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Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report
March 30, 2018 through April 5, 2018
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week;
however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
Patrol, Protect, Preserve
Officer Hayes located a baited area with cracked corn and bird seed. A few days later, the officer returned and saw an individual actively turkey hunting within 20 yards of the bait. The subject was charged with attempting to take turkey over bait.
Officer Baber located a baited area with cracked corn. A few days later, the officer returned and saw an individual actively turkey hunting within 10 yards of the bait. The subject was charged with attempting to take turkey over bait.
While working on the Pensacola Bay Bridge, Officer Cushing checked two subjects at the back of a pickup truck. The tailgate was covered with blood, guts, fish scales and a fillet knife was present. Both individuals had blood on their hands as well. One of the subjects stated that he had a small redfish. Officer Cushing located two fillets in a brown paper bag in the bed of the truck. A citation was issued for failure to land in whole condition.
Officer Richardson and Reserve Officer Martin were working an oyster detail in the Eastpoint area. They saw a vessel returning from harvesting oysters to the Eastpoint Boat Ramp. Officer Richardson stopped the vessel and determined that the oysters onboard were untagged. Officer Richardson cited the subject for untagged oysters. Both bags of oysters were seized and returned alive to the Apalachicola Bay.
Officer Lipford was on water patrol when he stopped a vessel to perform a resource inspection. The vessel had one occupant and was returning from Lake Wimico. After Officer Lipford greeted the subject and asked him if he caught any fish, the man stated that he caught some shellcracker. After a visual inspection of the vessel’s live well and cooler, Officer Lipford discovered the occupant had a few shellcracker, but also 20 black bass,15 over his legal daily bag limit of 5. The individual was issued a notice to appear for the violation.
Officer Yates completed an investigation stemming from information received from the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office in January. During a warrant arrest, the Sheriff’s Office saw a freshly killed doe deer at the address of the arrestee. Officer Yates documented the scene, recently completed an interview, and filed charges for possession of antlerless deer during closed season.
Officer Little located and checked an individual actively turkey hunting within 30 yards of cracked corn and millet seed. The subject was cited for attempting to take turkey over bait.
Officer Forehand located a blind with cracked corn spread within 20 yards of the concealed location. A few days later, Officer Forehand watched a subject approach and enter the blind. A brief time later, a gobbler and hen turkey came into the baited area. The subject shot both turkeys and was subsequently charged with taking turkey over bait and taking hen turkey during closed season.
Officer Pifer was called out to assist Eglin Range Patrol with a traffic stop they had conducted on a vehicle operating in the Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA) during prohibited hours. Eglin Range Patrol informed Officer Pifer that the occupants of the vehicle were in possession of drugs and firearms. A search of the vehicle revealed more than 20 grams of cannabis inside the vehicle in vacuum sealed packages, Alprazolam pills, two handguns (one of which was confirmed stolen out of Okaloosa County), ammunition, two scales, a vacuum sealer, numerous resealable bags and rubber bands. One individual was arrested for accessing the Eglin WMA during prohibited hours and for possession of a concealed firearm. The second individual was arrested for accessing the Eglin WMA during prohibited hours. During a search of the second individual, half of an Alprazolam pill and $1952 in cash was located. The second individual was additionally charged with possession of a controlled substance.
Officer Pifer was conducting fisheries inspections on the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier when he contacted an individual who was actively engaged in fishing. A resource inspection revealed a total of 67 Spanish mackerel, six of which were undersized. The individual was fishing alone and claimed some of the fish were given to him by other individuals. State law prohibits the possession of more than 15 Spanish mackerel while on a pier. The individual was cited for possessing over the bag limit and possession of undersized Spanish mackerel.
Officers Pifer and Corbin were on water patrol when they saw two individuals fishing from shore at a county park. The officers beached their vessel to conduct a resource inspection. The two individuals were unable to produce saltwater fishing licenses. When asked, one of the individuals stated there was a cooler in the bed of the truck with fish inside. An inspection of the cooler revealed three undersized mangrove snapper. Officer Pifer cited the individual in control of the truck for possession of undersize mangrove snapper. Both individuals were warned for no saltwater fishing license.
Officer Corbin was on land patrol and responded to a complaint of a vehicle stuck in a wet weather pond on Eglin Wildlife Management Area. The officer arrived and saw a Toyota truck stuck with its frame sitting in wet mud in a closed area. Officer Corbin determined the driver was recreating in a closed area and damaging lands. The driver was issued a notice to appear citation.
Officers Pifer and Corbin were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Destin area. The officers saw a pontoon with seven adults and four children on board. Two children were not wearing the correct size life jackets and one child was not wearing a life jacket at all. All three of the children were under six years of age and required to wear life jackets while the vessel is underway. The officers determined the pontoon was rented. Officer Corbin contacted and met with the owners/renters of the pontoon. The livery inspection resulted in notice to appear citations to the owner for renting a vessel without the required boating safety equipment, boating safety information not displayed at livery location and person providing pre-ride/rental instructions not taking an approved boating safety course.
Officer Nichols was on land patrol and responded to Henderson Beach State Park regarding an individual who was harassing females. The subject was following them into the restrooms and saying obscenities. An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy and Officer Nichols located the subject. During their communication, the subject had slurred speech and appeared very confused. The male subject stated he had consumed three bottles of cough medicine and requested medical attention. Officer Nichols contacted Emergency Medical Service personnel. The subject was issued a no trespass warning for Henderson Beach State Park and Rocky Bayou State Park.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
While on vessel patrol in Escambia Bay, Officer Ramos saw a vessel operating in a restricted military zone. After conducting a vessel stop, he found the vessel to be lacking required safety equipment. A resource inspection was conducted and Officer Ramos determined that the two occupants had been commercial fishing, but only one man had the required saltwater products license (SPL). While inspecting the cooler of fish, a commercial quantity of mullet was found, in addition to a concealed undersized black drum measuring 10-1/2 inches, under the required 14 to 24-inch slot limit. The captain of the vessel was issued warnings for operating in a restricted zone, missing safety equipment and not having his SPL license available for review. He was issued a citation for the undersized black drum. The second man was issued a citation for engaging in commercial fishing without a saltwater products license.
Officer Ramos was on vessel patrol in the Santa Rosa Sound and conducted a boating safety inspection on a personal watercraft (PWC). The PWC’s annual registration decal was unreadable and Officer Ramos determined that the registration had expired in June 2017. The operator of the PWC advised that he had rented the vessel from a nearby livery. Officer Ramos followed the operator to the livery and contacted management. The livery was issued the appropriate citation and took the vessel out of service pending compliance with state law.
Officer Gore was on patrol at Culpepper Landing on Holmes Creek when he was given information of a vessel being operated in a reckless manner. According to witnesses, the vessel came close to striking numerous kayakers and swimmers. A brief time later, a vessel matching the description was observed operating at a high rate of speed, weaving through and driving too close to swimmers and kayakers. The operator was cited for reckless operation of a vessel.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Gore and K-9 Kane attended a public speaking event at Mowat Middle School. Approximately 85 people were educated on FWC law enforcement and outdoor safety.
Officer Maltais provided presentation to 65 day camp attendees from local military bases. The students’ ages ranged from 8 to 13 years old. The camp was hosted by the 4-H Camp in Timpoochee with assistance from University of Florida-Institute of Agriculture and Services Extension staff from Escambia County. They discussed marine conservation, how local FWC officers patrol and how to report marine or animal issues.
Officers Greene and Yates attended a Hunter Safety Education Class in Bonifay and instructed the law portion of the class. There were approximately 25 people in attendance.