On July 19, 2014, the Florida Fallen Peace Officer Bass Tournament was held at Lake Okeechobee Scott Driver Boat Ramp. On behalf of Crappy Jack's Bait & Tackle, we would like to thank Tin Fish Grill for their donation of $450.00 in gift certificates for the anglers in 1st thru 10th place and 1st and 2nd Big Fish.
In addition, thank you to the following businesses: Original Equipment, W&W Lumber, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreen's, Car Quest, St. Lucie Battery & Tire, Tire Kingdom, Tires Plus, Los Cocos, Advanced Auto, Brown Cow Sweetery, Sign Guy, Golden Corral, Pueblo Viejo, Dunkin Donuts, Publix, Parrott Island Grill and Geechee Mons.
Thank you to the Glades County Sheriff's Office for lending their grill and to the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office for cooking.
Lastly, thank you to all the anglers that participated and everyone that came out to support this event. All monies raised were donated to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund for Florida fallen officers and their families.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff Unit supports the Sheriff's Office in both operational and administrative functions. With the assistance of the Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff Unit, the Sheriff's Office is able to maximize the availability of our deputies to the community. The unit is comprised of non-paid volunteer citizens from Okeechobee County. Auxiliary Deputy Sheriffs have the unique opportunity to participate in the working relationship between local law enforcement and the community while assisting deputies with their routine duties and special events throughout Okeechobee County.
On July 17, 2014, three members of the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office Auxiliary Unit were promoted. Keith Pearce has been with the OCSO unit since 8/29/90, and was promoted to the rank of Captain.
Jason Egger has been with the OCSO unit since 6/11/07 and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.
Crispin Bottari has been with the OCSO unit since 6/11/07 and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
Sheriff Paul May said of the promotions, "We thank these gentlemen for the contributions to Okeechobee County and our department. They and the other auxiliary officers risk their lives for no pay, they do it just for the satisfaction of helping their community and their fellow officers. It don't get any better than that!"
Congratulations to all of you!
Marijuana Grow House Arrest
On July 17, 2014, Detective Scott Morgan arrested Jose Rodriguez, DOB: 8/1/62, for Cultivation of Marijuana, Trafficking in Marijuana, Theft of Electric-Grand Theft, Ownership of Property for the Purpose of Manufacturing a Controlled Substance and for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
On the above date members of the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office and Narcotics Task Force executed a search warrant at 22020 NW 264 Street. The search warrant was signed by the Honorable Judge Sweet on the same day. During the execution of the search warrant, Rodriguez was present at the residence.
The following items were located inside the residence: Thirteen (13) growing marijuana plants with active root systems that weighed approximately 38.10 pounds. The plants were approximately 4 feet tall. The approximate value of the marijuana is $114,000.00; large black plant buckets, timers, capacitors, breakers, AC chiller, 1000 watt bulbs with aluminum housing and ballasts. Two (2) Ziploc bags each containing approximately ½ ounce of marijuana; a calendar with a list of the chemicals needed to grow the marijuana plants. It also contained numbers that coincided with the marijuana grow and what stage the plants were in; a shoe box that contained well over $10,000.00 in U.S. currency; and a plastic bag that contained marijuana trimmings.
Rodriguez-Hernandez was transported to the Okeechobee County Jail. Bond is to be set at first appearance.
Sheriff Paul C. May said of the raid, "The Drug Task Force has been successful again. We will continue to rid our county of these growhouses. When you're in this type of business you never know when we will pay you a visit. But rest assured, we will."
As always, the nature of the probable cause to obtain the search warrant is privileged information and will not be released.
The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office, along with Okeechobee City Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License Checkpoint on Thursday, July 24, 2014. The checkpoint will be set up on Highway 441 South, Okeechobee, Florida.
DUI checkpoints are a proven enforcement tool effective in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol involved crashes. Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of (20) percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.
Deputies will be contacting drivers passing through the checkpoint and looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. Deputies will also check drivers for proper licensing and will strive to delay motorists only momentarily. Drivers caught driving impaired can expect jail, license suspension, and insurance increases, as well as fines, fees, DUI classes and other expenses that can exceed $10,000.
If you're going to drink...
Designate a driver
Call a cab
Call a friend or family member
DUI Takes Its Toll...
A decision by the Supreme Court requires Law Enforcement to publicize DUI checkpoints. While it is widely argued that DUI Roadblocks / Sobriety Checkpoints are violations of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution (being stopped without probable cause or a search warrant), they are in fact legal in the United States and specifically in Florida ((483 So.2d 433 (Fla. 1985). Because of this, Law enforcement agencies in the state of Florida established guidelines to notify the public that a sobriety checkpoint will be conducted in specific locations at certain times.
Their legality was established by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz (1990). While the Supreme Court acknowledged that DUI Roadblocks infringe on a constitutional right, Chief Justice Rehnquist argued that the state interest in reducing Driving Under the Influence outweighed the infringement, and that Sobriety Checkpoints were in fact effective and necessary. Upon notifying the public of a sobriety check point location and time, this helps to fulfill the obligation "of being stopped without probable cause or having a search warrant". This notification is usually completed by means of advertisement to a local newspaper, however can also be accomplished by means of a radio broadcast or internet social media correspondence such as Facebook.
Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office does not make the laws, we just enforce them
During the week of July 7, thru July 11, 2014, the Faith Academy Preschool hosted Community Helper Week.
Community Helpers visit the children and give tips about being safe, Smokey the Bear fire safety, nursing, dental and health.
Several members of the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office were helpers and spoke with the children to include Stranger Danger and Bicycle Safety. One of the cool things they were able to do was sit on Deputy Rogers' motorcycle. They were also able to meet Deputy K-9 Barco and learn what he does as a drug/apprehension canine.
Ms. Sylvia of Faith Academy stated, "The children at Faith Academy Preschool have enjoyed Community Helpers Week. They especially enjoyed a visit from the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office. The officers discussed the importance of safety in a vehicle and bicycle safety."
Undersheriff Noel Stephen stated, "I am proud that our officers take the time to share with others to look out for the wellbeing of our number one asset...our children. Thank you to Ms. Sylvia for requesting our presence to provide this service. If we can avoid just one of these children falling victim to one of these situations then it was well worth the time and effort."