessels, a National Park Service vessel, and 2 USCG vessels. A USCG c-130 aircraft was also present overhead. Upon contact with the vessel, no persons were found injured or deceased. The “shooter” had sent his wife the threatening text messages as part of a domestic situation that was developing. There was no firearm on board – only a spear gun. Based on interviews with all subjects and after conferring with several sources, the “shooter” was Baker Acted by FWC and taken to a mental health facility in Marathon. The counselor at the center advised that threats to harm or having harmed someone does fall under the guidelines of an involuntary admission into their facility.
While conducting state park patrol in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Officers Gomez and Perez stopped a subject diving with a bully net and tickle stick. After conducting a fisheries inspection, Officer Gomez found the subject had thirty-two spiny lobster in his possession – twenty-six lobster over the bag limit of six lobster per person per day. He was issued citations for possession of twenty-six spiny lobster over the bag limit and for swimming in a non-designated swimming area.
Officer Maldonado responded to John Pennekamp State Park where it was reported that a camper was driving his RV in the campground while possibly intoxicated. Upon his arrival the driver was found passed out inside of the RV by a bed. The RV, which had its’ stabilizer jacks, slide outs, and awning all extended, caused extensive damage to the asphalt roadway, tore out the water supply shutting down the water to half of the campground, and damaged trees on the site. After obtaining witness statements and conferring with the State Attorney’s Office, the driver was arrested for felony criminal mischief (with damages over $3,000) and misdemeanor disorderly intoxication and reckless driving. After getting the driver medically cleared due to his level of intoxication (BAC .143) and combativeness, he was booked into jail and then trespassed from the park for 5 years. He also received several park rule infractions. The defendant’s family, who had several complaints logged by park staff over the week for violating park quiet hours, was permitted to stay the night until the RV could be repaired the following morning.
Officer Chesney was on water patrol when he was dispatched to a complaint about possible lobster poaching. Upon arrival, Officer Hettel found a subject in possession of 32 wrung lobster tails; 31 of the tails were undersized. Officer Hettel read the Miranda warning and the subject agreed to speak with him. After the investigation, Officer Hettel arrested and transported the subject to Stock Island Jail.
Investigator Mattson was on unmarked water patrol around Green Marker 37, John Pennekamp State Park, when he saw two snorkelers freediving without a dive flag. He watched one of the men spear a fish and bring it to the surface. Investigator Mattson approached and identified himself as FWC law enforcement. The man who speared the fish dumped his gear to the bottom of the water. Investigator Mattson directed the diver to retrieve his gear and swim to his vessel. As Investigator Mattson was coming alongside the man’s boat he saw a gray angelfish floating behind on the surface of the water. The subject was arrested and taken to Key Largo where Officer Mckay transported him to Plantation Key Jail. The subject was cited for spearfishing Upper Keys, interference with FWC officer, oversized gray angelfish, live landing requirement on marine life and no circulating live well – five misdemeanors and a dive flag infraction.
Officers Carroll, Thornton, Chesney, and MCSO deputies responded to a call about nine subjects riding manatees in Key Colony Beach. One deputy said they saw one of the men riding a manatee but could not identify the individual. Upon arrival, there were 4 subjects in the back of the residence by the dock. Since the deputy saw someone riding a manatee, which is a criminal violation, the subjects were separated, read Miranda warnings and interviewed. The subjects admitted that they all swam and petted the manatee. After receiving their statements, Officer Chesney cited them with a notice to appear for molesting and riding manatee.
Officer Hoppe was on water-patrol in Jewfish Creek for targeted enforcement action. A rental vessel was stopped with twelve occupants on board – the operator exhibited signs of being impaired. After SFST’s the operator was found to be operating a vessel under the influence and was placed under arrest and transported to Plantation Key Jail.
Officers Curbelo and Araujo were on patrol in the Picayune Strand State Forest during the opening weekend of archery season. Officer Curbelo saw a truck on a road that was marked “road closed to vehicle access.” Officer Curbelo stopped the vehicle for being off trail in a no vehicle allowed area. The driver was issued a citation for being off trail. Officer Araujo also stopped a vehicle in the no vehicle access area. The driver of the vehicle did not have a valid driver license. Officer Araujo issued the driver citations for driving while license suspended and for driving a vehicle off trail.
Officer McVaney responded to a report of a snake at a residence preventing the homeowner from entering her home. Upon arrival Officer McVaney found the snake to be a young Burmese Python. The snake was captured and removed. Officer McVaney turned the snake over to the local biologist.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
Officer Wilder (from Taylor County, assisting Monroe County for lobster season) and Officer Hettel responded to a call of a PWC accident with possible major injuries off Sigsbee Marina Key West. They arrived on scene to find a man and woman in the water and the PWC 50 yards away. The woman appeared to be in a lot of pain with cuts and a large contusion on her left leg. Her pain level and injuries would not allow her to be pulled onto the patrol vessel, so Officer Wilder held her next to the vessel and calmed her down. Sea Tow arrived and was directed go to Sigsbee Marina and retrieve a back board from awaiting EMS. Officer Hettel entered the water with the back board and strapped the injured woman to it. Officer Wilder and EMS personnel were then able to pull the victim on to the patrol vessel and get her to awaiting medical transportation. Officer Hettel credited the intense and quality water survival instruction by Lieutenant Hall and his staff at the training academy as key to the safe outcome of this event.
Officer Curbelo was on patrol in the Picayune Strand State Forest during archery season. While checking hunters, he was asked by a citizen to assist him in locating his friend. His friend, wife and three kids were in the state forest and had driven through water and their vehicle became stuck in muddy water. He reported that his friend was on one of the off-road trails, unable to exit the vehicle due to the water preventing him from opening the vehicle door. The citizen had coordinates for the location and Officer Curbelo was able to locate the position on a map. Officer Curbelo initiated a search for the family utilizing a swamp buggy. He phoned the lost party, told them he was searching for them, and to call him if they saw the lights of the swamp buggy. Officer Curbelo also advised the family to shine their flashlight to the sky. Officer Curbelo located the family and was able to help them remove the vehicle from the water.