Officer Sauls and Lieutenant Cook were contacted about a suspicious vehicle on the Box R Wildlife Management Area early Saturday morning. After responding they found a significant amount of blood and deer hair in and around the truck. After a short investigation and a couple of interviews they determined that the owner of the truck was night hunting in the area the previous night. The subject had shot a spike deer with the use of a gun and light. The subject was cited, and the deer and gun seized.
Officer Schulz was patrolling the Apalachicola WMA on FR 305 when he observed a vehicle parked in the woods. He stopped and contacted the occupants. He was assisted by Investigator Conlin and Officers Hofheinz and Hughes. After conducting the investigation, Officer Schulz arrested one subject for possession of cocaine, possession of cannabis under 20 grams, resisting without violence and tampering with evidence. The other two subjects were cited for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officer Corbin and Officer Specialist Pifer received a complaint reference an anchored boat in Rocky Bayou not displaying an anchor light and a navigational hazard. The officers responded by vessel and located a 34’ cabin style vessel. The vessel displayed an expired Florida registration as of 2011. Officer Corbin contacted the last registered owner who advised that he had sold it. The previous owner provided the name of the new owner. Officer Corbin contacted the new owner who provided a bill of sale dated 8/2018. The new owner was cited and issued a notice to appear for failure to transfer vessel into his name within 30 days and no anchor light.
Officer Corbin and Officer Specialist Pifer were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and resource protection in Santa Rosa Sound when they observed a 29-foot anchored sailboat in deteriorating condition. Upon closer inspection, the vessel’s mast was lying down across the vessel without a sail attached, the hull was extremely barnacle laden, and the vessel appeared abandoned. The entrance into the cabin had a gap leaving the vessel open to elements. The officer observed approximately 2 feet of standing water inside. Most of the contents inside the vessel were covered in mold and mildew. The vessel does not have a motor attached to the stern and it is unknown if the vessel contains a motor or if the motor works. The sailboat, by definition, meets the statute requirements of a derelict vessel. Through the vessel registration, Officer Corbin was able to identify the owner. The owner has an address listed in Tennessee. Officer Corbin completed an affidavit to secure an arrest warrant for leaving a derelict vessel in state waters.
Officers Corbin and Matechik responded to three black bears in garbage complaint off Overbrook Drive in Fort Walton Beach. Upon arrival, the officers located a female bear and two cubs in a tree. Also, they observed two residential garbage cans knocked over with household garbage/waste scattered on the lawns. The officers spoke to the two homeowners who had their garbage cans knocked over. The officers educated them of the laws requiring garbage cans being secured. Both homeowners were issued non-compliance letters.
Officer Maltais was on land patrol conducting resource protection during the first phase of archery hunting season on Eglin Wildlife Management (WMA). The officers observed a parked unattended Dodge Ram truck blocking a gate. Officer Maltais traced the subject’s steps as far as he could in wooded area of Eglin. When Officer Maltais lost the subject’s track, he contacted K-9 Officer Hutchinson and his dog Zara for assistance. After the K-9 unit arrived and began their search, the subject stepped out of the woods onto main road where Officer Maltais made contact. With the help of the K-9-unit Officer Maltais determined the subject had baited the area surrounding his tree stand with corn. Officer Maltais cited and issued the subject a notice to appear for baiting on a management area. Warnings were issued for blocking a gate and failure to check-in prior to heading to tree stand.
Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting fisheries inspections in the Fort Walton Beach area. The officer observed three individuals actively fishing at the Liza Jackson Park. As Officer Corbin approached the subject, he observed what appeared to be a red drum cut in half placed on the railing of the fishing pier. In conversation, one of the individuals said he had caught the small red drum, and that he was using as bait. The only half left of the red drum was the midsection to the head. The officer issued the individual a notice to appear citation for failure to land fish in whole condition and possession of undersized red drum.
Officer Corbin received a compliant reference a subject harvesting and keeping undersize pompano at the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. The officer was provided a description of the subject. Upon arriving, the officer contacted the individual, and in conversation, asked the subject if he had any luck catching fish. Officer Corbin explained the complaint regarding the harvest of undersize pompano. An inspection of a cooler revealed six undersized pompano, all measuring under ten inch fork length. The officer issued the individual a notice to appear citation for possession of undersized pompano.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Officer Lewis received a complaint about a baited blind in Blackwater Wildlife Management Area (WMA.) He located the baited blind and observed that it was covered with freshly cut pine trees from the surrounding area. Officer Lewis encountered a subject on a road near the baited blind carrying the blind’s storage bag. The subject admitted to cutting the trees used to cover the blind. Officer Lewis explained to the subject that cutting trees in a WMA was a criminal offense and issued the subject a notice to appear for cutting trees in a WMA.
Officers Mullins and Roberson received a complaint about the harvest of a short-horned buck in Blackwater State Forest. The officers visited a subject’s residence to speak about the illegal deer. After investigation, the subject admitted that he hid the horns in the back of a vehicle at another location. The officers located and measured the horns’ main beams which were 8 inches on both sides. The suspect admitted he harvested the illegal deer in Blackwater State Forest and was charged with the taking of the illegal deer.
Officers Hughes and Korade were on water patrol near the St. Marks Lighthouse. They conducted a boating and resource inspection on a subject sitting in his boat on the river. Officer Hughes detected the faint smell of cannabis when the subject moved near him during the inspection. After completing the inspections, Officer Hughes addressed the odor of cannabis he had detected. The investigation concluded with Officer Hughes citing the subject for possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Ramos represented FWC at Escambia High school at their annual Law Enforcement Career day where local and federal police agencies were on-hand to discuss law enforcement careers with interested students. Students enjoyed the many static displays including an opportunity to tour a FWC patrol truck and patrol vessel. Officer Ramos spoke with many curious students and explained the unique roles and responsibilities that conservation law enforcement officers serve across the state.
Officer Pekerol and Officer Specialist Miller participated in the Veterans Day Parade in Jefferson County. The officers pulled an airboat and represented the agency.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
Officer Harris was patrolling Grove Park Wildlife Management Area. He heard a gunshot in an area where he previously saw a parked truck. Officer Harris returned to the area and found a man standing near the truck. After a brief conversation, Officer Harris went back to the area where the subject had taken the shot. The individual admitted that he had shot an illegal buck. Officer Harris followed the blood trail and located the short antler buck that had been shot. The man was cited for taking an illegal short antler buck. The deer was seized as evidence.
Investigator Thomason was patrolling the Flying Eagle Wildlife Management Area when he saw two individuals coming out of the woods and going to their vehicle. He approached the operator of the vehicle and asked for their quota permits and licenses. The owner/operator of the vehicle handed him his license, but the other subject said that all his licenses were expired. Investigator Thomason saw a cooler in the back of the truck and asked the owner if he could look in the cooler. The cooler contained freshly cut up meat which looked like deer meat. Investigator Thomason observed the meat was not tagged and there was no sex evidence. Investigator Thomason checked the owner’s hunting equipment and found him in possession of a centerfire rifle which is not permitted during the Flying Eagle WMA hunt. Investigator Thomason informed the individuals of their violations and took a sample of the meat in the cooler to determine if it was a buck or doe. The appropriate citations and warnings were issued for the violations.
Officers Schirbock and Shearer were on patrol in the Mayport area of Jacksonville when they received information of a subject keeping two oversized 40-inch redfish. Officer Shearer (RPU plain-clothes officer) watched as the two fish were loaded into the back of the subject’s truck. Officer Chris Schirbock issued the suspect two notices to appear for the violations.
Lieutenant Arkin obtained felony warrants on a subject who harvested an alligator in August. The suspect was driving around with the alligator in a vehicle and displaying it in the parking lot of a Jacksonville Internet Cafe. It was discovered that the suspect gave Lieutenant Arkin his brother’s name and date of birth. The warrants were for fraudulently using personal information, possession of an American Alligator, and giving law enforcement a fictitious name. The subject was located and arrested by Lieutenant Arkin on the FWC warrants and Department of Corrections warrants. After an interview and the receipt of a sworn statement, an additional felony charge was filed on the subject for possession of stolen credit cards.
Officer Lemaster was on patrol at Alamcani Boat Ramp in Jacksonville checking several subjects who were fishing in the area. Officer Lemaster came across a subject who had cannabis and drug paraphernalia. The suspect was issued a notice to appear in Duval County Court for possession of cannabis under 20 grams.
Officers Haskins and Gilmore were patrolling Cecil Field and Jacksonville Electric Authority property when they saw two subjects riding ATVs in an area prohibited to vehicular traffic and closed to the public. Notices to appear were issued for trespass and for traffic offenses. Several written warnings were issued for trespass, operating a vehicle in a closed area, and driving while license was revoked (DWLSR.)
Officer Waldo received a call from the Jacksonville Regional Communications Center pertaining to a subject dumping a deer carcass in the creek off Sandy Ford Road, south of Callahan. Officer Waldo responded to the location of the dumped deer and to the alleged suspect’s residence. The suspect in this case admitted to Officer Waldo that he shot and dumped the deer carcass off Sandy Ford Road. The deer did not meet the restrictions for the Deer Management Unit C-6 (3- points on one side or a 10” main beam). The suspect was cited with a notice to appear in court.
Officer Waldo was on patrol in the Callahan area of Nassau County when he received a call about an abandoned vessel. Officer Waldo conducted a vessel check and was able to determine the owner of the vessel. Officer Waldo discovered that the vessel was sold several months ago. A misdemeanor uniform boating citation was issued to the current owner for failure to transfer title and he is working with the owner to have the vessel removed.
Investigator McMillan and Officer Dasher were patrolling in a rural area when they saw a vehicle traveling towards their location. Suddenly the vehicle stopped, and the driver exited the vehicle firing one shot. They stopped the vehicle and found one subject and a .40- caliber Glock pistol. When questioned, the subject admitted post-Miranda to shooting at a deer with the pistol while the deer was illuminated by the vehicle’s headlights. The subject was cited for attempting to take deer at night by use of gun and light, shooting from a public road and illegal method.
Officer Wilder was on patrol on Highway 98 after dark when he noticed a truck parked on the side of the road with its emergency flashers on. He stopped his patrol vehicle and approached the driver. Upon contact, he noticed the individual was very nervous and evasive. During his investigation Officer Wilder determined that the individual had shot at a doe deer from his vehicle with a .22-caliber rifle and was looking for it in the woods alongside the highway. The man was also on probation and prohibited to be in possession of firearms. Officer Wilder seized the rifle and charged the individual appropriately.
Officers Dasher and Robson received an anonymous complaint about bait being placed in a local WMA during archery season. Both officers conducted surveillance in the area where the bait was found. Opening day of general gun season, the officers saw several vehicles near the baited stand and conducted foot patrol throughout the area. The officers saw an individual dressed in camouflage holding a rifle overlooking the baited area. The officers contacted the subject who admitted to placing and hunting over the bait. The subject was cited accordingly.
Officer Yates was patrolling the Big Shoals WMA for a quota hunt. He checked a subject that was using a crossbow. This WMA requires subjects to use only compound bows unless they have a doctor’s note, which he did not have. Officer Yates issued the subject a citation for illegal method during the quota hunt.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Johnston recently participated in two public outreach events in Lake City which included the Lake City Chamber of Commerce night out event and the Columbia High School homecoming parade. Officer Johnston represented FWC with a marked patrol vehicle and vessel while participating with other law enforcement agencies at both events. Officer Johnston answered questions from the public about the role of a FWC officer. Both events were a success.
Officers Rice and Dias received information of an illegal deer being killed on Ocala Wildlife Management Area (WMA) during the closed season. When the complainant described the suspect vehicle, both officers recognized it due to several prior encounters they both had with the owner and WMA violations, most recently attempting to hunt over a baited area on the opening day of archery season. The officers made an appointment to meet that subject for an interview. After being given his Miranda warning, the subject admitted to taking a mature buck off the Pipeline Unit of the WMA during the closed season. The subject surrendered the quartered-out meat from the deer, the rifle used, and the deer skull (8 point) that was sent to a taxidermist to be mounted. He was issued a notice to appear in court for taking deer during a closed season, and a warning for failing to check in a deer taken off the WMA.
Officer Wear was on foot patrol a week before the opening of gun season in the Pipeline Unit of Ocala Wildlife Management Area. He saw a white truck park near his location off a forest road. The officer saw a subject exit the truck with what appeared to a plastic grocery bag of what might be bait for deer. The subject disappeared into the woods for several minutes, returned to his truck and left the area. Officer Wear tracked the subject’s foot sign into the woods and located a tree stand. On the ground near the stand were a couple of mineral blocks with frozen persimmons on top of the blocks. On the opening morning of gun season Officer Wear was conducting surveillance of the baited hunt site. He saw the white truck return and a subject exit the truck and go into the hunt site. At safe light the officer entered the hunt site and contacted the subject in the tree stand. Officer Wear advised the subject that he watched him enter the area the prior week and asked him to come down. Once on the ground, the subject led the officer to the mineral blocks he placed the prior week and admitted to placing them to attract deer. The subject was issued a notice to appear in court for attempting to take deer over a baited area on the WMA.
Officer North responded to the sound of a shot on opening morning of general gun season in Pierson. He was able to locate the shot and found a subject in possession of a spike buck. One spike was 7 ¾-inches long and the other was 8 ¾-inches, both below the required 10-inch minimum length. A citation was issued for the violation
Officer Sapp responded to a complaint of subjects running deer with dogs across and shooting down a county road in New Smyrna. While canvassing the area he saw a truck pull out of the woods and onto the county road. In the bed of the truck he could plainly see a wash tub with a fresh deer carcass. Officer Sapp stopped the truck and inquired about the deer. The driver told the officer that he had killed a legal buck earlier that morning and cleaned the deer at his hunt camp. The subject took the officer back to his camp and produced the deer head which was a spike buck with both antlers less than 7-inches long, below the 10-inch minimum length. A citation was issued for the violation.
While checking hunting camps near Oak Hill on opening day of general gun season, Officer Edson located a subject at one camp who was hunting with dogs that did not have the required information the hunting dog’s collar. A citation was issued for the violation.
Officer North and Officer Malicoat were on patrol during the quota hunt in Tiger Bay / Rima Ridge Unit WMA when they encountered a subject in possession of a spike buck. Neither antler on the buck was 10” in length, as required by law. A citation was issued for the violation.
ST. JOHNS COUNTY
Officers Lawshe and Ramsey issued multiple citations at the Guana River Dam for prohibited access on the dam. Together they have issued more than a dozen citations for prohibited access and three for illegal method of taking fin fish. They also wrote warnings for fishing licenses.
While on patrol at C.S. Lee Boat Ramp, Officer Hastings conducted a resource inspection on a vessel that was returning from fishing. During the inspection, Officer Hastings located 14 black crappie in a 5-gallon bucket. The subject had a truck topper concealing the bed of the pickup truck. Officer Hastings received consent to inspect the bed of the truck and located a cooler with 20 black crappie inside. The subject admitted to bringing the fish back to the vehicle earlier in the day. The subject was cited accordingly for possessing 9 black crappie over the bag limit.
Officer Chriest received a call of an injured bear outside a residence in a rural area in Umatilla. The bear’s injuries were beyond rehabilitation and Officer Chriest euthanized the bear. The next morning Officer Chriest received a call from a FWC bear contractor informing her that the bear’s head had been removed. Officer Chriest and Officer Wear interviewed three of the individuals that were at the complaint location the night before. All said they had no knowledge of what happened to the bear’s head. The individuals were able to provide helpful information about others who had access to the property and who may know about the deceased bear. They contacted another individual who was found to be in possession of the bear head. The subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for being in possession of black bear parts.
Officer Jones was on patrol in Lake George Wildlife Management Area when he saw a vehicle with a tag that had expired in 2011. A traffic stop was conducted, and it was found that the driver had multiple no bond warrants for drug offenses. The subject was placed under arrest and booked into Putnam County Jail for the warrants.
Officer Cheshire discovered corn scattered in Lake George Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and found a blind nearby. No one was there, so Officer Cheshire returned the next morning. He was able to locate two subjects hunting within 50 yards of the corn and one of them was hunting with a .450 Bushmaster centerfire rifle during muzzleloader season. Both subjects were cited for hunting over bait in a WMA and the second subject had an additional charge of hunting by unlawful method.
Lieutenant Dickson, Officer Jones, and Officer Chriest were on night patrol in Ocala Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when Lieutenant Dickson saw a vehicle blacked out on a side road. When he approached the vehicle for a well-being check he was met by two male subjects that said the truck was broken down and a tow truck was on the way. Lieutenant Dickson walked over to the vehicle and saw a loaded .223 rifle propped against the front seat with a head lamp hanging from the scope. A subsequent investigation by Lieutenant Dickson, Officer Jones, and Officer Chriest revealed the subjects were hunting unlawfully with gun and light and were in possession of a freshly killed doe deer. Two rifles, two shotguns, a handgun, three headlamps, 6 grams of cannabis and drug paraphernalia were located and seized. The four subjects in the vehicle were cited for a total of ten offenses including hunting by gun and light, hunting during a closed season in a WMA, taking antlerless deer out of season, possession of cannabis under 20 grams, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
SPECIAL DEPLOYMENT REPORT
Seventeen Southwest Regional personnel were still deployed in Panama City to assist with Hurricane Michael recovery. This is the sixth wave of officers that deployed statewide and the third group of officers from the Southwest Region.
Officer Lejarzar and Officer Mitchell were in a wildlife management area when they saw a suspicious vehicle traveling down a road. After watching a subject in the vehicle drive by, Officer Lejarzar followed to see what was going on. He located the vehicle on the side of the road. The operator was out of the vehicle changing a flat tire. Officer Lejarzar approached the man and noticed a glass smoking pipe hanging out of his pocket. The man later admitted he had other drugs in his possession. Further investigation revealed the man was in possession of marijuana, was knowingly driving on a suspended license, the tag on the vehicle was not assigned to that vehicle and the operator did not have insurance. Also, the vehicle was not registered, and the man was in possession of crystal meth. He was arrested without incident and cited for one felony, four misdemeanors and two infractions.
Officer Collazo and K-9 Roscoe were patrolling the general gun hunt at the Webb Wildlife Management Area (WMA). After checking subjects for a while, Officer Collazo let K-9 Roscoe out to stretch his legs. K-9 Roscoe immediately started showing signs that he had found something. When Officer Collazo approached the item, he found a small pistol in the grass near a fence line. Officer Collazo ran a check on the firearm and determined it was not stolen. Later, he came across a man who waved him down and ask if he had found a firearm. Officer Collazo had the man identify the gun and the type of bullets in the gun to confirm it belonged to him. The gun was successfully returned to the owner who was relieved to have found his property.
A seawall company contacted FWC dispatch concerning a four or five-foot alligator that was being fed across the canal. The alligator would approach them when they were in the water. Lieutenant Frantz contacted the complainant who said he had a video of the people feeding the alligator from the day before. After watching the canal, Lieutenant Frantz saw the subject from across the waterway feeding the alligator. A civil infraction was issued for the violation.
Officer Specialist Balfour was on patrol in the Croom WMA. He came across a vehicle parked on the border of the WMA and decided to wait for the individuals to return to conduct a resource inspection. He saw two subjects exit the wood line and head towards the vehicle with hunting gear. During the inspection, he located a short horn buck hidden underneath a tree stand on the game cart. Officer Specialist Balfour issued the appropriate citations and the buck was seized as evidence.
Officer Gonzales was patrolling Lavender Road in Hillsborough County. He noticed subjects trespassing on Southwest Florida Water Management District property. The subjects had jumped a locked fence and walked past several “No Trespassing” signs to get back to where they were fishing. Officer Gonzales cited the subjects for trespassing and they will have to appear in court for the violations.
Lieutenant Van Trees was on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) dock in Tampa, waiting to be picked up by a deputy for a night patrol, when he saw the deputy come into view alongside another vessel. After the deputy arrived at the dock he advised Lieutenant Van Trees that he saw the vessel hit a local sightseeing tour boat and keep going, not staying at the crash site as required by law. The deputy was able to catch up to the vessel and stop it. The deputy had just been through a boating under the influence (BUI) course put on by local FWC officers and told Lieutenant Van Trees he believed the operator was impaired. As the deputy began a BUI investigation, Lieutenant Van Trees began a boating accident investigation and interviewed subjects on both vessels. At the end of the investigations the deputy and Lieutenant Van Trees arrested the operator for BUI resulting in property damage, leaving the scene of an accident and reckless operation of a vessel. They also cited him for failure to submit to a breath test and for an idle speed zone violation.
Officer Winton was on patrol in Matanzas Pass when he saw a vessel that was at risk of becoming derelict. Officer Winton approached the vessel to initiate an investigation. A subject on a nearby vessel shouted that he was the vessel’s owner. Officer Winton approached the subject and discovered that the vessel he was on was not currently registered. During the stop it was determined that the subject had owned the vessel for almost three years but had never transferred the title into his name or registered the vessel. The subject was issued a notice to appear for failure to transfer title within thirty days of purchase, and warnings for failure to transfer registration within thirty days of purchase and storing an at-risk vessel upon the waters of the state.
Officer Winton was on patrol in the Cecil M. Webb WMA enforcing hunting regulations during opening day of the general gun season. He stopped a vehicle to conduct a resource inspection. As Officer Winton approached the vehicle, he smelled the odor of marijuana. A vehicle search was conducted, and it was determined that one of the passengers had been smoking marijuana in the vehicle. The occupant was issued a notice to appear for possession of marijuana less than twenty grams.
Officer Furbay and Officer Guy were driving through Matlacha when they saw a subject on shore putting a black drum in a cooler. The officers turned around, parked on the side of the road and watched the subjects through binoculars. The subject continued to fish, catching mangrove snapper and releasing them. When the officers performed a resource inspection on the catch, they found one legal size black drum in the cooler. The subject did not have valid fishing licenses and one had a warrant out of Lee County. While retrieving the subject’s identification card from the vehicle, a strong odor of marijuana was detected. A search of the vehicle revealed two bags of marijuana of less than twenty grams. All the subjects were issued warnings for fishing without a saltwater shoreline license and the subject with an outstanding warrant was transported and booked into the Lee County Jail. Appropriate citations were issued for the possession of marijuana.
Officer Hardgrove was on patrol at the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp in Lee County when he conducted a resource inspection on a vessel returning from offshore. Upon inspection of the cooler three of the four red grouper were undersized and the vessel’s occupants also had in their possession an undersized, out of season gray triggerfish. After reading the subjects the Miranda warning, the captain said that he wished to take responsibility for the violations. A notice to appear was issued to the captain for possession of undersized red grouper and possession of undersized gray triggerfish as well as seven written warnings.
Officer Winton was on water patrol off the coast of Sanibel when he saw a fishing vessel returning from offshore waters. Officer Winton stopped the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection, at which time he found that it was a charter fishing vessel. During the inspection, a 19.25” African pompano was found, well under the 24” minimum size limit. The vessel’s captain was issued a notice to appear for the violation.
Officer Specialist Balfour and Officer Rothchild responded to a complaint of someone keeping an alligator as a pet in their home. The officers spoke with the individual who lived at the house and verified that an alligator was present. The officers issued the individual a citation for not having a required permit for the alligator and a citation for child endangerment. The alligator was seized as evidence.
Officer Specialist Balfour was on patrol around Crockett Lake. He found a fresh excavation site and foot sign. He started to track the foot sign and realized that the individuals had circled back and were still in the area. He carefully tracked back and was able to observe the individuals hiding. While he maintained a visual on the subjects, he gave loud verbal commands. The individuals attempted to flee after Officer Balfour identified himself. He apprehended the subjects and cited them for resisting arrest and issued a warning for trespass to both subjects. Further charges are pending regarding the illegal excavation of artifacts.
Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around the Skyway Bridge Fishing Pier. He stopped and performed a fisheries inspection on a subject fishing from the pier. During the inspection, Officer Gonzales found that the subject had caught and kept ten gray (mangrove) snapper, all of which were under the ten-inch minimum size limit. The subject was cited criminally for possession of undersized and over the bag limit of mangrove snapper. He will have to appear in court for his violations.
Officer Bibler and Lieutenant Van Trees responded to a call for assistance from the United States Coast Guard regarding a vessel operator who was possibly under the influence. Lieutenant Van Trees arrived and, after reviewing the USCG officer’s probable cause statement, he arrested the operator for boating under the influence. After Lieutenant Van Trees took over the arrest from the USCG officer, he asked the operator if he would submit to a test of his breath and the operator refused. The subject was subsequently transported and booked into the Pinellas County Jail for boating under the influence and refusal to submit to a breath test.
Officer Specialist Bibeau saw a boat return to a nearby boat ramp. He contacted the individuals on the vessel to conduct a fisheries inspection and located an undersized and out of season triggerfish along with a king mackerel that was not in whole condition. Officer Specialist Bibeau issued the operator of the vessel a misdemeanor citation for possession of triggerfish during closed season and two warnings for the other fisheries violations.
Officer Specialist Bibeau saw two subjects actively fishing from the shoreline. He waited for them to return to their vehicle prior to conducting a fisheries inspection. He found the subjects to be in possession of nine undersized redfish. One of the subject’s admitted to catching five of the redfish while the other subject, a juvenile, admitted to catching the other four redfish. Officer Specialist Bibeau wrote the adult subject a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized redfish and a major violation for the redfish, along with a warning for violation of the executive order pertaining to redfish and snook.
Officer Specialist Bibeau saw a subject returning to his vehicle carrying fishing equipment and a cooler. He contacted the individual to conduct a fisheries inspection and located three undersized mangrove snappers, one undersized sheepshead and a redfish. After conducting a records search, Officer Specialist Bibeau found that the individual had previously been warned for being in possession of undersized mangrove snapper approximately six months earlier. Officer Specialist Bibeau issued the individual a misdemeanor citation for possession of undersized mangrove snapper and two warnings for undersized sheepshead and violation of the executive order pertaining to redfish.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
Officer Dalton was on land patrol around 17th Street and Lockwood Ridge Road. He was approached by a man who said his girlfriend was overdosing on drugs behind a nearby convenience store. Officer Dalton responded and immediately started to perform lifesaving measures on the woman. Officer Dalton performed CPR (along with a Sarasota Sheriffs Officer who arrived on scene) for several minutes until EMS arrived. The woman was alive when placed in the ambulance to be transported to the hospital.
Officers Winton, Hazelwood, Bell and Stapleton assisted with the search and recovery of a subject who drowned near the Punta Rassa Boat Ramp. The subject was recovered, and the case is being investigated by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
Officer Bell partnered with FWC, FWRI, Sea World, and Lee County Sheriff’s Deputies to release three manatees back into the water. The manatees had previously been rescued by FWC officers and FWRI Staff after suffering from the effects of red tide.
DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
Officer Specialists Bibeau, Ferguson and Lieutenant Van Trees were conducting a directed conservation patrol targeting night hunting violations when they heard a gunshot near their location. The officers canvassed the area and found a subject who was using a spotlight to illuminate areas off the county road he was on. The subject was using the spotlight in a manner consistent with night hunting. After observing these actions, they contacted the subject who had a loaded rifle next to him in the truck. After an interview, the subject was cited for hunting from a roadway and attempting to take wildlife at night while in possession of gun and light.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Specialist Pulaski conducted an outreach event for the Port Hudson Fishing Club. He discussed state and federal fishing regulations and provided information on boating safety to the eighteen members who attended the meeting.
Officer Specialist Pulaski and Lieutenant Parisoe participated in the Great American Teach-In. They spoke at several different elementary schools. During their presentations, the officers discussed what it is like being an FWC officer, as well as general knowledge about local fish and wildlife. In all, over 280 students were present for the discussions.
SOUTH REGION A
Officer Hudson conducted surveillance on three subjects fishing at Hobe Sound Beach. The three subjects started to leave the beach carrying a big cooler that was overflowing with bluefish. Officer Hudson contacted the subjects and found them to be fishing without fishing licenses and in possession of 40 bluefish,10 over the legal limit. Officer Hudson issued the subjects misdemeanor citations for over the bag limit of bluefish and written warnings for no fishing license.
Officer Hudson was conducting surveillance on the Jensen causeway when he saw three subjects throwing a cast net from the bridge. Officer Hudson conducted a resource inspection on the subjects in the parking lot and found them in possession of an undersized pompano, undersized sheepshead, undersized mangrove snapper and an oversized snook, all of which had been taken with a cast net. The three subjects received 9 misdemeanor citations and 7 warnings.
Environmental Investigator Luher responded to a complaint regarding a large number of tires stored at a private residence. Upon arrival, she learned the owner had 600 used tires delivered to her house to use for a fence. A tire shop delivered the tires. Warnings were issued to the tire company for delivering tires to an unpermitted facility, and to the owner for improper storage of tires. The tire company retrieved the used tires to dispose of them properly.
SOUTH REGION B
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Officer Hernandez and Perez stopped a vessel with fishing equipment visible and five persons on board. They were in possession of eight undersized yellowtail snapper and one Nassau grouper. Two misdemeanor citations were issued for the violations.
Officer Jacobs was on foot patrol at Channel 5 Bridge in Islamorada. He saw a diver in the water wearing a small headlamp without a diver down flag. Upon conducting a resource inspection, the diver was found to be in possession of ten spiny lobster. Three of the lobster were found to be under the legal-size limit. The subject was charged accordingly.
FWC received a call from USGC station Islamorada reporting two divers illegally spearfishing around Channel 5 Bridge. Officer Jacobs assisted USGC with the boarding. Upon conducting a resource inspection, the two divers were found to be in possession of six spiny lobsters under the legal-size limit, one speared hogfish and one speared bluerunner. Both subjects were charged accordingly.
Officers Richards, Foell, Sutter, and Trueblood were on patrol aboard the Off-Shore Patrol Vessel Trident. The patrol team conducted enforcement efforts patrolling the shrimp sanctuary north of Key West. The officers conducted a boarding of a shrimp boat just north of the sanctuary. During that boarding the officers performed turtle exclusion device inspections. The inspections revealed 3 of the 4 devices did not meet the proper angle criteria and the bar spacing of one of the TEDs exceeded the maximum width. The captain and crew were instructed to fix the issues. A case package was prepared and turned over to the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement.
Officer Yaxley investigated a hit and run boating accident. The investigation included several witnesses, interviews and the review of video footage. A notice to appear citation was issued to the operator for leaving the scene of an accident and a citation for careless operation of a vessel.
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Officer Washington met with a group of high-school students from the Associated Marine Institute (amikids.org). He conducted a seminar to teach them about boating safety. He utilized NASBLA-approved boating safety education course curriculum as a guide to explain the lessons and importance of safe boating.
DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
Officers Richards, Sutter and Trueblood were on patrol aboard the Off-Shore Patrol Vessel Trident. The team was patrolling in conjunction with the United States Coast Guard, St. Petersburg, targeting stone crab trap boats in the Gulf of Mexico. The Trident crew stopped a stone crab vessel in federal waters southwest of Everglades City. During the stop the officers saw large quantities of live stone crab that were not properly covered and exposed to direct sunlight, multiple undersize stone crab claws and the vessel did not possess a valid saltwater products license. The officers addressed the violations with citations and had the stone crab crew return the live crab to the water unharmed.
MAJOR WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE
Officer Yurewitch responded to a call from a resident reporting an alligator appeared to be trapped in their front yard. The officer captured the 5-foot reptile and released it back to the wild, away from nearby houses.