Okeechobee County K9 Officers Retire
Two of Okeechobee's finest-- and furriest--have retired from the department. Of the six K9 Officers at the Sheriff's Office, two are leaving active duty. K9 Officer Rex and K9 Officer Ruby are now retired.
Officer Rex is retiring after more than 9 years with the department, after an extremely successful career with his handler, Detective Rick Voss. Rex has had a productive career in both drug and suspect apprehensions. Rex together with Detective Voss, made hundreds of narcotic arrests and have seized well over $10,000.00 in US currency. He also assisted in more than thirty criminal apprehensions which also included nine bites. Rex will join the Voss family as their pet upon his retirement.
Officer Ruby has worked with her handler, Cpl. Donald Ellis, for the past ten years and has had a productive career in assisting with numerous narcotic and criminal arrests related to narcotic finds.
Officer Ruby will spend her retirement as Cpl. Ellis' family pet.
The bond between a handler and K9 partner is inexplicable. While deputy partnerships are clearly important, that between a K9 and his officer take on a different dimension.
The Working Dog
My eyes are your eyes,
to watch and protect you and yours.
My ears are your ears,
to hear and detect evil minds in the dark.
My nose is your nose,
to scent the invader of your domain.
And so you may live,
my life is also yours.
Sheriff May said of the retirements, "We appreciate all that K9 Ruby and K9 Rex have done for the Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Okeechobee County. Together they have apprehended some really bad people and stopped a lot of dope from being sold on the streets, sometimes to our children. I thank Detective Rick Voss for K9 Rex and Cpl. Don Ellis for K9 Ruby. They will be almost impossible to replace. I wish them the very best in their retirement and hope that their retirement is a long one."
FUGITIVE IN CUSTODY IN POUGHKEEPSIE, NY
45-year old Conrad Anthony Thitchener AKA Michael Anthony wanted in connection with raping a woman on December 23, 2013, is now in custody in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Thitchener had been wanted for questioning in the case, but left Okeechobee County on January 2, 2014. Warrants for four counts of Sexual Battery, Kidnapping and Battery were issued for his arrest.
On May 13, 2014, Thitchener was taken into custody by the Poughkeepsie Police Department in conjunction with the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force. Circumstances surrounding his apprehension are unknown at this time.
Thitchener will be extradited to Okeechobee, Florida, at a later date to face these charges.
No further information to be released at this time.
Sheriff Paul May said of the arrest, "I am very happy that this man is in police custody and I appreciate the cooperation of the Poughkeepsie Police Department, the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force. I have confidence that our criminal justice system works and this man will be put away for a long, long time."
The Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office with the help of the Okeechobee County Fire Rescue, Okeechobee City Fire Department and the Community Health assessment team of the Florida Department of Health was able to bring an awesome event to the student body of the Okeechobee high School on Friday May 9th. The event began for the sophomores in the gym attending a presentation by Mrs. Renee Napier. Renee's daughter Meghan was killed by a drunk driver years ago and now Renee travels around encouraging youth not to drink and drive and the importance of making good decisions.
While that was happening there was a "Mock Crash" set up in the football field, for the juniors and seniors. The vehicles were provided by Action Auto salvage, the performers were provided by Mrs. Debbie Raulerson's drama classes, the helicopter was provided by aero med.
The scene was set that the crash occurred just as prom ended. The driver of vehicle #1 was drunk and caused the crash. There were 8 performers total. 1 was dead, 2 were critical, and the rest were walking wounded. D/S Dixon and D/S McKinley were the investigators.
We would like to thank Brian Sell with Florida Department of Health CHAT (Community Health Assessment Team) group and his assistant Linda Hazellief, Karl Holtkamp and all involved with Okeechobee County Fire Rescue and Okeechobee City Fire; and most importantly the staff at the High School.
Thank you Okeechobee for supporting the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office Fifth Annual Special Olympics fundraising events
With your help we were able to have very successful events. The community response was simply amazing and our profits exceeded expectations again. The t-shirts and hats that were sold are seen all over town and it brings a smile to my face thinking, there goes another one of our supporters. Those in attendance at the Tip-A-Cop at Golden Corral were taken care of by the Special Response Team (SRT) as their servers.
On Friday, May 2, we held our Torch Run, followed by our infamous BBQ rib dinners! What a huge success! This year was the biggest turn out for the run. We had over seventy runners that included members from Okeechobee Correctional Institution, Okeechobee City Police Department, Okeechobee County Fire Rescue, Okeechobee City Fire Department, FWC, Federal Probation, Seminole Police Department, Okeechobee High School Brahmans Football team, Okeechobee Sheriff's Office SRT Team and many other private individuals that joined our run.
The Sheriff's Office would like to recognize this year's premier sponsors, Golden Corral, Charlie, Deborah and Luis; Bruce, Big Lake Missions; Terry Burroughs, Chamber of Commerce; Maureen Burroughs, Main Street; OCSO, CJ's; JD Mixon, Kiwanis; Seacoast Bank, Attorney William Wallace, Publix, TD Bank, Sysco, Humana, Campbell Farms, Pritchard & Associates, Wayne Carr Trucking, VFW-Women's Chapter, Buckhead Ridge-Women of the Moose, Chapter 2036, Speckled Perch Steakhouse, WOKC, Okeechobee News, Balloon Man-Matthew Musgrave, Shirley Palmer, Sharon Cannon and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I apologize if I've left anyone out.
I would also like to acknowledge Commissioner Bryant Culpepper for his participation with Special Olympics and also for his support of Law Enforcement and our endeavors.
Thank you for your support!
Seven Okeechobee business employees were issued summons for selling alcohol to an underage person as part of an Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force sting operation.
Alcohol compliance checks were conducted at multiple establishments, where an underage person was sent into stores with instructions to attempt to purchase alcohol.
People who sold were issued summons to appear in court and citations were issued by the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office.
Businesses where alcohol was sold to an underage person were: BP Store, 8605 Hwy 441 SE; Marathon Gas Station, 5600 Hwy 70 East; Bill's Mini Mart 3007 Hwy 70 East; Circle K, 400 SR 98 North; Shell Station, 3609 Hwy 441 SE; Max Food Store, 3621 SE 34 Avenue; and Texaco Station, 4993 Hwy 441 South.
Other businesses that were in compliance included 15A Drive Thru, 441 SE; Town Star Posey's Corner, SR 70 East; Town Star, Hwy 710; Mosquito Creek Grocery, Hwy 70 East and Shady Rest Grocery.
Sheriff Paul May said of the operation, "We wanted to do this operation before the prom and school letting out for the summer, to see how easy it would be for underage persons to purchase alcoholic beverages. We visited 12 locations where alcoholic beverages are sold and 7 sold to an underage person. This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This time we issued criminal citations to appear in court to the clerk who sold to these minors, the next time they will be physically arrested and booked into the jail. We are listing the names of the stores who sold to minors and I think it is important to list the ones that did not. The ones who asked for ID's and refused the minors, from the whole community I say thank you, but to every place in Okeechobee County that sells alcoholic beverages we are going to do this again in the very near future. Please believe me, this is going to stop."