The Meatheads of the Week

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NORTHWEST REGION

 

CASES

 

BAY COUNTY

 

Officer Gore was on patrol when he observed a vehicle weaving and failing to maintain a single lane. A traffic stop revealed that the operator appeared to be impaired. Field sobriety tasks were administered and the subject was determined to be under the influence and arrested. The subject was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and open container and transported to the county jail.

 

Officers Alsobrooks and Coker were patrolling Deer Point Lake and heard gun shots coming from the lake. They observed two individuals duck hunting on the lake and shooting after legal hours. They met the subjects at the boat ramp and asked them if they knew legal shooting hours for hunting ducks. Both the subjects stated that legal shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Legal shooting hours for duck hunting is 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Both were issued citations for shooting after legal hunting hours. Written warnings were issued for unplugged gun, unregistered vessel, no trailer tag, no Type 4 PFD and no whistle.

 

CALHOUN COUNTY

 

Officer Hayes was working night hunting and was conducting surveillance overlooking a fresh clearing. At approximately 1:00 am, a truck slowly drove by and a light was being shined out of the driver’s side window. The truck backed up and continued shining the chop. Officer Hayes conducted a traffic stop and found it was occupied by two subjects. The driver was wearing a head lamp and the passenger had a loaded .22 rifle. Both suspects were charged with night hunting and the light and rifle were seized as evidence.

 

ESCAMBIA COUNTY

 

Officers Allgood and Manning worked on the Escambia River checking hunters. They observed a vessel that was tied up along a wooded area where the occupants appeared to be hunting in the Escambia River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officers marked the spot and came back later when the individuals were not hunting, to check the area for bait. Shortly after they returned, they heard a vessel traveling to their location. When the subjects saw another boat in the area, they commented, “They better not be hunting my ground blind.” The two hunters were interviewed and confessed to placing bait at two nearby stand sites. Both hunters were carrying small plastic bags containing corn. Both baited stands were located and the hunters were issued notice to appear violations for placing bait in a management area.

 

FRANKLIN COUNTY

 

Officer Mandrick responded to assist the Sheriff’s Office in locating a missing elderly woman who had gone walking at night on Alligator Point Beach. Alligator Point Volunteer Fire Department also responded and located the missing woman uninjured a few miles from her rental home. She had gotten lost in the dark and was returned home safely.

 

HOLMES COUNTY

 

Officer Yates and Lieutenant Walsingham were patrolling in the Gritney area when they heard shots. The subjects were found to be complying with duck hunting regulations other than a boating violation and were given a written warning. During this encounter, they heard a rifle shot and found two subjects dragging a five‑point buck to their truck. The deer appeared to have been shot and the subject admitted to shooting the deer with a rifle. Archery only season was still in and the subject was cited for taking deer by illegal method and the deer was seized as evidence.

 

JACKSON COUNTY

 

Officers Forehand and Little responded to a landowner’s complaint who heard a shot on his property. The officers found fresh foot tracks and drag marks on the property. They followed the drag marks to a thicket where they found two freshly shot doe deer. From there, the officers followed the foot tracks to a nearby residence. An occupant of the residence said earlier that morning a relative had come over and had gone hunting in the area. The witness said the suspect lived in Chipley and had already gone home. Officers Gore and Hellett went to the suspect’s residence and conducted an interview. The suspect admitted to shooting the deer and dragging them into the woods so the coyotes could eat them. The suspect was charged with two counts of taking doe deer during the closed season, two counts of willful and wanton waste of wildlife and one count of armed trespassing. A .270 rifle was seized as evidence.

 

OKALOOSA COUNTY

 

While on patrol in Eglin Air Force Base WMA, Officer Mullins tracked a hunter who was potentially baiting an area for wildlife. When Officer Mullins approached the hunter in the woods, the hunter told the officer he was not baiting the area and showed him a nearby tree stand. While investigating the area and speaking with the subject, it was discovered that he had previously placed bait at that site. Officer Mullins also discovered that the subject had another stand close by which he had baited that day with a salt/mineral lick and liquid deer attractor. The bait was removed from the area and the subject was issued a citation for placing bait to attract wildlife on a WMA.

 

Officer Pifer was on land patrol when he observed a vessel with four individuals and fishing gear onboard approach the dock at a local marina. The vessel nosed up to the dock and dropped off two of the individuals onboard. Officer Pifer made his way down the dock to conduct a fisheries and license inspection. As he approached the individuals on the dock, he observed one of them holding a clear, plastic bag containing fillets and ice. When asked, the individual stated the fillets were redfish. An inspection of the vessel revealed another clear, plastic bag containing fillets of redfish and mangrove snapper onboard. The operator of the vessel was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of redfish not in whole condition and a warning for possession of mangrove snapper not in whole condition.

 

Officers Jarvis and Rockwell were conducting a saltwater fisheries inspection on a subject fishing from the Valparaiso Pier. The subject did not have a fishing license and was in possession of one undersized mangrove snapper. The subject also had an active warrant for failure to pay child support. The subject was arrested for the warrant and issued a citation for no saltwater fishing license and a warning for undersized mangrove snapper.

 

Officer Nichols assisted a police officer who located two black bears on the city’s newly annexed property, which is now being used for a homeless shelter. Officer Nichols conducted a site inspection and located a small Waste Management dumpster near the buildings, which had household garbage and old food inside it. Officer Nichols also located old food containers on the ground around the dumpster. The site manager was educated on the importance of securing garbage. A bear guide was furnished and the property manager was issued a letter of non-compliance.

 

Officer Nichols responded to a complaint of a bear in garbage in a Fort Walton Beach neighborhood. The officer arrived on scene and spoke to a stopped motorist who advised the bear was eating garbage. The bear was located and hazed out of the community. The homeowner was provided an educational bear brochure and issued a non-compliance notification letter for failure to secure the garbage can.

 

Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting boating safety and resource protection at local boat ramps in the Niceville area and observed a vehicle towing a boat enter the boat ramp. The boat trailer did not display a registration tag. The officer observed the driver back the boat trailer down the ramp and launch the vessel. The driver then pulled the vehicle into a parking spot. Officer Corbin approached the driver and asked if the trailer was registered. The driver stated no. The officer asked for the operator’s driver license. The driver provided a Florida Identification Card. Officer Corbin determined the driver’s license was revoked. The driver had an active warrant for failure to appear on a notice to appear citation (failure to transfer vessel title). The driver was arrested and transported to the county jail.

 

Officer Rockwell was checking a baited site he found before archery season in Blackwater WMA. While on foot patrol, he observed a vehicle near the area. When he got close to the area, he saw a man crossing a tree over a creek to get to the baited site. Once the man was in a tree and actively hunting, Officer Rockwell identified himself and advised the man to come down. The subject told Officer Rockwell that he didn’t think anyone would find his spot. Officer Rockwell issued him a notice to appear for hunting over bait in a WMA.

 

Officer Pifer was on patrol when he observed a fishing vessel returning to the Destin Docks. One individual was holding a large plastic bag with fish fillets. Another large bag with fish fillets was located on the vessel. Officer Pifer determined the fillets were red drum and mangrove snapper. The operator was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for failure to land red drum and mangrove snapper in whole condition.

 

While on patrol in Mary Esther, Lieutenant Clark observed a garbage can knocked over with a garbage bag pulled out and its contents spread out on the front lawn. The garbage had not been secured properly. Lieutenant Clark contacted Officer Pifer to contact the homeowner. The officer conducted a history check on the residence and determined the homeowner was issued a non-compliance notification letter recently for an unsecured garbage can. Officer Pifer provided a courtesy bear retro kit for securing the garbage can and issued a written warning.

 

Officer Corbin observed an unlit anchored vessel in Cinco Bayou. He identified the owner and arranged to meet him to discuss compliance issues. Officer Corbin determined the individual purchased the vessel a few months ago, but failed to transfer the title within the required 30 days. The boat owner was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

 

Officer Maltais responded to assist an Eglin Range Patrol Officer regarding an individual illegally discharging a firearm. Officer Maltais arrived on scene and was briefed. The individual was riding on Eglin property when his vehicle ran out of gas. The Range Patrol Officer saw the disabled vehicle and the individual walking. The individual was in possession of a pistol. It was determined the individual was not a hunter nor was he permitted to access Eglin’s property. A concerned hunter near the disabled vehicle exited the woods and stated to the officers that he heard a single gunshot coming from the area. The officers found an empty shell casing on the ground near the disabled vehicle. The size of the casing matched the rounds in the pistol. After interviewing the individual, he was issued a notice to appear citation for discharging a firearm from a paved public roadway.

 

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

 

Officer J. Rockwell was in Blackwater WMA when he noticed a small boat on the side of the road. Officer Rockwell ran the registration to identify the owner and later that afternoon, determined the vessel was stolen out of Okaloosa County. Officer Rockwell contacted the owner and returned the vessel.

 

While conducting surveillance on a local fishing pier, Officer Ramos observed a man and woman emerge from under the pier carrying fishing poles and equipment. They went to a vehicle and loaded all the gear into the car. Then, the man returned under the bridge and brought up a cooler. Officer Ramos approached the pair and asked if they had caught any fish. They replied, “No.” After checking fishing licenses and receiving consent to search the cooler, Officer Ramos discovered an undersized spotted seatrout, measuring 11 inches, hidden under ice. The man admitted he caught the fish and didn’t check its size. A database search revealed the man had two previous citations for similar offenses. The fish was seized and a notice to appear citation was issued.

 

While off duty, Officer Lugg received a report of a potential redfish violation occurring at the East River boat launch in Navarre. Once at work, Officer Lugg traveled to the boat launch to follow up with the information that he had received. The tip stated that a couple fishing at the boat launch were keeping undersized red drum and placing them in a white cooler. The individuals were located and a fisheries inspection was conducted. The couple stated that they were not keeping any fish and had not caught any fish to keep. There were no coolers around where the individuals were fishing and the individuals were adamant that they had not kept any fish. After a brief interview, their vehicle was located and their cooler was inspected. Officer Lugg discovered an undersized red drum, measuring 9½ inches. A notice to appear citation was issued for the violation.

 

While on land patrol in the Yellow River WMA, Officer Lugg observed a suspicious vehicle turn its headlights off while traveling through an intersection. The vehicle also failed to stop at a stop sign as it left the area in a hurry. During a stop of the vehicle, blood was observed in the back of the truck. After a brief interview, the operator admitted to shooting an undersized deer the day before and disposing of the carcass in the woods. Officer Lugg located the carcass of a spotted fawn. The subject was issued a notice to appear citation for the violation.

 

From a considerable distance, Officer Ramos observed a vehicle operating oddly in a remote neighborhood after midnight. When the vehicle stopped moving for a while, Officer Ramos drove closer and discovered that its hazard lights were now flashing due to a crash that had just occurred. Dispatch was informed that the truck had jumped a deep ditch and then ran head on into a large tree. The vehicle’s airbags had deployed and the driver had been knocked into the rear cab of his pickup with life threatening injuries. Fire Rescue and EMS personnel were notified and arrived to remove the driver. The driver was transported to a local hospital. The crash investigation was turned over to Florida Highway Patrol to determine the cause.

 

WAKULLA COUNTY

 

Officer Mandrick was on state park patrol within Wakulla Springs State Park when he observed a vehicle parked at the Cherokee Sink trailhead past closing hours. After speaking with the park ranger who had not seen anyone with the vehicle, Officer Mandrick drove his patrol truck down the trail to check for any remaining hikers on the trail. Approximately one mile from the trailhead, Officer Mandrick located an unconscious woman lying on the ground off the side of the trail. Officer Mandrick called for EMS and woke the woman up. She had minor injuries to her limbs, was very disoriented, and did not remember how she had gotten on the trail. Officer Korade arrived on scene and led EMS to the woman’s location. She was transported to the hospital and treated for her injuries.

 

WALTON COUNTY

 

Officer Brooks checked an area on the Choctawhatchee WMA where he had previously located a tree stand with bait placed around it. An ATV was observed on the management area prior to Officer Brooks contacting a subject hunting from the tree stand around the bait. The subject was cited for hunting over bait and operating an ATV on a management area.

 

While Officer Brooks, Tison and Greene were conducting surveillance in an area for night hunting activity, he heard a gunshot and saw a light being displayed from a vehicle. The light was displayed in a manner capable of disclosing the presence of deer. The vehicle was stopped and a firearm and light were found in the vehicle. All three occupants were questioned and they admitted to shooting at a deer with use of a light. A search of the area determined the deer had not been hit by the subjects. All three subjects were charged with attempting to take deer at night and received a warning for discharging a firearm from the roadway.

 

WASHINGTON COUNTY

 

Officer Gore was patrolling the Burnt Sock Area of the Choctawhatchee WMA-Holmes Creek Unit during closed hours when he observed an illegal camp. He heard a boat approach and checked the operator who was the camp owner. The subject was found to have numerous violations including no name on bush hooks, no freshwater fishing license, possession of alcohol in a management area, illegally camping, operating on a closed road and possession of cannabis and paraphernalia. The subject was cited accordingly for the violations.

 

Lieutenant Walsingham was on patrol when he heard dogs running on private property. He observed the dogs running a deer through two different pieces of private property, which have had complaints of this activity in the past. When he checked the dogs’ owner, he failed to possess any private lands deer dog permit, license, and one of the dogs did not have a name on the collar. After helping the owner catch his dogs, Lieutenant Walsingham cited him accordingly.

 

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

 

OKALOOSA COUNTY

 

Officer Maltais taught the law portion of a hunter safety course to 47 people. He provided information on hunting regulations, general information on firearms and how to avoid hunting accidents. He also assisted during the skill portion of the class as a Range Safety Officer.

 

 

NORTH CENTRAL REGION

 

CASES

 

ALACHUA COUNTY

 

Officers Troiano and Reith were working night hunting activity when they observed a vehicle pull off the side of the road. After watching the vehicle from a concealed location, the two officers could see that the driver was using his headlights to illuminate deer in the ditch area. Shortly after, the officers heard a shot and the vehicle quickly drove off. Officers Troiano and Reith ran back to their patrol vehicle and caught up to the suspects’ vehicle. After Miranda rights were read, the two occupants admitted to shooting at a deer. A .22 caliber rifle was seized and citations were issued for attempting to take deer at night with a gun and light and shooting from a public roadway.

 

BAKER COUNTY

 

Officer Barber was working a call-in referencing deer dogs running in the still hunt portion of the John Bethea State Forest. Officer Barber heard a pack of dogs running in the Federal Refuge property located at the Florida/Georgia line. He also saw that the gate connecting the refuge and the state land had been recently cut. A truck with hunting dogs suddenly drove out of the refuge and into the state forest. The subject stated the dogs were not theirs and that they were just trying to catch them. Two more subjects came into the area all possessing hunting dogs. All subjects were cited for possession of dogs in the still hunt portion of the management area. In addition, the subject’s information will be sent over to a federal agent for possible charges.

 

CITRUS COUNTY

 

Citrus and Levy counties have seen an increase in the commercial harvest of oysters after the area opened to harvest. Officers VanNess and Schulz were working the area to ensure the harvest of oysters was occurring in open areas only. During their patrol, the officers observed several oyster boats harvesting oysters in an open area. During a compliance inspection on one of the oyster boats, the officers discovered that there were 24% undersized oysters in one of the tagged oyster bags. One of the harvesters claimed that he had harvested the oysters in the bag that had been inspected. He was issued a citation with a notice to appear county court. The undersized oysters were returned to the water after being photographed.

 

Lieutenant Jones and Officers Wells and Hudson were on offshore patrol in federal waters when they located 32 stone crab traps in Zone 2 of the Citrus Shrimp/Stone Crab Zones. Zone 2 is closed to the use of traps annually. The violation was documented and contact was made with the trap owner. The trap owner accepted full responsibility for the traps being in a closed area and advised that he would remove the traps the following day. The trap owner was cited for the violation.

 

During a federal fisheries inspection, it was discovered that a vessel’s occupants were in possession of an American red snapper during the closed season. When originally asked about their catch the occupants stated they had two gag grouper. When the boarding crew inspected the hold, they discovered that a red snapper had also been taken along with the two gag grouper. The vessel owner was cited appropriately.

 

COLUMBIA COUNTY

 

Officer McDonald located a pond that was baited with corn to attract wood ducks. After several days of surveillance, Lieutenant Huff and Officer McDonald saw hunters enter the area where the pond was baited. The hunters began shooting wood ducks in the pond that was baited shortly after legal shooting light. Contact was made with the hunters after they had finished hunting. They admitted to placing the corn out for the ducks. In addition to the illegal baiting, one hunter was seen shooting lead shot and did not possess a federal duck stamp. Citations were issued to the hunters for the violations.

 

Officer McDonald responded to a hunting complaint on private lands. While he walked the property in question looking for illegal hunting activity, a peanut butter jar was found nailed to a tree along with several empty sardine cans. He also observed the ground being disturbed under the jar. Officer McDonald took a stick and pushed away the brush and located a steel trap. Officer McDonald returned to the property later that afternoon and located a vehicle at the property. He waited until the hunters had finished hunting and made contact. After a brief interview with the land owner, he advised the officer that his 22-year old son who was present put the trap out. Appropriate citations were issued for attempting to take wildlife with a steel trap.

 

Officer McDonald contacted an informant referencing shots being fired on Suwannee River Water Management Lands (SRWMD). The officer was advised that there were several shots in the area in question earlier that morning. Officer McDonald responded to the area and located 10 acres of private land inside SRWMD property. Officer McDonald noticed that there were people staying at the camp. After questioning two subjects about the shooting earlier, one subject admitted to taking a turkey. Officer McDonald followed the two subjects back to the camp where they produced a bag of turkey breasts to the officer. Officer McDonald then requested the subjects show him where the turkey was harvested. The men took the officer to a food plot where a feeder and corn were present. The subject admitted to taking the turkey over the corn. The man was cited for taking turkey over bait and issued a warning for no identification.

 

LEVY COUNTY

 

Officers Schulz and VanNess were on patrol in the Withlacoochee Bay when they observed a vessel actively harvesting oysters. The officers approached the vessel and preformed a commercial oyster inspection. The subjects were in possession of 24% undersized oysters, well above the legal undersized oyster tolerance of 5%. A misdemeanor citation was issued for the violation. A brief time later, the officers spotted another vessel actively harvesting oysters. During a commercial oyster inspection, it was found that this vessel was also in possession of 24% undersized oysters. Another misdemeanor citation and 3 written warnings for boating safety violations were issued. All undersized oysters were returned to the resource alive.

 

Officer Schulz received a complaint about hunting dogs chasing deer on private property and through areas of Goethe State Forest that are closed to hunting. He responded to the area and determined the dogs’ direction of travel. When he got within a few hundred feet of the dogs, he spotted the owner trying to catch them. Officer Schulz approached the subject and began to investigate the violation. After the investigation, another hunting violation was uncovered under state forest regulations. A citation and a warning were issued for the violations.

 

During a fisheries inspection, Officers Wells and Hudson observed several large gag grouper onboard a vessel in one of the deck holds. Officer Hudson continued his search to discover two other gag grouper located in a second fish hold. The two gag grouper were measured and found to be undersized. The owner of the boat stated that he caught the fish. A citation was issued to the subject for the violation.

 

TAYLOR COUNTY

 

Officer Albritton was on patrol near Yates Creek when he observed a vehicle operating erratically. He attempted a traffic stop on the subject who sped away. After a short distance, the subjects began throwing items out of the windows of the vehicle. Officer Albritton backed away as the suspects’ speed became dangerous. After rounding a curve, the vehicle was found in the middle of the road. Two male subjects had fled from the vehicle on foot. One became entangled in a barbed wire fence and was apprehended. A female subject was found in the vehicle. The driver was tracked by K-9 teams and found where he was picked up by another vehicle. He was identified at the scene and determined to also have a revoked driver’s license. The vehicle owner was notified and it was determined that the vehicle had been stolen. The subjects are facing multiple charges including possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, fleeing and eluding and grand theft auto.

 

Officers Colasanti and Yates were along highway 98 and Cow Creek Grade working the highway for night hunting and gun and light complaints when they noticed a vehicle driving slowly and turning around multiple times. Officers heard a shot and responded. Upon walking to the driver’s side, Officer Colasanti noticed a Marlin 17 HMR rifle in the back seat. The driver denied any knowledge of hunting by gun and light. Officer Yates followed a blood trail and discovered a doe taken out of season. Officer Colasanti noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the driver. Both parties denied any knowledge of hunting at night and denied being in possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. Officer Colasanti interviewed both parties involved and received a full confession from each. Officer Colasanti seized the cannabis, drug paraphernalia and the hunting rifle used to take the doe out of season as evidence.

 

RESCUES

 

LEVY COUNTY

 

Officers Canfield and Fox responded on the 2005 Fincat to assist local officers, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) with an overdue vessel. A brief time after beginning the search, a USCG aircraft contacted the Fincat to advise they had possibly located the vessel 15-miles west of the mouth of the Suwannee River. The Fincat proceeded to the location in heavy seas. Upon arrival, the officers located the vessel at anchor and learned everyone was all right but the vessel batteries had died. Per the owner’s request, Sea Tow was contacted and responded to assist. The Fincat provided the operator of the vessel with a handheld VHF radio and transported one occupant, who wished to leave, back to shore.

 

Officers Schulz, Starling, Fox, K-9 Officers Wiggins and Gill, the Levy County Sherriff’s Office and the Marion County Sherriff’s Office Aviation Unit, responded to a call about a missing female in Devils Hammock WMA. It was reported that the female had been hunting hogs with her husband in the WMA when they got separated. On arrival, the husband led the officers to her last known location which was on a road that bordered a private hunt club. A search ensued from this location utilizing K-9 Officers Gill and Wiggins to determine a direction of travel. As it got dark, a gunshot was heard a few miles into the private hunting club and it was known that the female was last seen in possession of a shotgun. The officers began to move towards this location and gathered more information about the shots’ location from a hunter in the hunting club. Officer Schulz gained access to the private hunting club and was then guided to the proximity of the shots by the surrounding units. As he drew closer, he could hear the female’s shouts and drove to them. Through this multi-agency effort, the missing female was located and had no medical needs. She was reunited with her husband a brief time later.

 

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

 

ALACHUA COUNTY

 

Lieutenant Ferguson attended two hunt club meetings over the weekend about dog hunter’s responsibilities and rules.

 

 

NORTHEAST REGION

 

CASES

 

BREVARD COUNTY

 

Lieutenant Zamonis and Officer Marroquin conducted resource inspections of hunters at the T.M. Goodwin WMA on the opening day of waterfowl season. Approximately 40 hunters were checked resulting in 11 warnings, 1 boating citation, 1 resource citation, and 2 criminal citations for unplugged shotguns.

 

While Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Marroquin were on state land patrol they observed a subject operating an ATV on the public roadway. Officer Marroquin conducted a traffic stop to address the violation. During the stop, the subject was found to be open carrying a firearm and stated that he was on his way to hunt. A check through dispatch found that the firearm was reported stolen out of Orange County 23 years earlier. The firearm was seized and the subject was issued a citation for operating an ATV on a public roadway.

 

Officer Marroquin responded to a local boat ramp at the request of the Sheriff’s Office to assist with a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation. The deputy observed the suspect on the vessel with the engine running when he arrived. The suspect submitted to field sobriety tasks and performed poorly. The subject was arrested for BUI and booked into the county jail.

 

Officers Miller and Humphrey were conducting local derelict vessel investigations. When speaking to one of the vessel owners, it was found that he had an open warrant for failure to appear. He was placed under arrest and delivered to the county jail.

 

Officer Hallsten was conducting patrols on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge when he observed an individual place two oversized black drum into the trunk of his vehicle. The subject then went back to fishing. A brief time later, the same individual brought two more black drum and put them into the trunk. After doing this, the individual was heard making comments about how he sells the fish. The individual then put one more fish in the trunk. Officer Hallsten conducted a resource inspection and found the individual in possession of six black drum, all of which were oversized. Citations were issued accordingly.

 

Officer Hallsten conducted a traffic stop on a truck pulling a boat that was leaving Haulover Canal. A resource inspection revealed eight oversized black drum. There were only three individuals associated with the vessel and truck, and the driver admitted to taking fish from other friends so that those friends could stay and catch another limit. Citations were issued accordingly.

 

Officer Hallsten conducted a resource inspection at Haulover Canal and found an individual in possession of seven oversized black drum. Citations were issued accordingly.

 

Officer Hallsten was conducting patrols at Port Canaveral when he observed a fisherman run back to his truck with an oversized snook. Officer Hallsten conducted a resource inspection and issued a citation accordingly.

 

MARION COUNTY

 

Officer Hargabus was conducting surveillance of a back road in Reddick where a couple of deer were actively feeding. Shortly after daybreak, a blue Chevrolet truck slowly passed by. A few moments later, the blue Chevrolet came back where the deer were feeding. Officer Hargabus observed a barrel come out of the passenger side window of the truck and fire. The passenger then exited the truck, jumped a fence and dragged a dead doe back to the road. Officer Hargabus made contact, and the subject with the doe admitted to taking it from the roadway. The subject was issued notices to appear for taking deer from the roadway and trespassing.

 

Officer Rice was contacted by an informant about a shorthorn buck being taken from Ocala WMA. The subject was contacted at his work place and admitted to taking the deer from Hopkins Prairie Unit of Ocala WMA. He retrieved the skull cap and meat of the deer whose antlers measured 7” and 7 ½”. The subject admitted to knowing the Ocala WMA regulations requiring a 10” main beam or 3 points on one antler. He was issued a notice to appear for taking a less than legal size buck off the WMA and issued a warning for failure to check the deer at the check station.

 

Officers McConnell and Dias were following up on a complaint in the Sunny Hill Restoration Area South Tract about possible illegal hunting and illegal entry via airboat. As the officers were following airboat and foot signs from the previous day, they heard airboats approaching their location. The officers listened as the airboats pulled up on the bank and shut their engines off in the same area as the day before. When the officers approached, they observed three males wearing camouflage, all carrying rifles and standing in the road. Two of the individuals turned and ran to the airboats when they noticed the officers approaching. After loud verbal commands from the officers to stop running, the individuals complied. Miranda warnings were read to the individuals. During the investigation, it was determined one of the individuals had been dropped off by airboat the previous day to hunt deer. He had shot at a deer but did not know if he had hit the deer, nor did he know if it was a buck or doe. The three individuals had returned to look for the deer. Officer McConnell back-tracked to the area the deer was supposedly shot. After searching for a few minutes, he located a dead doe deer. The deer had a single bullet hole in it. Officer McConnell back-tracked the blood trail to the roadway where the individual admitted to shooting the deer. After further investigation, Officer McConnell located a spent 7MM-08 shell casing that matched the rifle the individual was carrying when the officers made contact. Citations were issued for taking a doe deer, hunting in a closed area and no hunting license. The deer, rifle and shell casing were seized as evidence.

 

ORANGE COUNTY

 

While on patrol of Tosohatchee WMA, Officer Wigley received a call from the check station advising someone had harvested an illegal deer. Once on scene, the officer conducted an interview of two men who had brought the deer to the station. After speaking to both men, one man admitted to not being able to see the deer clearly and mistakenly took the undersized buck. A notice to appear was issued for the violation.

 

VOLUSIA COUNTY

 

While on patrol near Callalisa Creek, Officer McDonough observed a man dragging a cooler toward the parking area. Officer McDonough stopped the man and conducted a resource inspection. During the inspection, Officer McDonough found the man to be in possession of 15 undersized mangrove snapper, 25 live stone crabs (most of which had claws under the minimum size limit), undersized black sea bass, undersized lane snapper, undersized mutton snapper and undersized sheepshead. Officer McDonough issued citations for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and being over his bag limit of mangrove snapper in addition to a citation for possession of whole stone crabs. The man received warnings for all other violations.

 

Officer Bertolami checked a subject in the Holly Hill area and discovered that the man had been using a cast net to harvest and possess tarpon, snook and mangrove snapper. Snook and tarpon may never be harvested with a cast net and the snook were not within the required size slot limit. The fish were seized and the man was issued a notice to appear for the violations.

 

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

 

OSECOLA COUNTY

 

Lieutenant Lightsey and Officer Wigley attended the grand opening of Triple N Ranch Shooting Range. The event drew large crowds, as families watched the Gould Brothers Exhibition Shooting show and later participated in shooting events of their own. This public shooting range is now open to the public.

 

 

SOUTHWEST REGION

 

CASES

 

CHARLOTTE COUNTY

 

Officer Norris was conducting fisheries inspections at a local boat ramp when he stopped a vessel with three people onboard. Initially, one of the people onboard said they did not catch anything. Upon further inspection, Officer Norris located a live well with multiple species of fish inside including an undersized snook, two undersized trout and two undersized gag grouper. The vessel owner eventually confessed and stated that he had caught the fish earlier that day and then picked up the others. He was charged for the undersized fish and issued a citation for an expired fishing license.

 

HERNANDO COUNTY

 

Officers Fagan and Balfour responded to a call for service on a piece of private property regarding two subjects hunting and trespassing on the property. Initial reports were that the complainant was with one of the subjects and the other subject took off on foot. By the time officers arrived, the subject that fled had returned to the scene. After gathering all the subjects’ information and retrieving the firearm, it was found that one of the subjects was a convicted felon and the firearm was stolen. The subject was placed under arrest for multiple felonies, a misdemeanor, and was booked into the county jail without incident. The second subject was a juvenile and was released to his parents.

 

Officers Fagan, Canamero and Spradlin responded to a call for service at the Cypress Glenn campground in Croom WMA. The call was about a camper camping in a spot that was reserved by another camper. The officers contacted the subjects and one of them had an active warrant. Officer Fagan placed the subject under arrest for the warrant and was booked into the county jail without incident.

 

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

 

Captive Wildlife Investigators Paul and Hough located an individual that was in possession of an unlawfully imported 2-year-old Patas Monkey. The owner is being charged with appropriate violations and the monkey will be boarded at a licensed primate facility.

 

LEE COUNTY

 

While checking boaters at the Punta Rassa boat ramp, Officer Bradshaw encountered a small recreational fishing boat with six men onboard. The men appeared to have been harvesting fish with cast nets. Officer Bradshaw found two small snook and a few mullet in a cooler. Since it is unlawful to harvest snook with a cast net, Officer Bradshaw continued his investigation and took a closer look at the nets on the boat. He found a monofilament gill net about 100 feet long stored in the front of the boat. Possession and use of such a net is a flagrant fisheries violation. The owner of the boat and the net was arrested for multiple charges.

 

Officers Bradshaw, Thompson and Stapleton were checking fishermen at a local pass when they observed several men fishing along the beach with a cast net. They later observed these men cleaning fish out on the beach before returning to their vehicle. When the officers checked the fishermen at their vehicle, they found multiple undersized black drum and sheepshead. Appropriate citations were issued.

 

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Pine Island Sound when he noticed a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. A vessel stop was conducted, at which time it was determined that the operator of the vessel was in possession of four undersized red grouper. The grouper ranged in size from 11.5 inches to 15 inches, well under the legal minimum requirement of 20 inches. A notice to appear was issued for the undersized fish, as well as several warnings for boating/resource violations.

 

Officer Winton responded to a boating accident in Fort Myers Beach. During the accident investigation, it was determined that one of the vessel operators was in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. A notice to appear was issued and the drugs and paraphernalia were seized as evidence.

 

While on patrol at Blind Pass, Officer Winton observed an individual fishing from the shoreline. A fisheries inspection was conducted, at which time it was discovered that the fisherman was in possession of a snook and a redfish that were not in whole condition. During an interview, the fisherman admitted that he had cut up the snook because it did not meet the size requirements. A notice to appear, a citation and several warnings were issued for related violations.

 

Officer Winton conducted a targeted enforcement patrol of seatrout regulations in the Pine Island Sound area. During the patrol, Officer Winton seized over 12 seatrout that did not meet the size requirements. Several notices to appear were issued, as well as several citations and numerous warnings.

 

Officer Bell was on federal water patrol in the Caloosahatchee River when he observed a larger vessel traveling west down the river at a high rate of speed and passing other vessels. Officer Bell visually estimated the vessel traveling at 44mph. The radar showed the vessel traveling at 45mph in a federal 25mph zone. The vessel passed several large 25mph posted speed limit signs before being pulled over. The operator was issued a federal citation for violation of the Federal Manatee Zone.

 

Officer Hardgrove was on land patrol at Pineland boat ramp when he observed a vessel pull into a slip at the dock. As he approached the vessel, he noticed a stringer hanging off the rear left side cleat that contained several spotted seatrout, all of which appeared to be under the legal minimum size limit of 15 inches. He asked the operator if he had caught any fish and he responded by saying that they did not keep any fish. Officer Hardgrove pulled up the stringer and measured the 4 spotted seatrout which were all undersized. The operator was issued a notice to appear for the violation.

 

Officers Perry and Salem were working the small game season in Cecil Webb WMA. They encountered two subjects hunting mourning dove. During the inspection, it was discovered the subjects were using unplugged shotguns to harvest the dove. Citations were issued for the violations.

 

Officer Winton was on water patrol in Pine Island Sound when he noticed a vessel actively engaged in fishing. Officer Winton conducted a vessel stop, at which time it was determined that the subjects onboard were in possession of undersized spotted seatrout and sheepshead, as well as a mangrove snapper that was not in whole condition. Several boating safety and registration violations were also discovered. The subjects onboard were issued notices to appear for the seatrout and snapper violations, a boating citation for a safety violation, and warnings for the other violations.

 

Officer Winton was on water patrol near Pineland Marina when he noticed a vessel returning to the boat ramp. Officer Winton conducted a stop on the vessel, at which time it was determined that the occupants were in possession of several undersized spotted seatrout. Numerous boating safety and registration violations were also discovered. The subject in possession of the seatrout was issued a notice to appear for the violation, and the captain of the vessel was issued several boating citations for the safety and registration violations, as well as numerous warnings.

 

While on patrol at the Pineland Marina boat ramp, Officer Winton observed an individual filleting several fish. Officer Winton approached the subject to conduct a fisheries inspection, at which time it was determined that the subject was in possession of undersized spotted seatrout, mangrove snapper and lane snapper. The subject, who was a fishing guide, also had an expired charter fishing license. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the seatrout and mangrove snapper violations, and a warning for the lane snapper and charter license violations.

 

Officers Hazelwood and Winton were on water patrol near Sanibel when they noticed a commercial stone crab boat actively tending traps. The officers also noticed that the vessel was not marked with the endorsement number and buoy design as required by law. The officers conducted a stop on the vessel, and discovered several other registration and commercial licensing violations. The subject was written a notice to appear for the marking violations, and warnings for the other boating and resource violations.

 

PINELLAS COUNTY

 

While on land patrol at Fort Desoto, Officer Bibeau observed two individuals returning to their vehicles carrying fishing equipment. During a resource inspection, six undersized trout were located. Post Miranda, one of the individuals admitted to catching five of the trout. Officer Bibeau wrote the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized trout and a warning for being over the daily bag limit of trout.

 

While on land patrol around the 4th Street bridge, Officer Caldwell observed a male subject place a cooler inside of a vehicle and close the door. Officer Caldwell approached the subject and observed the cooler, as well as some buckets containing cast nets inside. Upon approaching the individual, another male subject walked up to the vehicle from the bridge. Officer Caldwell obtained consent to conduct a resource inspection of the cooler. The inspection revealed 24 undersized sheepshead, 8 stone crabs in whole condition, 6 undersized black drum, and 1 undersized redfish. Officers Pettifer and Godfrey responded to assist with the case. Both subjects admitted to harvesting the fish by cast net during a brief post Miranda interview. Both subjects were issued misdemeanor citations for possession of undersized sheepshead, undersized black drum and possession of stone crabs in whole condition. Warnings were issued for undersized redfish and undersized stone crab claws.

 

Officers Infante, Carter, Guerin, Gaudion, Berg and Lieutenant Bontrager worked with aviation pilot Officer Fields and Officer Alvis to enforce trespass and night hunting violations. Officer Fields and Alvis led the land units to several violators during two overnights. Violations observed were trespassing, casting dogs from a roadway, night hunting, hunting from a roadway, felony armed trespassing, fleeing to elude officers and resisting without violence. In total, appropriate violations were addressed with 15 subjects.

 

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE

 

HERNANDO COUNTY

 

Officer Bergwerff responded to a call of a dead manatee in the Hernando Beach area. When she arrived, she located a dolphin that had beached itself. Officer Spradlin and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Rescue Team also responded. The officers assisted the team in the water with the evaluation. In all, personnel were on scene with the dolphin for over five hours. After a full medical workup, the dolphin became active and tried to swim away. The on-scene veterinarian decided the dolphin was strong enough to be left in the wild.

 

LEE COUNTY

 

Officers Fogle, Furbay and Stapleton responded to an alligator call in a Bonita Springs residential community. This was Officer Stapleton’s first nuisance alligator call and capture.

 

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS

 

LEE COUNTY

 

Lee County officers are stepping up their patrols related to inshore net fishing as the commercial mullet season has started. Officers will be looking to enforce quality control, licensing, and net limitation regulations throughout the season.

 

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

 

CHARLOTTE COUNTY

 

Officers Mitchell, Salem, Furbay and Stapleton assisted Hunting and Game Management with a Special Purpose Permit. The permit was issued to relocate wild alligators that were fenced in when a new alligator farm was created. Cool weather led to only capturing and relocating two alligators to Webb WMA.

 

LEE COUNTY

 

Officers Bradshaw and Hazelwood attended the Junior Ranger Program at Koreshan State Historic Site. The officers talked to the children in attendance about being an officer and answered questions about rules, regulations and the job in general.

 

PASCO COUNTY

 

Officer Pulaski conducted an outreach event with a local fishing club. He educated them on different programs the agency offers, Wildlife Alert, and GovDelivery where fishermen can receive up-to-date information and news releases through emails and text messages. Officer Pulaski also spoke about boating safety and fisheries regulations.

 

Officer Pulaski participated in the Great American Teach-In at two separate schools. There were approximately 100 students at Northwest Elementary School and an additional 45 students at Crews Lake Middle School. Officer Pulaski educated the youth about the duties and responsibilities of an officer. He also provided information about the different divisions within the agency and spoke about the preservation of the American Alligator.

 

 

SOUTH REGION A

 

CASES

 

BROWARD COUNTY

 

Officers Banks and Matthews were on patrol near the South Florida Water Management STA 3-4 during the annual waterfowl season. They were dispatched to an area nearby due to a report of illegal target shooters. Officer Ryan arrived on scene to assist. The officers contacted an individual that was involved in the shooting. After information was gathered from the individual, a warrant was confirmed from the United States Customs and Border Patrol. The person was issued citations related to the shooting and a Border Patrol Agent responded to the scene and took the person into custody for the warrant.

 

MARTIN COUNTY

 

While conducting saltwater fisheries inspections, Officer Morrow approached a subject underneath a bridge. Upon contact with the subject, Officer Morrow noticed a plastic bucket with a large rock on the lid in the water near the subject. When asked, the subject advised the bucket belonged to him. Upon inspection, the bucket was found to contain a red drum measuring 13 inches. Florida law prohibits possession of red drum under 18 inches. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersize red drum and the illegal fish was returned to the water.

 

PALM BEACH COUNTY

 

Lieutenant Carcasses and Officer Wright were patrolling the A1-Flow Equalization Basin during the quota permit duck hunt. They were observing three subjects hunting from a duck blind. Upon the subjects exiting the area, Lieutenant Carcasses and Officer Wright checked the blind they were hunting from. In and around the blind, they located nearly 60 spent shotgun shells that had been left in the marsh. Investigator Coffin was called in to check the subjects as they exited the marsh and all three subjects were issued littering citations.

 

Investigators Warne and Phillips responded to a boating accident with injuries at the Lake Park Marina involving a commercial dive boat. A diver was severely cut in the upper thigh from the props of the dive boat. Officers Godward and Spradling heard the distress call and arrived on scene with very little time delay. Officer Spradling boarded the vessel and administered first aid while a USCG vessel was in route to their location offshore. When the USCG arrived, they loaded the victim onto their boat and transported the victim to EMS as Officer Godward and Spradling followed. Investigator Phillips responded to the hospital, obtained photos and then went to the scene. Investigator Warne and Officer Hankinson responded to the dock and met the vessel as it was docking. Investigator Warne identified all persons on the vessel and collected sworn written statements from all the passengers and divers from the vessel. The USCG arrived and took over the investigation and interviewed the captain and the crew. The case was turned over to the USCG.

 

ST. LUCIE COUNTY

 

United States Wildlife Officers stopped a PWC in Fort Pierce for a violation of the slow speed manatee zone. The officers noticed signs of impairment from the operator and contacted Officers Payne and Hausler for assistance to conduct the BUI investigation. The operator performed poorly during field sobriety tasks and was arrested. The subject provided a breath sample of 0.178 and 0.175. The subject was booked into the county jail for BUI.

 

Officer Payne and Hausler responded to a boating accident on the North Fork of the St Lucie River. The operator of the vessel stated that the vessel struck a submerged log and lost control, striking a channel marker and ended up on the shoreline. Three occupants who could not swim and were not wearing life jackets were ejected from the vessel into the water. The other passengers on the boat assisted the subjects to shore. A passing vessel picked up an injured person who had sustained a broken leg. The vessel was later removed from the water. The investigation is ongoing.

 

Officers Hausler and Payne were conducting license and resource inspections in Fort Pierce, when they encountered two subjects and two young children fishing. During an inspection, the subjects were found to be in possession of 15 mangrove snapper, six of which were undersized. The subjects were issued the appropriate citations for the violation.

 

RESCUES

 

MARTIN COUNTY

 

Officers, along with the county sheriff’s office, responded to a call about a lost hiker in the Dupuis WMA. Lieutenant Fillip and Officers Morrow, McLeod, Carroll, Brevik, Kirkland and K-9 Hera separated into two teams and searched the area on foot. The team consisting of Officers Morrow and Mcleod and Deputy Yun found the lost subject and a helicopter guided them out through the waist high waters and heavily wooded area. The subject was in good health and refused medical treatment.

 

PALM BEACH COUNTY

 

Officers Spradling and Godward were on water patrol offshore when they heard a vessel call for assistance on VHF channel 16. The “Mayday” came from a commercial dive boat for an injured diver. Immediately, Officers Spradling and Godward responded to the vessel arriving within a couple minutes. On the stern dive platform of the commercial dive boat was a white female on her back yelling in pain with a towel covering her left leg. Officer Godward quickly navigated the patrol vessel through the rough seas against the port side of the dive boat. Officer Spradling jumped onto the dive boat and checked the extent of her injuries. First aid was administered to the subject’s extensive injuries. The USCG arrived and pulled up to the dive vessel’s starboard side and passed a backboard to the officers. With the help of the USCG, Officers Spradling and Godward loaded and secured the woman onto the backboard and transferred her to the USCG vessel. The woman was taken to the Riviera Beach Marina where Fire Rescue was waiting. Fire Rescue took over care for the woman and transported her to St. Mary’s Medical Center.

 

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE

 

BROWARD COUNTY

 

Officer Brock met with a Broward County Deputy at the Pompano Beach boat ramp. The deputy gave Officer Brock an alligator. He had been flagged down by several individuals that had crowded around an alligator in the street. Officer Brock released the alligator back into the Everglades.

 

HENDRY COUNTY

 

Officer Keen responded to County Road 833 just north of Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation about a possible deceased Florida panther. Upon arrival, Officer Keen contacted the county sheriff’s office and verified the deceased animal was a Florida panther. It appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. The panther was turned over to a panther biologist for further analysis.

 

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS

 

PALM BEACH COUNTY

 

Officers Pecko, Hankinson, Stone and Merizio worked the opening weekend of duck season at STA-1W. The officers checked hundreds of hunters throughout the weekend and violations were handled accordingly.

 

 

SOUTH REGION B

 

CASES

 

COLLIER COUNTY

 

Officers Plussa and Knutson were conducting federal fisheries off load inspections on a commercial vessel in Naples, where they observed violations relating to the subject’s federal and state commercial fishing license. The violations were addressed and the appropriate law enforcement action was taken.

 

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

 

While on land patrol, an officer was responding to a complaint inside of a WMA. Upon arrival, the officer noticed an unoccupied vehicle blocking the levee entrance. After conducting a search of the area, this officer discovered two males that were trapping buntings in the area. They had a total of 4 traps deployed in the area and were in possession of two indigo buntings and two blue grosbeaks. They were also in violation of several water management rules. The subjects were cited accordingly.

 

An investigator and officer were on land patrol working when they observed a vehicle parked towards the end of a dirt road with two men sitting in lawn chairs in front of the car. Upon further investigation, the officers discovered they were trapping migratory song birds. They were in possession of two total traps, 4 painted buntings and 1 indigo bunting. The subjects were cited accordingly.

 

An investigator and officer spotted a pickup truck loaded down with garbage bags driving towards a dead-end road. They watched the pickup from a distance until it eventually backed into another road and began illegally dumping the black bags from the back of the truck. They approached the three subjects and they admitted they were dumping household trash from one of their houses because they did not know where the local trash dump was. All three subjects were cited for illegally dumping.

 

A park ranger, working the point of sale at the ranger station, gave a tip to a unit within the park of a suspicious vehicle that was entering. The individuals wore all black attire and the driver made minimal eye contact, while the passenger refused to look in any direction other than straight forward. Officers maintained surveillance on the vehicle as it entered parking lot number 9. As the driver exited the vehicle, he immediately began peering into nearby car windows and testing the door handles trying to enter unlocked vehicles. The subjects moved on to different areas of the parking lot as the driver continued suspicious behavior. As the vehicle started to leave the park, officers initiated a traffic stop. During the stop, it was discovered the driver had a suspended license with prior convictions. Officers found a stolen credit card in the driver’s possession from a break-in earlier that day which occurred at another local park. Additionally, the suspects were using a rental vehicle that was two weeks overdue and there were several burglary tools found. They were trespassed from the park and charged with loitering and prowling. The second subject was also on federal probation/supervised release status. The police department had probable cause to arrest based on intelligence connecting the second subject to a burglary in their jurisdiction from early November.

 

Two officers were on nighttime water patrol near Bear Cut when they encountered a returning vessel with three subjects onboard. A fisheries inspection and the officers’ subsequent investigation determined that a combination of yellowtail snappers, a mutton snapper and Spanish mackerel had either been filleted and/or sectioned. The captain of the vessel received citations for the multiple violations.

 

MONROE COUNTY

 

Officers Thompson and Pino were on patrol and dispatched to Tavernier Creek Bridge South End about individuals catching undersized fish. Upon arrival, an individual turned around and ran. The individual was followed around the corner where he was seen throwing fish into the water. Officer Thompson identified himself and told the individual to “stop throwing the fish.” He did not stop. Officer Thompson entered the water to retrieve one undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Thompson also discovered an additional undersized mangrove snapper that was concealed under a towel. The subject was arrested for interference/obstruction and possession of two undersized mangrove snapper.

 

Officer Sapp was conducting water patrol in Key West Harbor when he received a call regarding a grounded vessel on the gulf side of Big Coppitt Key. Upon arrival, the vessel appeared to have been involved in a boating accident. Officer Sapp searched the area to look for the operator, but was unable to locate him. Officer Sapp located a dog in the water, and rescued him with the help of the SPCA. Officer Sapp had heard a voice in the distance yelling for help, but the subject refused to come out and acted aggressively. While responding to Officer Sapp’s call for assistance, Officer Carroll spotted a man in boxers, screaming at traffic. The man tried to run into Officer Carroll’s lane while he was driving down the highway. Officer Carroll ordered the subject onto the ground and detained him. Officer Carroll determined that this was the subject that had crashed his vessel and lost his dog. Due to the subject’s behavior and his apparent intoxication, field sobriety tests were conducted and it was determined that the subject had been operating the vessel while intoxicated. The subject was arrested for BUI, leaving the scene and animal abandonment.

 

While on uniform patrol in John Pennekamp State Park, Officer McKay observed two subjects at the rear of a parked SUV. The male was mixing drinks in red Solo cups and proceeded to give one to the female. Officer McKay watched the subjects and just prior to leaving, the male retrieved a beer bottle from the rear of the SUV and place it in the backseat. As they drove away, the driver failed to stop at two stop signs. The vehicle was stopped at the park’s Ranger Station. After gaining consent, Officer McKay checked the vehicle and discovered 12 unopened cans/bottles of beer and other alcoholic drinks. The driver admitted to having prepared mojito drinks for him and his 18-year-old girlfriend. The male was placed under arrest for possession of alcohol by a person under 21 years of age and providing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age. The subject was also cited for traffic and park rule violations. His passenger was also given a notice to appear. The vehicle was towed.

 

While on land patrol in Tavernier, Officer McKay observed a truck and trailer off-loading landscape debris onto the shoulder of the road. Hurricane Irma roadside debris removal had ended the previous month. Three men were removing Silver Buttonwood branches and when asked, the truck owner who owns a landscape operation, said the vegetation was from his residence. When asked if officers would find Silver Buttonwood trees at his residence, the truck owner didn’t respond. A few minutes later he admitted that the materials being dumped were from a construction job site. He, along with his two friends, were arrested for littering for commercial purposes. The truck and trailer were towed.

 

RESCUES

 

COLLIER COUNTY

 

Lieutenant Sushil and Officer Tidwell responded to a Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) call about a male in his 70s that was having difficulty breathing and going in and out of consciousness. The gentleman was on a kayak in shallow water north of Isles of Capri. Officers picked up two firemen from station 90 on Isles of Capri and brought them via vessel into the back water to locate the kayaker. When he was located, fire-rescue treated him while in route back to the dock where EMS was waiting to transport him to the hospital.

 

Officers Plussa, Kleis and Tidwell responded to a marine medical emergency in Gordon Pass involving a boy that had gone missing while swimming in the pass. After a combined search of the area with EMS, the boy was found safe and returned to his family onshore.

 

MONROE COUNTY

 

Officer Carroll was notified of a sunken vessel with four people, including one child, clinging to the bridge at Bahia Honda. After responding from Marathon, Officer Carroll navigated through the rough waters to find the distressed boaters and bring them safely onboard. It was determined that the vessel was too small to handle the rough conditions. It went down quickly and only two people could put on life jackets. The boaters were returned safely to their cars.

 

MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE

 

COLLIER COUNTY

 

Officers Plussa and Knutson responded to complaints of a black bear in a neighborhood, raiding trash cans. The officers hazed the bear out of the area, but it returned several hours later to resume feeding from the trash cans. The officers hazed the bear off a second time successfully. Several area residents were issued letters of noncompliance for not securing their trash, resulting in attracting bears to the area.

 

DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS

 

COLLIER COUNTY

 

Officer Plussa conducted a series of focused patrols at Delnor-Wiggins State Park. Rangers at the park had been having issued with visitors refusing to leave the park at closing time. Officer Plussa issued a series of citations to violators and unattended vehicles parked illegally in the area overnight. Throughout the patrol, other violations were addressed including consumption of alcohol in a state park, open container in a motor vehicle, unlawful speed and failure to adhere to park staff instructions.

 

COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING

 

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

 

On November 21, 2017, there was an orientation in which a partnership director of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), Miami division, visited the Miami regional office and shared materials about the “Bigs in Blue” program. We currently have 16 law enforcement personnel who are new volunteers and will be paired with high school students from Miami Jackson Senior High. The officers will interview with a BBBS match support specialist to determine the best match for themselves and the students based on personalities and shared attributes. In this school to work program, the mission of BBBS is to help the student succeed, avoid risky behavior and develop confidence in their aspirations. This partnership will create a foundation that can develop working relationships and trust between minority youth and conservation law enforcement.

 

MONROE COUNTY

 

Captain Dipre and Officers Rafter, Piekenbrock, Mobley, Carroll, Dube and Hettel represented all Monroe County staff on the Today Show. Al Roker and his team came down to recognize the response by all first responders in the Florida Keys during Hurricane Irma. The Sheriff’s Office and Key West Police Department were also in attendance, as well as a few other groups from the county.