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Division of Law Enforcement
July 15 through July 21, 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
Officers Hellett and Alsobrooks responded to a complaint of an alligator that had been shot in the City of Parker. Arriving on scene, they contacted a Parker Police Officer and located a dead alligator tied up to a seawall behind a house. The subject who owned the house stated that he saw the alligator in the water behind his house and got his brother, who lives next door, to shoot the alligator. After the brother shot the alligator, they both tied it to the seawall. Both subjects gave written statements of the incident and the alligator was seized. Charges have been filed with the State Attorney’s Office.
FWC officers provided waterborne security during the annual Blue Angels Air Show on Pensacola Beach. During the three‑day event, a total of 60 FWC officers conducted 589 hours of law enforcement patrol in and around Pensacola Beach providing security to the estimated 750,000 people attending the show by both land and water. An estimated 20,000 people attended the show by way of water aboard approximately 3,000 vessels. FWC officers conducted more than 250 vessel stops, checked more than 1,000 users and issued several citations and warnings for boating safety violations. Additionally, four boaters were arrested for BUI, two for underage drinking and two for assault.
Lieutenant B. Allen and Officer Burkhead responded to a boating accident on Lake Seminole in which two vessels collided. Both vessels had one occupant/operator on board. The collision caused significant damage to both vessels and serious injuries to one of the operators. At the conclusion of the investigation, the vessel operator at fault was charged with violation of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Navigational Rule Number 8 (action to avoid collision).
Officer Pifer responded to a complaint of a vessel harvesting red snapper in state waters off the Gulf of Mexico during the closed season. The vessel name provided was one that Officer Pifer was familiar with as being a federally permitted charter vessel out of Destin Harbor. Officer Pifer launched his patrol vessel and located the suspect vessel with customers on board actively engaged in fishing in state waters. A saltwater fisheries and license inspection determined that the vessel had red snapper on board which were harvested from state waters. The vessel’s captain was issued a citation for the violation.
Officer Pifer was on land patrol conducting fisheries and license compliance when he observed a vehicle with an expired tag parked in the parking lot. A computer check of the tag and registered owner determined that the owner had an active warrant out of Santa Rosa County for failure to appear. As Officer Pifer was leaving the parking lot, he observed an individual matching the driver license photo of the wanted individual. When asked, the individual provided his name which was that of the wanted person. Officer Pifer notified FWC Dispatch who confirmed the warrant. The individual was arrested and transported to the Okaloosa County Jail where the intake process was completed.
Lieutenant Walsingham and Officers Yates and White responded to assist the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office with a search and rescue on Choctawhatchee River at the Highway 2 boat ramp. A swimmer had become distressed and disappeared under the water in the strong current. Through a collaborative effort with Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, Geneva County (Alabama) Sheriff’s Office, Alabama Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, and Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the missing subject’s body was located later that afternoon by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team, using side scan sonar.
Officer Kinney assisted the Washington County Sheriff’s Office with a search and rescue on Econfina Creek. Two adult females and a juvenile underestimated the arrival time at their destination and were stranded on the creek after dark. Officer Kinney responded and assisted the Sheriff’s Office. Due to the very low water levels and numerous trees blocking the creek, Officer Kinney was unable to navigate the area by boat. Shortly after daylight, the subjects were located by land. They were unharmed and transported to their vehicles.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Letcher participated in an outreach event at the Shepard’s Gate Church in Sunny Hills during their Vacation Bible School. He spoke with approximately 50 children about boating safety and conservation. He showed the children his patrol vessel, handed out whistles, and answered numerous questions.