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Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report
May 25, 2018 through May 31, 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
Officers T. Basford and N. Basford were patrolling in St. Andrews Bay and stopped a vessel to conduct a resource inspection. The operator showed signs of being impaired. After the officers completed the resource inspection, the operator was administered field sobriety tasks. The operator was taken into custody after completing the field sobriety tasks for suspicion of BUI. Breath alcohol samples were provided and returned .138 and .129. The operator was booked into the Bay County Jail for BUI.
Officers Clark and Long contacted a subject who had no life jacket in a kayak on the Intercoastal Waterway under the Theo Baars Bridge. Officer Clark instructed the kayaker to come ashore to speak with him on the proper safety equipment needed to safely operate on the waters of the state. The subject refused, turned and started to paddle away. Officer Clark entered the water and grabbed the kayak to prevent the subject from escaping. While addressing the violations, Officer Clark could smell a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. He also noticed his eyes were very bloodshot and glassy. He asked the operator if he had been drinking and he advised he had. He also stated that he was not intoxicated and that he had mostly smoked marijuana. Officer Clark conducted field sobriety tasks on the subject to determine if he was impaired. The subject was subsequently arrested for BUI and transported to the Escambia County Jail where he provided a breath sample of .079 and .084. Officer Long conducted an inventory on the kayak and discovered 6.6 grams of cannabis along with paraphernalia. A criminal background check conducted by FWC dispatch revealed the subject had at least four previous convictions for DUI of drugs or alcohol, making this BUI arrest a felony charge. The subject was also cited for possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, and interference with an FWC officer.
Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling the Escambia River when he saw a vessel returning to the dock with several people on onboard. While conducting a safety inspection, he saw indicators of impairment from the operator. Lieutenant Hahr conducted field sobriety tasks on the operator to determine if the operator was impaired. After completion of the field sobriety tasks, Lieutenant Hahr arrested the operator for BUI of drugs or alcohol. The operator refused to submit to a breath test and was booked into the Escambia County Jail.
While conducting saltwater fisheries inspections on the Pensacola Bay Bridge, Officer Pettey found a subject to be in possession of over the daily bag limit of mangrove snapper. The subject had nine mangrove snapper, four over his daily bag limit. Four of the nine mangrove snapper were under the legal-size limit of ten inches. The subject was issued a citation for over the bag limit and a written warning for undersized mangrove snapper.
Officer Allgood saw a subject driving a vehicle erratically on Interstate 10 in Pensacola. Officer Allgood activated his lights and siren and attempted to stop the vehicle. The subject initially did not stop and slowly exited the interstate. After about a mile, the subject eventually stopped at a residence that was not his. Officer Allgood had the subject exit his vehicle. He initially did not comply with the officer’s orders. Officer Allgood ordered the subject on the ground and he eventually complied. The subject was taking into custody and was cited for DUI of drugs or alcohol and felony fleeing and eluding.
Officers Travis and Kossey were working an oyster detail around the Cat Point Oyster Bar. They saw a vessel with one person onboard actively harvesting oysters. They pulled alongside the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. They retrieved a bag of oysters from the vessel and measured and counted each oyster. The oysters in the bag were 70% undersized. The subject was cited and 251 undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.
Officers Travis and Kossey were working an oyster detail in the Eastpoint Area. They saw a vessel with two people onboard returning from harvesting oysters and stopped the vessel for a resource inspection. They located two bags of untagged oysters onboard the vessel. Both subjects were cited and two bags of oysters were returned to the water alive.
Officer Pestka was working an oyster detail in the Eastpoint Area. She saw a vessel returning from harvesting and stopped it to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Pestka inspected a bag of oysters found onboard the vessel. After counting and measuring each oyster, she determined the bag contained 46% undersized oysters. She cited one subject and seized 260 undersized oysters. The undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.
Officer Peterson and Reserve Officer Martin were working an oyster detail in the Eastpoint Area. They saw a vessel returning from harvesting oysters and stopped it to conduct a resource inspection. Officers Peterson and Martin inspected a bag of oysters found onboard the vessel. After counting and measuring each oyster, they determined the bag contained 72% undersized oysters. Officer Peterson cited one subject and seized 306 undersized oysters. The undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.
Officers M. Webb, H. Webb and Gerber conducted a fisheries and boating safety inspection on a vessel returning from offshore fishing. The operator showed signs of being impaired and was administered field sobriety tasks. He was subsequently placed under arrest for suspicion of BUI. Breath alcohol samples were provided and returned .102 and .101. The operator was booked into Gulf County Jail for BUI.
Officers M. Webb, H. Webb and Gerber conducted a boating safety inspection while patrolling St. Joe Bay, near the tip of Cape San Blas. During the inspection, the operator displayed signs of being impaired. After completing the inspection, the operator was administered field sobriety tasks. The operator was placed under arrest for BUI and booked into the Gulf County Jail.
Officer Yates and Gore received information that an alligator was harvested, including details of the individual responsible. The ensuing investigation revealed the subject killed a 3-foot alligator. The appropriate charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office for the violation.
Officer Pifer, Officer Letcher and Lieutenant Clark were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area in Destin during the Memorial Day weekend. A 20-foot runabout vessel was stopped, and during the safety inspection, the officers saw several open containers of beer on the boat. The inspection revealed there were insufficient number of life jackets on the boat for all occupants. It was determined that all occupants were under the legal age of 21 to possess/consume alcohol. The boat operator was issued a notice to appear citation and a citation for insufficient number of life jackets.
Officer Corbin and Major Duval were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area in Destin during the Memorial Day weekend. The officers saw a paddleboat being operated by a female on the west side of Crab Island without a lifejacket or sound producing device onboard. Officer Corbin contacted the operator and determined the paddleboard was rented. The officers instructed the operator to return to the livery so she could be issued a life jacket and whistle. The officers followed the operator back to the location of the livery and spoke with the employee who rented the paddleboard. When asked, the employee stated that she had forgotten to issue the renter the required safety gear. The employee was issued a notice to appear citation.
Officer Corbin and Major Duval were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and resource inspections in the Destin Harbor during the Memorial Day Weekend. The officers saw a PWC displaying improper registration numbers. The PWC had a current Alabama registration decal with partial Florida registration numbers displayed on the starboard side and only letters displayed on the port side. The operator had owned the PWC for eight years. The safety inspection revealed that the fire extinguisher was not charged and there was no sound producing device. The PWC had a cooler and a rod and reel. The fisheries inspection revealed that the operator had harvested a red snapper. The season for red snapper is closed. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of red snapper during closed season. He was also issued a citation for improper display of vessel registration and warnings for the other safety violations.
Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area in Destin during the Memorial Day Weekend. The officers saw two jet skis being operated on the south side of Crab Island without registration numbers displayed. The officers stopped both jet skis and conducted a boating safety inspection. Both operators were following their father who was operating a runabout vessel just ahead of them. They explained that their father was the registered owner. While speaking with the father, it was determined he failed to title both jet skis in his name of purchase. It was determined the jet skis were purchased in September 2017. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation.
While patrolling during Subtropical Storm Alberto, Officer Corbin saw fresh tire tracks leading into the Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officer followed the tracks and saw where a vehicle had spun out and damaged management lands. Officer Corbin located the vehicle and saw two individuals in the truck. Neither individual possessed the required recreational user permits to access Eglin WMA. Throughout the officer’s investigation, the driver was very nervous. Officer Corbin could smell the distinct scent of burnt cannabis. The driver admitted that there was cannabis in the truck. The driver was issued a notice to appear citation.
Officer Wilkenson responded to a single vessel boating accident that occurred in the Destin Pass. The vessel involved was a PWC and the operator was transported with non-life-threatening injuries to a local hospital. An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s marine deputy at the hospital obtained the operator’s contact information and a written statement. The PWC involved was a livery jet ski. The operator of the jet ski was an employee of the livery. The investigation revealed the operator was jumping waves in the Destin Pass. The maneuver caused her jet ski to twist and land on its side. Upon impact with the water, she was ejected off the PWC. The operator struck her head on the ski and briefly lost consciousness. A fellow employee skiing with her was close enough to respond and pulled her to safety. The operator also had some water in her lungs. The operator was issued a citation for careless operation.
Officers Hughes and Korade were conducting vessel patrol near St. Marks during the Memorial Day weekend when they stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety and resource inspection. The two occupants of the vessel told the officers they had caught seven spotted sea trout. Measurements of the fish revealed that four of the trout were undersized. Citations were issued to both subjects and the four-undersized trout were seized.
Officers Hughes and Korade were on patrol conducting welfare checks before the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto when they noticed a vehicle stuck in a ditch on the side of the road and an individual trying to pull it out. They stopped to determine if he needed assistance. During the encounter, the subject displayed multiple signs of impairment. The subject stated that he had been consuming alcohol and was driving home when he swerved into the ditch to avoid an alligator. The subject refused to perform field sobriety tasks, but the officers determined that enough probable cause existed for arrest. The subject was transported to the Wakulla County Jail and cited for DUI, refusal to submit to breath test and driving with a suspended license.
Officers Letcher and Tison were checking subjects fishing along the shoreline of Choctawhatchee Bay and conducted a fisheries inspection which revealed one of the subjects had an undersized redfish in his bucket. The subject was cited for the violation.
Officers Brooks, Tison, and Bradshaw responded to a golf course in Freeport after learning three golfers were bitten by a fox. The officers located the fox and turned it over to the Walton County Health Department for rabies testing. All three individuals were treated at a local hospital and released.
Officers Cushing and Land were on a multi-day trip aboard the offshore patrol vessel NW FINCAT. They saw a state charter “six pack” vessel in state waters in the Gulf of Mexico with seven persons actively fishing. A state citation was issued for not having the proper charter license. The following day on the return trip, Officer Land boarded a fishing vessel that was currently under charter in federal waters. The vessel did not have a federal gulf reef fish permit. The appropriate actions were taken for the violation.
Officers Cushing and Land were on patrol aboard the offshore patrol vessel NW FINCAT. They approached a large privately-owned sport fishing vessel in federal waters. The officers saw fish being dumped overboard and recovered one cold red snapper. The captain admitted to having the fish in a bucket of ice. He stated that they intended on cooking and eating the fish. The appropriate action was taken for harvesting red snapper in closed season.
Officer Cushing and Land were on patrol aboard the offshore patrol vessel NW FINCAT. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection of a federally permitted charter vessel that was on a “fun trip” with family in federal waters. Officer Land discovered two undersized gray triggerfish. The appropriate actions were taken for the violation. Later that day, the officers saw persons onboard a recreational fishing vessel in Florida waters of the Gulf of Mexico actively fishing. Officer Cushing initiated a conversation with the operator. He admitted to having a red snapper onboard. Officer Land located and verified the snapper in a cooler. A state citation was issued to the operator for harvesting red snapper during closed season.
DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROL
Officers Sauls and Richardson targeted speeding violations in the bird nesting zone of St. George Island State Park. The officers issued five citations and 11 written warnings for subjects speeding through shorebird nesting zone.
A multi-agency targeted enforcement detail was conducted on Holmes Creek at Cypress Springs. The patrol efforts centered on public and boating safety due to the congested waterway and numerous complaints from the public. The officers arrested two individuals for BUI, two individuals under 21 years of age for possession of alcohol, issued eight infractions and 17 written warnings. Approximately 51 vessels were inspected and 70 users checked.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
Officer Basford and Reserve Officer Cooper responded to a medical call on Shell Island. An individual was walking a paddleboard through the rough surf when a wave caught the board, causing it to strike him in the head. The individual complained of head and neck pain. The officers transported EMS from the Panama City Marina to the island and the subject was placed on a backboard. He was then transported back to the city marina where EMS took him to Bay Medical Hospital.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Maltais presented a “Summer Safety Stand Down” presentation to the Navy/Marine Corps F-35 Fighter Squadron called “Grim Reapers.” The presentation centered on hurricane season, safe boating, distracted driving, and outdoor recreational activities to include state parks and beaches and the dangers of rip currents/warning flags. It was estimated that 240 military personnel attended.
Officers Greene and Yates participated in the Bethlehem High School End of School Year Block Party. The officers used marked patrol units along with a vessel as a static display. Other agencies and local partners participated in the event centered on a career day outreach event. There were approximately 150 educational contacts with students and many more in attendance.