The Veterans of Veterans of Foreign Wars yesterday bestowed a certificate of appreciation on Officer Tom Clark in grateful recognition of his maintaining the highest standards of law enforcement to protect and maintain the lawful rights of all citizens. Officer Clark started with the Key West Police Department in April of 2012. He serves as one of four quality of life officers, addressing vagrancy in the city. He was named Officer of the Year of 2015 and received the Gallantry Award for the bravely he [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee today presented Megan Wilcox with a Chief’s Commendation. “You went above and beyond the line of duty,” he said, “by going the extra mile to secure ammunition for training.” Wilcox, who runs the Department’s property and evidence unit, recently contacted the owner of eleven cases of 12-gauge ammunition that was collected as a found property in a local hotel. The out-of-town owner of the ammunition sought alternatives for retrieving her property. However, Wilcox recognized that the Department could use [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Department, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, will be conducting a DUI check point on Saturday, September 3rd from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The checkpoint will occur at Garrison Bight Marina, 1801 North Roosevelt Boulevard, in the city of Key West. During the checkpoint, law enforcement officers from several agencies will be checking for impaired drivers, equipment violations and other infractions. Officers will also check to be sure that drivers have a current driver’s license, registration and proof of [continue reading…]
On his last full day with the Key West Police Department, Chief Donie Lee named Officer Gary Celcer the Officer of the First Half for 2016. Officer Celcer started with the Key West Police Department in July of 2003. During his 13 years with the Department he has received several commendations, including the Lifesaving Award, as well as praise from the community. He has served as a member of the K9 Unit with the Department’s only bomb sniffing dog. He has served with patrol and [continue reading…]
Key West Police Chief Donie Lee presented the Dive Team with a Unit Award for their quick actions that saved a man’s life earlier this month. Sgts. Jeff Williamson and Randy Smith, Officers Michael Malgrat, Jesse Young, Michael Chaustit and Detective Stephen Mitchell, and Officers Jesse Young and Michael Chaustit and Detective Stephen Mitchell were recognized for their response to boaters in distress. The team was out training on August 17th, when they heard a distress call for a medical emergency. The U.S. Coast Guard [continue reading…]
On March 21st a call came in that three people had been shot on lower Duval Street. All officers in the vicinity — including Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy David Lariz – responded immediately. Within minutes, officers surrounded the armed suspect and placed him into custody. In the meantime, other officers were treating the wounded victims, preserving multiple crime scenes and providing crowd control. The Chief’s Commendation Award was presented last week during an awards ceremony at the Grand Key Resort.
Chief Donie Lee last night presented six law enforcement officers with the highest honor bestowed by the Key West Police Department: the Valor Award. Key West Police Officers Alex Gaufillet, Frank Betz, Brian Leahy, Curtiss Richardson and Jessie Hammers and Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy David Lariz all put their lives at risk in order to protect the community during a shooting on Duval Street. A call came in on March 21st that an armed suspect had shot three people on the street. Within minutes, officers [continue reading…]
This week Key West Police Chief Donie Lee presented Sgt. Jeff Williamson, Detective Stephen Mitchell, and Officers Jesse Young and Michael Chaustit the Lifesaving Award for reviving a man overcome with fumes aboard a stranded boat last week. While conducting training on August 17th, the Key West Police Underwater Search and Recovery Team (USRT) heard a call come over VHF channel 16 advising there was a vessel with a male having a medical emergency. The U.S. Coast Guard was receiving limited information, but the USRT [continue reading…]
While conducting training yesterday, the Key West Police Underwater Search and Recovery Team (USRT) heard a call come over VHF channel 16 advising there was a vessel near Fort Zachary Taylor with a male having a medical emergency. The emergency was described as either a heart attack or seizure. The Coast Guard was receiving limited information as the woman on board did not know how to use a VHF and her cellphone had sporadic service. They were able to ascertain she was somewhere off the [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Department’s Bicycle Unit has updated its fleet, thanks to a federal grant. The six new iForce bicycles are specifically designed for law enforcement, and are outfitted with lights and sirens. The bikes were paid for entirely with federal grant funding. The Key West Police Department’s Bicycle Unit is an essential part of the Department’s commitment to its community policing initiative. When you see our bike officers patrolling the streets, make sure to say hello and check out their new rides.
More than 3,000 students returned to schools in the Key West area last Wednesday. Amid the commotion of the season, it is important to always remember our number one back-to-school priority: keeping kids safe. As we start a new school year, patience is the most important thing that every motorist can bring to the table. It’s worth allowing a little more time to get around to be sure that all Key West kids are safe on their way to and from school. Here are some child [continue reading…]
Miami – The FBI and Key West Police Department have been hosting a series of conferences this week of August 8th to address responses to active shooter scenarios. The conferences discuss best practices and lessons learned from various active shooter incident responses. Monday’s class was entitled Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events or CRASE. The course is designed to reinforce the Avoid, Deny and Defend strategy and provides information about surviving an active shooter event. The four hour course is attended by Monroe County School District officials, hospital [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Athletic League and the Key West Police Department are hosting a Back to School Summer Jammy Jam from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 13th at Nelson English Park. This free family event is a chance for kids to enjoy hot dogs and burgers, sno-cones and bounce houses. There will be free back-to-school supplies bike helmets and lights There will even be a bike raffle. And parents will appreciate the free haircuts! Come end your kids’ summer with a [continue reading…]
The Key West Police Special Investigations Unit, following up on several citations for selling alcohol to minors, found most of the bars in compliance last week. In June four local bar employees received notices to appear for selling alcohol to minors during a two-day alcohol compliance check operation. Don’s Place Liquor Store, Old Town Wine and Spirits (Bare Assets), and Conch Town Liquor were all found to be in compliance with the law. However, Samantha Romeo, an employee at Shorty’s Market was cited for selling [continue reading…]
Lieutenants Areaka Jewell and Joe Tripp completed the Southern Police Institute’s Command Officer Development course in Ft. Lauderdale. This challenging ten week course better prepares upper level managers for practical law enforcement management. The Key West Police Department is continuously improving through training and seeking improved ways to protect and serve. This course provides improved skills for enhanced communication within the Department. It hones the officers’ skills for better management practices, enabling them to make the Department more efficient and effective. Capt. Sean Brandenburg and [continue reading…]
by Arnaud and Naja Girard……. This week The Blue Paper received a copy of the FBI’s investigative report on the in-custody-death of Charles Eimers. About a year and a half ago Key West’s Citizen Review Board (CRB) wrote to the Department of Justice asking for an independent review of a drama that shook the town. On the morning of his first day on our island paradise, 61-year-old tourist/homeless person, Charles Eimers, died in police custody. Initially it was reported by KWPD that on Thanksgiving morning an [continue reading…]
A four-vehicle crash Tuesday night on North Roosevelt Blvd. injured three people, one critically. At a little after 9 p.m. a vehicle with three occupants was waiting to make a left turn into McDonald’s. The car was struck from the rear and pushed into the oncoming traffic. Two other vehicles, headed outbound, crashed into the melee. The victims of the rear-ended vehicle – two females and one male – are visiting from Virginia. All three were transported to Lower Keys Medical Center. One woman was [continue reading…]
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…]