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Division of Law Enforcement
June 3 through June 9, 2016
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 Goodwin was patrolling the area of the Davis Beach Boat Ramp and observed a vessel approaching the boat ramp with several children riding on the bow with their legs hanging off into the water. Officer Goodwin made contact with the vessel operator when he pulled the vessel up to the shore. While talking with the operator, Officer Goodwin noticed the operator was slurring his speech and had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person. After field sobriety tasks were administered, the operator was arrested and taken to jail where he refused the breath alcohol test. The operator was charged with operating a vessel with normal faculties impaired, refusing to submit to breath test and careless operation of a vessel.
Officer Gore observed a fishing vessel returning to the Mexico Beach Boat Ramp. While conducting a resource inspection, he observed six gray triggerfish that appeared to be undersized. All of the fish measured under 14 inches. A citation was issued to the vessel captain for the violation.
Officer Bell received an anonymous complaint regarding a subject keeping a rattlesnake at home. Officer Bell and Captive Wildlife Investigator Louque made contact with the individual at his residence. The suspect was interviewed and confirmed he did possess an eastern diamondback rattlesnake. The suspect was also found to possess a pygmy rattlesnake without the proper venomous reptile permits. The suspect was issued citations and warnings for the violations and the snakes were seized.
Lieutenant Hollinhead observed a large amount of garbage discarded along the roadway while patrolling around the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Names and addresses were obtained from the debris which established suspects. Two subjects were questioned which revealed involvement by one of the subjects. The subject cleaned up the debris after being questioned and charges for littering over 15 pounds will be filed through the State Attorney’s Office.
Officer Corbin was on land patrol conducting state fisheries inspections at Liza Jackson Park. A concerned citizen spoke to Officer Corbin regarding a vessel that was pushed ashore at the park. Officer Corbin observed the vessel was in a derelict condition, initiated a derelict vessel (DV) investigation and located the owner who was responsible for leaving the DV in state waters. A recent storm pushed the DV closer to shore. Upon completing the investigation, Officer Corbin issued the owner a notice to appear citation.
The 61st Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirates Festival occurred on June 4 in Fort Walton Beach. Part of the event is waterborne and located in the shallow waters of the Santa Rosa Sound/Intracoastal Waterway. FWC officers from Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Monroe, Walton, and Washington counties participated, including FWC Aviation. Four FWC members on the BUI task force traveled from South B Region to assist local officers with BUI enforcement. Approximately 500 to 600 vessels were present during the event. An undetermined amount of people were present in boats and walking in the shallow water. The following are statistics from law enforcement and first responders: 261 vessel stops; 903 citizen contacts; 14 BUI arrests; 39 boating citations issued; 24 written warnings issued; 1 citation issued for providing alcoholic beverage to an underage person; 13 fight interventions, 16 medical responses with 3 other medical transports for intoxication and 27 public assist responses. No boating accidents occurred.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
Throughout the week, Officer Lewis made 14 arrests in Blackwater River State Forest for possession of not more than 20 grams of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and a felony warrant. Officer Lewis also issued various citations and warnings for forestry violations including operating vehicles off the established roads, possessing alcoholic beverages where prohibited, and possessing glass containers in or around waterways.
Officer Hutchinson assisted Lieutenant Berryman after a fleeing driver of a stolen vehicle attempted to elude capture by speeding on the interstate before fleeing on foot. He was spotted hiding in a nearby hotel and taken into custody. A search of the car revealed crack cocaine and various drug paraphernalia. The man stated that he swallowed a bag of heroin and was taken to a local hospital for medical attention. He spent the next several days talking to various officers that maintained a watch over him. He admitted to taking the vehicle from a friend to go and buy heroin. He stated that he was shooting up during the pursuit and admitted to being heavily intoxicated and under the influence of drugs. After being medically cleared, the man was transported to jail where he was booked for possession of cocaine, fleeing and eluding, and grand theft. Additional charges of DUI and reckless driving are pending.