The Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics team and the Key West Police Special Response Team recently gave a presentation at the Key West Mystery Writer’s Festival. They spoke about the role of SWAT and SRT teams in law enforcement and gave a presentation with some of the equipment they use on their operations. SWAT Leader Sgt. Joel Slough and SWAT member Sgt. David Smith participated in the presentation along with KWPD SRT Member Officer Michael Pettee. In the photos, left to right, Sgt.s Slough [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Special Investigations Unit cited four local bar employees for selling alcohol to minors during a two-day alcohol compliance check operation conducted this week. Notices to appear were issued to Keegan Hungerford at Don’s Place Liquor Store, Anthony Niles at Old Town Wine and Spirits (Bare Assets), Michelle Park at Conch Town Liquor, and Renae Francis at Shorty’s Market. Eleven other businesses were found to be in compliance. Detectives conduct these undercover checks periodically to ensure that purveyors of alcohol comply with [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee recently presented Lt. Alfredo Vazquez a plaque in recognition of his 25 years of service to the Key West Police Department. Lt. Vazquez oversees the Criminal Investigations Unit. During his 25 years of service, Lt Vazquez has served with professionalism dedication and commitment.
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee today presented Officer Robert “Bull” Bulnes a plaque in recognition of his 22 years of service to the Key West Police Department. Officer Bulnes is a patrol officer and has served as a school resource officer. Chief Lee thanked him for his dedication to the community.
The Sheriff’s Office began using body worn cameras on Monday. Most uniformed deputies will be required to wear the cameras as a routine part of their uniform. All members who will be using the cameras completed their training last week. The Sheriff’s policy requires they be worn by road patrol deputies and sergeants, school resource deputies, civil deputies, traffic deputies, airport deputies and sergeants and detectives when they are in uniform. Detectives may also wear them when in plain clothes.
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee and City Manager Jim Scholl today met with engineers from FDOT to discuss ongoing concerns regarding the pedestrian crosswalks on North Roosevelt Blvd. Since their installation, there has been a lot of community concern that the current configurations are dangerous. After four hours of discussion and visiting each of the crosswalks, the FDOT officials agreed to consider whether all of them are warranted. In addition, they will consider the installation of pedestrian activated control devices that will improve safety.
Chief Donie Lee today presented three Key West Police officers with the Lifesaving Award for saving the life of a drowning man. On April 21st Officers David Kouri, Michael Pettee and Billy Vazquez responded to a drowning call on North Roosevelt Blvd. Officer Kouri was first on the scene and saw the victim, a 58 year old man, unconscious and floating almost completely submerged in the water. Officer Kouri jumped off the sea wall and into the water and immediately repositioned the victim’s head, opened [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee and School Resource Officer Deglys Chavarria presented Key West High School teacher Monica Fletchall a check for $2500 for Operation Graduation yesterday. This outstanding program provides an all-night get together of fun. It keeps our grads safe and drug and alcohol free while they dance, eat, watch movies and win great prizes.
The City Commission last Tuesday night issued a grateful commendation to the professional men and women who responded to the recent shooting on Duval Street. Key West Police officers, detectives and dispatchers, the Key West Fire and Rescue, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy and a civilian on the street were all named for their roles in the quick response to the incident. On March 21, 2016, three innocent bystanders were shot and wounded in the early morning hours on lower Duval Street, an event which [continue reading…]
New charges have been filed in the Duval Street shooting case and prosecutors want to put him back behind bars now — this time without bail. Derek Michael David, 34, was released on bail following a March 21st shooting that wounded three people. The shooting happened at about 1:25 a.m. in the area of Rick’s Bar. Surveillance video from the bar reportedly shows David at one point dragging a woman [his wife] down Charles Street and knocking her to the ground. Two men are seen running over [continue reading…]
by Martha K. Huggins, Ph.D……… Living and conducting research in Brazil over a number of years during its 21-year military dictatorship taught me the importance of police accountability. Sometimes when police showed up at a residence they were following government orders; sometimes they were acting alone. In either case their objective was to scare people into submission, by merely paying an unannounced visit, or by trashing a family’s possessions, or through violence against them. The victims of such police over-reach had absolutely no recourse: very [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee last weekend met with Congressman Carlos Curbelo and Kara Kempski, whose organization – Fight Crime: Invest in Kids – is working hard to get the Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act reauthorized. This law expired in 2007, languishing since then in the Senate with no companion House bill. Kempski and Chief Lee urged Congressman Curbelo, as a member of the House Education and Workforce committee, to craft the companion bill and push for the reauthorization of the law. [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee this week presented a check for $4,000 to Keys to Be the Change so that 15 students could attend the PeaceJam Leadership Conference in Tallahassee. The Key West Police Department partners with the program, mentoring at-risk students at Key West High School to promote positive behaviors, resistance to drug abuse and crime, and to develop lasting positive relationships. Keys to Be the Change’s mission is to provide programs, education, awareness and opportunities that empower young people and better their [continue reading…]
Chief Donie Lee honored Dispatcher Keith Kline with a Chief’s Commendation during an awards ceremony at the Grand Key Double Tree last week. On November 5th, Telecommunicator II Keith Kline received a 911 call regarding a bomb threat at the Publix shopping center. He diligently obtained information and communicated with the suspect. Not only did he address the immediate safety concerns for the community, but he established a rapport with the suspect. That rapport provided the opportunity for the Department’s hostage negotiator to resolve the [continue reading…]
by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Two years ago when we asked where Matthew Shaun Murphy was we were given records showing that Murphy was a criminal at large; his name on the FDLE “Wanted” list. When we asked to see FDLE’s investigative report we were told there wasn’t one. But after spending a month verifying rumors of Murphy’s death at the hands of a KWPD officer, we found him… in Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. He had been there for over 3 years, left in a [continue reading…]
Key West Police Detectives last night arrest one suspect for the home invasion robbery that occurred early Wednesday morning. Alijah Aliiku Helmar, 16, was charged with three felony counts for robbery and home invasion with a firearm, battery and grand theft. A second suspect is still at large. The incident occurred about 3:20 Wednesday morning at 1101 Petronia St. One of the victims says he was awakened in his bed by a man choking him. He was able to call out to his roommate. During [continue reading…]
by Dennis Reeves Cooper……. If suddenly, you found yourself in charge of running the City of Key West, you would learn very quickly that a significant cost of doing business is dealing with lawsuits against the City– and, of course, the cost of staffing a Legal Department. Over the years, we here at The Blue Paper have periodically published stories about lawsuits against the City and, subsequently, the payouts to the plaintiffs in these cases. Of course, the most interesting cases are those in which [continue reading…]
A Key West man faces numerous charges on numerous separate cases including operating a chop shop, burglary, grand theft, fleeing and eluding police and assaulting law enforcement officers. The cases began to mount against 18 year old Adrian Diaz on February 8th, when a Key West Police detective asked the Sheriff’s Office to help transport Diaz to jail. He was being arrested by that agency at his residence on Verde Drive, Big Coppitt Key, on charges of burglary, criminal mischief and possession of burglary tools. [continue reading…]
A man fled on foot from deputies, abandoning a small child in his car Wednesday night. Key West Police got a call around 10 p.m. from a woman asking them to check on her husband and small child. She said her husband picked up their one year old son from the Lighthouse Academy that afternoon. She said she hadn’t heard from him since between 5 and 5:30 p.m. She said he’d never done that before and she was worried. Deputy David Lariz met with Key [continue reading…]
by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. The image of the gray PT Cruiser parked sideways on South Beach with the huddle of Key West police officers who’d just realized the man they’d piled on top of had stopped breathing is probably going to remain in the memories of Key Westers for a long time. What went wrong on that Thanksgiving morning in 2013 has been the center of considerable controversy. “My dad always had this dream of spending a winter in Key West,” Treavor Eimers, Charles [continue reading…]
by Sloan Bashinsky……. During this past Tuesday night’s city commission meeting, City Attorney Shawn Smith advised the mayor and city commissioners that the U.S. Department of Justice had determined there was no prosecutable offense in the Charles Eimers death in police custody case, which the blue paper broke and continued vigorously investigating and reporting through and past the city settling, on advice of defense counsel, with Eimer’s estate for $900,000, which was $100,000 under the city’s insurance policy limits. Arnaud Girard’s first of many “cartoons” [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Department is once again joining a statewide effort to educate motorists about the importance of using seat belts. The Click It or Ticket campaign is a two-week long program aimed at reminding drivers that seatbelts save lives. Between March 1st and March 14th, law enforcement officers throughout the state will be conducting round-the-clock sweeps for motorists who fail to fasten the safety belts. During this campaign, it’s also a good time to remind parents that child restraints are vital, and they [continue reading…]
In an event to raise money for Relay for Life, the Sheriff’s Office and the Key West Police will face off on the basketball court March 12th. The Sheriff’s “Stars” will play the KWPD “Finest” in the fourth annual “Let’s Dunk on Cancer” game at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 12th at the Key West High School gymnasium. The event is open to the public. A $5 donation would be appreciated at the door and there will be food, drinks and raffle tickets on sale. All [continue reading…]
ACCREDITATION TEAM INVITES PUBLIC COMMENTS ABOUT THE KEY WEST POLICE DEPARTMENT A team of assessors from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) will arrive on April 5, 2016 to examine all aspects of the Key West Police Department’s policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services, Police Chief Donie Lee announced today. The Key West Police Department has to comply with approximately 260 standards in order to receive accredited status. Many of the standards are critical to life, health and safety issues. As [continue reading…]
City Manager Jim Scholl and Key West Police Chief Donie Lee this week honored Officer Robert Currul for his 20 years of service to the City, presenting him with a gold watch. Officer Currul came to the Department in February of 1996. The son of a Florida law enforcement officer, Currul attended Florida State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree. Upon graduation, he came to Key West began his career with the police department. During his tenure, Officer Currul has served as [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee today commended three of the Department’s dispatchers for successfully defusing a dangerous situation. Responding to a 911 call of a bomb threat, Telecommunicator Keith Kline was able to build a rapport with the suspect, keeping him on the line until officers on scene could defuse the situation. Kline’s work with the caller allowed the Department’s hostage negotiator to resolve the situation without the need of extreme force. While Kline kept the suspect on the line, telecommunicators John Dancho and [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Department’s end of year report to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows overall crime dropped by almost 11 percent in 2015. The most dramatic drop was a reduction in robberies, which dropped by 50 percent over 2014. In 2015 there were 20 robberies, compared to the 40 reported in 2014. Violent crime dropped by over 20 percent in 2015. Burglaries dropped by nearly 17 percent. Each year the Key West Police Department reports its crime statistics to the Florida Department [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee last night swore in Officer Matt Haley, promoting him to sergeant. Sgt. Haley came to the Key West Police Department in 2004 after working as an investigator for the Florida Department of Children and Families. Prior to that, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard. Over the past decade, he has worked as an officer and, like his father who is retired from FDLE, as a detective. He has received numerous letters of commendation and thanks from the community [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee presented Officer Gus Medina the department’s Lifesaving Award. In October, Officer Medina responded to a possible drowning call. The caller was in the pool with her unconscious father, holding his head up, but unable to lift him from the water. Upon arrival Officer Medina proceeded through the open doors to the pool, leaped into the water and immediately began lifesaving techniques on the elderly man. While Officer Medina administered CPR, rescue arrived and helped pull the victim from the [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee today presented Officers Curtiss Richardson and Alex Rodriguez with the department’s Lifesaving Award. On September 10th, Officer Richardson responded to a call to find an unconscious woman who was not breathing and had no pulse. Officer Richardson immediately began CPR. Officer Rodriguez arrived on the scene just seconds later and assisted in the live saving measures until rescue arrived and transported the woman to the hospital, where she was stabilized and is recovering. “The quick response of these officers [continue reading…]
Dec 4, 2015 3:12 pm: **UPDATE** Key West Police Detectives have arrested the second suspect — John Paul Walker, Jr. — in this case. Both suspects are charged with robbery, kidnapping, felony battery, home invasion robbery and grand theft. Dec 4, 2015 11:53 pm: Key West Police Detectives on Thursday arrested one man and are seeking another for the robbing and beating a 63-year old Key West man in his home. Alfred Leroy Rahming, 24, was arrested and charged for a felony home invasion [continue reading…]
Commentary by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. Two years ago, on Thanksgiving morning, paramedics were called to assist an old man on South Beach. KWPD officers on scene told them that the man had been running away from police on the beach and had suddenly collapsed in the sand and when they got to him he had no pulse and they began CPR. An investigation by The Blue Paper was going to bring to light a very different story, including two bystander videos showing the suspect, [continue reading…]
by Naja and Arnaud Girard……. [Note: This article was written and published prior to the Sheriff’s release of the dashcam video. You will find an update at the end of the article including both Deputy Gordon and Deputy Lariz’ dashcam video excerpts as posted by the MCSO on youtube this morning.] It was about 9:45 pm on Stock Island. Tony Alfonso’s kids were playing in the front yard. “We were having a sweet sixteen party for my daughter,” says Tony. In a few minutes their home [continue reading…]
Twenty seven local drug dealers have been arrested over the past few weeks as part of a months-long effort by the Key West Police Department. With the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Customs and Border Protection, the KWPD Special Investigations Unit conducted numerous undercover operations that resulted in 41 people facing various narcotics charges. They include the sale of powder cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone, spice and even heroin. Those arrested so far are: Anthony Tamburello, 40 Hector Moreira, [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee on Thursday presented Officer Curtis Richardson with a Chief’s Commendation in recognition of his continuing dedication and professionalism. In the predawn hours of July 22, Officer Richardson was on routine patrol in the 200 block of Truman Avenue when they saw heavy smoke billowing from the rear of a building. He quickly woke the residents and discovered that a pile of rags soaked in highly combustible deck stain was smoldering at the rear of the house and beginning to burn [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee Thursday presented Officer David Kouri with a Chief’s Commendation in recognition of his role in the arrest of a dangerous suspect. On Oct 25, local law enforcement located and converged upon a house in Key West where Timothy Thomas, an armed and dangerous suspect, was hiding. He was wanted for a violent home invasion robbery and for shooting a Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy. The suspect was armed and had been shot the night before when he exchanged gunfire with MCSO [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee today swore in Officer Antonio Ane. Officer Ane worked for the KWPD from May of 2011 until last December when he left for a brief stint on the mainland. Officer Ane is a native Floridian who grew up in South Dade County. He is a graduate of the Miami Dade School of Justice.
An argument between two long-time friends ended early this morning in a shooting that sent one man to the hospital where he remains in critical condition. Ray Alvarez, Jr., 28, was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center after being shot with a handgun in the back and in the leg. Key West Police responded to a report of shots being fired just after midnight at 3518 Duck Avenue. At the scene, Anthony Valdes, 40, said Alvarez and he were arguing in Valdes’s front yard. According to [continue reading…]