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Jan - Mar


									                Lee County Sheriff's Office
Quarterly Newsletter

    Volume 5, Issue 1,
     January—March , 2011                      Proud To Serve
                                    2011 Busy but Promising
                                                      By Sheriff Mike Scott

2011 is off to a busy but promising start. The first quarter of the year brought a wide va-
riety of special, annual events that required a great deal of resources from our
agency. Two (2) large parades associated with Thomas Edison along with the Shrimp                     Echo Districts
Festival Parade, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and Lehigh Spring Festival Parade are but a
few quick examples. The Southwest Florida Fair was in town for two (2) weeks and then                Jan—March 2011
there is this thing they call “Spring Break.” These and more are wonderful, community                     Stats
traditions; however, they all require a significant effort on our part to ensure safety and
success. All the while our standard calls for service like alarms, traffic incidents, and the      Calls for Service          11490
regrettable instances of crime that occur in every community require our attention and             Traffic Stops Conducted 5644
follow up.
                                                                                                   Traffic Citations Issued   2754
In the face of financial constraints associated with the economic downturn, we offered
our members a voluntary separation incentive and the deadline for them to make their               Warnings Issued            1160
decision is April 29 with their latest separation date being June 30. This package is struc-
                                                                                                   Crash Reports Written       237
tured to eliminate the higher salaries and then do without them or replace them with a
much lower, entry level salary. So far more than thirty (30) members will retire and the           Business Burglaries          14
conservative estimate is nearly 2 million dollars in savings. Our budget proposal is due at
the Board of County Commissioners on June 1st, and we are committed to another year                Residential Burglaries       99
with a reduced budget.                                                                             Thefts from Vehicles        47
The budget is not the only number dropping…our countywide crime statistics are also                Thefts of Vehicle Parts     16
lower and are cause for optimism. While even one (1) crime is too many, we recognize
that a community as large as Lee County does have a proportionate number of citizens               Robberies                   14
that are either unable or unwilling to abide by the law. We will continue a consistent, no
                                                                                                   Arrests                    884
nonsense interdiction of drugs, sex offenders, scammers, burglars and thieves.
                                                                                                   New Cases Assigned         292
My Staff and I remain proud to serve and focused on the mission…thank you for your
support and confidence!

                                                 Suicide Warning Signs
    Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about want-            Feeling trapped, like there’s no way out.
    ing to hurt or kill oneself.
                                                                          Increasing alcohol or drug use.
    Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to
                                                                          Withdrawing from friends, family and society.
    firearms, pills or other means.
                                                                          Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping
    Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when
                                                                          all the time.
    these actions are out of the ordinary for the person.
                                                                          Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
    Feeling hopeless.
                                                                          Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose
    Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.
                                                                          in life.
    Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities seemingly
                                                                              *Source: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    without thinking.
                                                                                        1-800-273-TALK (8255)
                   Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                          Major Bob Johnson
                   In April 1983 at 20 years old, Bob           year before being promoted to Captain where he returned
                   Johnson made a decision that would           to the Corrections Bureau to serve as the Commander of
                   eventually have people calling him Ma-       the Correction Bureau’s Investigations Unit. He spent
                   jor Johnson. He felt an urge to help         three years in this position before assuming command of a
                   people which led him to join the Lee         newly formed Property Investigations Division. This divi-
                   County Sheriff’s Office as a Correc-         sion consisted of the District Detectives units, the Eco-
                   tions Deputy where he learned the            nomic Crimes Unit and the Auto Theft Unit. He then
                   ropes of law enforcement and eventu-         moved to the Special Investigations Division where he
                   ally transferred to the road in 1990.        spent a little more than a year before being promoted to
                                                                Major and assuming Command of the Patrol Bureau.
He worked on the road patrolling the streets in North Dis-
trict for five years before taking the CID (detective) test     Though it has been 16 years since he wore a uniform full
and transferring to the investigative side of the North Dis-    time Major Johnson has been heard saying, “It is great to
trict. After one year he knew this was his calling and          be back in uniform working with the great members of the
transferred to Major Crimes where he worked another two         Patrol Bureau!”
years as a detective investigating mainly violent crimes
and homicides.                                                  In addition to spending over 20 years in law enforcement
                                                                he has spent the last 29 years married to his lovely wife
While working in Major Crimes he was promoted to Ser-           Ann who he has raised two wonderful children with; Beth
geant then six months later he was transferred to Internal      who is now 20 and Chris 18. Johnson was born in Rose-
Affairs where his experience in Corrections was used to         land, New Jersey, but moved to Florida at the tender age
investigate complaints emanating from the Corrections           of 6 then moved to Lee County at 16 where he went to
Bureau. It was while serving in the Internal Affairs Divi-      Cape Coral High School. The sunny weather plays a big
sion that he was promoted to Lieutenant. He served in           part in his outside life where he enjoys golfing, boating
Internal Affairs for a total of four years and then was         and kayaking.
transferred to the Combined Law Enforcement Against
Narcotics (CLEAN) Task Force where he served as Com-
mander. He spent two years as the Commander of
CLEAN and then moved to the Training Division for one

                                                  Trisha Bissler
                   Trisha Bissler is the Crime Prevention       Trisha is originally from Northern Minnesota and gradu-
                   Specialist assigned to the Alpha district    ated from Augsburg College with a degree in Communi-
                   for Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Her         cations and Political Science before moving to Florida and
                   responsibilities include: starting and       being employed with the Sheriff’s Office.
                   maintaining neighborhood watch
                   groups, educating the public on identity     Trisha has been married for 5 years and they have cur-
                   theft, scams, personal safety, residential   rently have two great kids. Their idea of a perfect week-
security and more topics, and doing both residential and        end is spending time making memories with their children
business security surveys.                                      knowing that every moment they have with them is pre-
                                                                cious and will not come along again.
She began her career with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office
in 2004 in Communications as a 9-1-1 Call-Taker and             Anyone living in the alpha district communities that is
Dispatcher before moving into the Crime Prevention Unit         interested in a speaking engagement can contact Trisha at
in 2006. After joining the Crime Prevention Unit she ob-        477-1801 or by email
tained her State certification in the areas of Crime Preven-
tion and Crime Prevention Through Environmental De-

  Questions or comments? E-mail us at: or call 239-477-1447
                  Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                             Looking for an Angel
We receive numerous calls from all over the county from       different and consists of quality fresh and frozen items
people of all age groups and socio-economic groups ask-       with an average retail value of $60. Generally, one box
ing where they can turn for some assistance during these      will help feed a family of 4 for about one week or a single
tough economic times. Some of our callers still have jobs,    senior for almost a month. The food is the same high qual-
but are finding that their pay checks are not stretching as   ity available at a grocery store or restaurant, there is no
far as they once did, some are out of work, some are sup-     second-hand, damaged, or out-dated goods, no cans with-
porting their parents, grandparents,                                                out labels, no day-old breads and no
their grown children and their grand-                                               produce that is almost too ripe.
children; the one common denomina-
tor is they just don’t know where to                                              They also offer specialty boxes such
turn. We have referred many people                                                as steaks, chicken, and pork for an
to the Angel Food Ministries and in                                               additional charge. There’s no limit to
an effort to reach even more people                                               the number of regular or specialty
with this great resource I thought                                                boxes that can be ordered and there is
we’d share what we’ve learned with                                                no application fee or qualifications.
our readers.                                                                      All they must do is go online, place
                                                                                  and pay for their order. Once the or-
The Angel Food Ministries is a non-                                               ders come in they must make arrange-
profit, non-denominational organiza-                                              ments to pick up their food as there is
tion dedicated to food relief and financial support to com-   no home delivery. If their food is not picked up within the
munities throughout the United States and ahs been in         designated time the food is donated to a local food bank.
existence since 1994. This program is not just for those      Angel Food Ministries participates in the Food Stamp pro-
with low income, there is no income qualifications, any-      gram.
one and everyone is welcome to participate all they have
to do is pre-order/pre-pay for their order.                   Orders are distributed via local church sites of which there
                                                              are many throughout Lee County. To learn more about
Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a     this program, make referrals, or place an order visit their
medium-sized box at $30 per box. Each month’s menu is         website at

                                          Beer Can Leads to Arrest
                The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is            beer can to the lab at the Florida Department of Law En-
                proud to recognize Detective Daniel           forcement for DNA analysis and continued with his inves-
                Bray as the Deputy of the First Quarter       tigation into the dismantled air conditioning unit.
                for 2011. His perseverance and keen
                investigative skills resulted in                           Eventually, Bray established enough prob-
                the closure of an unsolved                                 able cause to arrest 28 year old John Shackle-
                sexual battery case that oc-                               ford in that case, which he later pled guilty to
                curred in 2006 at Veterans                                 charges of Criminal Mischief and Grand
Park in Lehigh Acres.                                                      Theft. In January of 2011, the DNA results
                                                                           taken from the beer can left at the scene by
In June of 2010, the Sheriff’s Office received a                           the suspect, revealed that Shackleford’s DNA
call regarding a stolen vehicle taken from a                               matched the person responsible for the sexual
shopping plaza in Lehigh. Several hours later a                            battery that had occurred nearly five years
car matching the description of the stolen vehicle was lo-    earlier. Shackelford remains in custody awaiting trial.
cated stuck in a ditch in front of a residence. When Bray
arrived on scene, he noticed the air conditioner at the       A big salute to Detective Daniel Bray for his commitment
home had been dismantled. After searching the area, he        to excellence and his passionate service to the citizens of
found pieces of the a/c unit hidden behind the home and a     Lee County.
beer can, which he took into evidence. Bray submitted the

  Questions or comments? E-mail us at: or call 239-477-1447
                                      Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                     Operation Medicine Cabinet
                    Did you know that in Florida 7 per-        The American Red Cross.
                    sons die every day because of a lethal
                    overdose from illegal, non-medical         We’re not done; Florida leads the nation in sale of oxy-
                    misuse of one or more prescription         codone with over 400,000,000 pills sold annually. Our hos-
                    drugs and that an additional 7 persons     pital emergency rooms seen increases in non-medical use
                    die daily with at least one prescription   of medications within their ER’s and admissions into treat-
                    drug detected often in combination         ment centers for prescription opioid addiction has in-
with alcohol or other drugs? That is a total of 14 deaths      creased 5 1/2 times in Florida over the past decade; with a
per day in Florida!                                            1,467% increase between 1999 and 2009 for those be-
                                                               tween 12 and 30 years old. And if you think these are our
 In February the Lee County Sheriff’s Office held a week-      only problems you’d be wrong we are also seeing an in-
long Operation Medicine Cabinet (OMC) event with as-           crease in benzodiazepines (i.e. Xanax, Klonopin, Valium)
tounding results to address this problem.                      and muscle relaxers (i.e. Soma). That is why programs
                                                               such as Operation Medicine Cabinets is so important; we
Over the course of 5 days we collected:                        all need to do everything within our power to keep these
                                                               dangerous medications off of our streets and out of the
 Pills           384,483      Syringes         32,020          hands of those we love.
 Ointments/           513     Inhalers          1,142          The Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Abby Services is in
 Creams                                                        the process of planning another series of OMC events for
                              Liquids           2,412          this October 3—8, 2011. Once again we will be holding
 Patches            3,015                                      these events throughout the county; so keep an eye out for
                                                               more information!
On February 12th we had our oldest prescription turned in      If you are interested in participating in Saturday, October
since we started Operation Medicine Cabinet in 2008.           8th’s main event please contact Jaimee Thompson of Abby
Someone turned in heart medication from 1964; that is          Services at
over 45 years old!
During the February 12th event participants dropped off
their medications, got to meet one of our K-9s and his han-
dler, try-on the Impaired Driving Goggles and try a few
exercises while wearing them, parents were given the op-
portunity to get their kid’s fingerprints taken, and many
people had their blood pressure checked by Abby Services
and donated blood at the Lee Memorial Blood Mobile.
We want to thank everyone who dropped off medications
and participated in Operation Medicine Cabinet at all five
of our locations. Our last event was held at Old Navy in
Page Field Commons were we had representatives from
                         Lee County Sheriff’s Office
                         Crime Prevention Unit, K-9
                         Unit, Lee County Sheriff’s Of-
                         fice Explorers and Volunteers,         Pill collection site at Old Navy on Saturday, February 12, 2011.
                         Abby Services, K-consulting,
                         Brookdale Senior Living, Waste-
                         Pro, Department of Environ-
                         mental Protection, Lee Elder
                         Abuse Prevention Partnership,           Join us Saturday, April 30th from 10 am to 2 pm for a
                         Delta Family Counseling, Lee                 mini-OMC at Tanger Outlet Mall located at
Memorial Blood Mobile, McGruff the Crime Dog, and                         20350 Summerlin Road, Ft. Myers.

    Questions or comments? E-mail us at: or call 239-477-1447
                                       Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                   Traveling the Super-Highway Safely
                    Imagine that your house is located in a     product regularly – the bad guys are always finding new
                    highly traveled area of town                ways to access your computer.
                    and strangers can see into your house
                    because you leave all the doors and         The second risk is typically harder to detect – ‘social engi-
                    windows open. This is what an unpro-        neering’. This is a variety of methods used to trick the vic-
                    tected computer looks like to               tim. One is a popup window declaring a fake problem with
                    the bad guys on the Inter-                              your computer and asking you to buy a product
net. When you use your computer you need to                                 to fix the issue. Others can be email posing as
take basic safeguards just like you would for                               a relative needing money. The intent is to have
your house.                                                                 the victim present confidential information
                                                                            they normally would not. When responding to
There are two main risk types when using a com-                             an email or entering information on the inter-
puter. The first is a vulnerability of the computer                         net, always think twice before sending confi-
itself. Many methods of attacking your computer                             dential information or funds. When in doubt,
are used by the bad guys and they all need to be protected      validate using another method like a phone call.
against. Installing a ‘protection suite’ is the most compre-
hensive solution. Find a comprehensive product by read-         Protecting yourself from these two risks will increase your
ing reviews from trusted publications. Also, update the         safety when using your computer.

                              Echo District Enjoys Community Success
               Hand in Hand – That seems to be what con-    A unique “Mobile Crime Watch” program was started be-
               nects members of the Sheriff’s Office Echo   tween the Sheriff’s Office and our local waste removal ser-
                                                            vice company, Waste-Pro. Employees of Waste Pro were
               District together with the residents and busi-
               ness partners they serve. Together, this teamtrained how to respond to suspicious activity they may see
               is thriving and finding much success thanks  on their daily routes, as well as each Waste-Pro truck now
               to great team work!                          displays Mobile Crime Watch decals reminding citizens to
                                                            call the Sheriff’s Office to report suspicious activity as well.
                With the assistance of Lee Code Enforce-    The program already has its first success story thanks to an
ment and Animal Control, neighborhood clean-ups were        alert Waste-Pro driver who reported seeing two people run
conducted in Dunbar, Tice and Unity Heights. Several tons out of a house with a TV. This quick action resulted in the
of trash was collected, many properties were cleaned up and arrest of two people.
hundreds of citizens were made aware of services available
for assistance.                                             In 2011, you can count on your Echo District Crime Preven-
                                                            tion Unit to continue training and educating the citizens of
Several Neighborhood Watch programs were started along Lee County through crime prevention and community based
with dozens of presentations on various Crime Prevention    programs while working to keep residents safe.

                             Excellence In Law Enforcement Award
On February 16, 2011, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)          ognizes leadership in law enforcement in the area of hate
for the Florida Region met to review and select                         crimes, domestic terrorism, civil rights, and public-
the winner of the Excellence in Law Enforcement                         private partnerships like the ADL.
Award for 2010. This marks the third consecutive
year that Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott has been                         The 2010 winner was the Palm Beach County
asked to be on the Selection Committee. Other                            Sheriff’s Office Haiti relief efforts.
committee members include Police Chiefs, Sher-                           According to Sheriff Mike Scott, "Initially being
iffs, State Attorneys, the FBI and civilians from                        selected to serve on this prestigious, statewide
across Florida for a total of fifteen participating                      committee was an honor; however, being invited
members.                                                        back for the third straight year means a lot. I am proud to be
The ADL’s Excellence in Law Enforcement Award is                part of this organization and effort, and I look forward to
unique in the country. No other organization publically rec-    participating again next year if asked to do so."
                    Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                               What Can You Do?
                      Domestic violence (DV) is the leading          Don’t command her to leave him—it will only alien-
                      cause of injury to U.S. women; 1 in 4          ate her. Instead say, “I’m really afraid for you.” or if
                      American women are abused in her               you feel she is in immediate danger, “You need to leave
                      lifetime and 4.8 million intimate-             for the night; do you have a safe place to go?”
                      partner assaults and rapes are reported
                                                                     When she confides in you, don’t demonize her abuser.
                      annually. In unincorporated Lee
                                                                     She’ll probably feel like she needs to defend him. In-
                      County there were 1,945 DV reports
                                                                     stead, keep reminding her that she doesn’t deserve this.
written in one 12 month period and the DV Injunction Unit
                                                                     Remind her that there is never any reason for someone
served over 4,000 injunctions for protection in 2009. The
                                                                     to hurt her physically or mentally.
goal of this Unit is to reduce the number of domestic, re-
peat, sexual and dating violence through the execution of            Offer small, concrete steps, to keep her safe. Encour-
injunctions for protection.                                          age her to keep an emergency stash (clothes, house &
                                                                     car keys, copies of important documents, cash, a list of
Since 2008 there has been a sharp, 77% increase in women
                                                                     emergency numbers, etc) in a safe place away from her
seeking help at DV Shelters with 75% of those shelters at-
                                                                     home, like at your house or at work.
tributing the increase to “financial issues.”
                                                                     Be part of her safety plan. Get to know the situations
Two-thirds of battered women who leave their abuser will
                                                                     in which she’s most likely to get hurt and check in on
return within one or two years of leaving. Many studies
                                                                     her. Develop a code word she can use as a distress sig-
have shown that it can take battered women survivors up to
                                                                     nal. Have a plan for what will happen if the signal is
five tries before they escape for good.
                                                                     given; do you call the police? What will deescalate the
Leaving is a long process; the abuser exercises a lot of con-        situation.
trol, making it very hard for her to just leave. The way most
                                                                     Be patient with her each time she leaves him, it makes
of these women are finally able to truly break free is with
                                                                     her a little stronger.
the help and support of their family and friends.
                                                                                               Where to Turn?
So what can you do if you suspect a family member or
friend is in a dangerous relationship?*                              If you need help immediately Call 9-1-1 if abuse is
                                                                     happening or imminent. Otherwise, call the National
    Let her know you are there for her. Often the abused
                                                                     Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or the lo-
    do not feel supported; they’ve been isolated by their
                                                                     cal Abuse Counseling & Treatment (ACT) Shelter at
    abusers and made to believe “no one wants them.” Say-
                                                                     939-3112 or visit their website at
    ing something like, “I miss hanging out with you. How
    are you?” can prompt them to make a move forward.                If you have questions or you need more information
                                                                     about warning signs or the best way to reach out to
    Be more direct, you may need to be very direct saying,
                                                                     someone, log on to the National Network to End Do-
    “I’m concerned you are not being treated the way you
                                                                     mestic Violence (NNEDV) at
    deserve, and that’s not ok. Here are some options to
    consider.” Then provide some ideas on how they can               If you need legal help—finding a lawyer, log on to
    escape.                                                          NNEDV’s You can also visit the Lee
                                                                     County Sheriff’s Office website— for
    Don’t judge—if you ask your friend, “How can you be
                                                                     information on how to file for an injunction.
    with someone like this?” It solidifies the false belief
    that she is the problem.                                    *From the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

    Questions or comments? E-mail us at: or call 239-477-1447
                                      Lee County Sheriff's Office

                  Community Service Aide Inesmary Ve-          In a separate incident a few days later on March 15th, a
                  lazquez has been selected as the Lee         residential burglary was reported to the Sheriff’s Office
                  County Sheriff’s Office Civilian of the      and Velazquez assisted in conducting a neighborhood can-
                  First Quarter for 2011. On March 11th,       vass looking for witnesses. During her search she was in-
                  Velazquez responded to a hit and run ac-     strumental in locating two suspects who confessed to the
                  cident involving three vehicles in which     burglary and were arrested.
                  one of the vehicles left the scene of the
crash. As troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol con-        Congratulations to CSA Inesmary Velazquez for fulfilling
ducted a traffic investigation, Velazques patiently searched   the Lee County Sheriff’s Office mission statement – “To
the surrounding area and located the vehicle that fled from    safeguard lives and property.”
the scene.

                                       Dedication Above and Beyond
                  Webster’s Dictionary defines a Volun-        diverse array of duties including neighborhood and busi-
                  teer as “one who offers themselves for       ness patrols, traffic control, neighborhood canvassing and
                  service.” This description is particularly   many other non-confrontational assignments. He regularly
                  fitting for Lee County Sheriff’s Office      works many daytime hours along with three evenings each
                  V.O.I.C.E. Volunteer Arthur Strong --        week. He is always reliable and willing to assist the agency
                  selected as the Volunteer of the First       in every way possible.
                  Quarter for 2011.
                                                               Join us in congratulating Arthur Strong – a man who cares
Since joining V.O.I.C.E. (Volunteer Observers Impacting        about his community and is dedicated to helping the Sher-
Community Effort) in 2009, Strong has volunteered more         iff’s Office provide an exemplary level of service to its
than 1700 hours. As a V.O.I.C.E. member he performs a          residents and visitors.

                             Internet Crime Continues to Rise at Rapid Pace
                     The 2010 Internet Crime Report re-        Identity Theft                               $1,000.00
                     cently released by (Internet
                     Crime Complaint Center) shows cy-         Non Delivery of Merchandise/Payment            $950.00
                     ber criminals are engaging in illegal
                                                               Credit Card Fraud                              $214.97
                     online activity at an alarming rate,
                     affecting millions of Americans           Computer Fraud                                $1,000.00
                     across the country and deceiving con-
                     sumers out of millions of dollars.        Advanced Fee Fraud                            $1316.24

The IC3 report parallels statistics from the Lee County        Overpayment Fraud                            $2,526.00
Sheriff’s Office fraud line that shows substantial growth in
                                                               The reported loss throughout the State of Florida exceeded
complaints and dollar loss, and confirms that cyber crimi-
nals are becoming more creative in devising ways to sepa-      $37,000,000.00.
rate internet users from their money.                          If you have a fraud or scam related questions or have re-
                                                               ceived an email, postal mail or phone call you are unsure
Unfortunately, cybercrime has evolved from a craft prac-
ticed by a few hard-core hackers to something resembling       about, please contact our Fraud Hotline at 239-477-1242.
an easy-entry career. Sophisticated pieces of malware can
be bought “off the shelf,” ready to use, making it simple
for anyone to launch an online life of crime. Stolen data
and criminal services that were once hard to find can now
be accessed by one click of the mouse.
Listed below are some of the leading complaint categories
filed with the IC3 from nearly 20,000 Florida residents,
and include a median monetary loss per complainant:
                                          Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                         When to Give Up the Wheel
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preven-      her health. However, seniors can also participate in the dif-
tion, in 2007, there were 31 million licensed drivers ages    ficult decision of whether to continue driving. Through
65 and older in the United States. Driving helps older        honest self-assessment of their driving skills, a senior citi-
adults stay mobile and independent. But the risk of being     zen can identify whether it is the right decision to remain
injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as you   on the road. Possibly, this self-assessment will result in the
age. An average of 500 older adults are injured every day     individual recognizing that they could use a refresher
as occupants of motor vehicles.                               course on driving skills, or maybe will decide that they no
                                                              longer wish to drive. A senior citizen can also encourage
How can I tell if I should stop driving?                      other seniors to perform this same assessment.
      Running stop signs or
      red lights without notic-                                                            In the event a person will not
      ing                                                                                  acknowledge that they should-
      Stopping at green lights                                                             n’t continue driving, any phy-
      for no reason                                                                        sician, person or agency who
      Narrowly missing pe-                                                                 knows of any licensed driver's
      destrians or cars with-                                                              or applicant's mental or physi-
      out realizing it                                                                     cal disability to drive or need
      Switching lanes or                                                                   to obtain or to wear a medical
      merging without look-                                                                identification bracelet is au-
      ing                                                                                  thorized to report this to the
      Going the wrong way                                                                  Department of Highway
      on one-way streets                                                                   Safety and Motor Vehicles.
      Getting lost in familiar areas                          These reports are confidential and shall be used only to
      Stopping in the middle of intersections                 determine the qualifications of the individual to operate a
      Mixing up gas and brake pedals                          motor vehicle on Florida's highways. No civil or criminal
                                                              action may be brought against any physician, person or
                                                              agency for providing this information. http://
Some red flags can also show up at home, if you’re having
trouble walking, climbing stairs, or performing heavy
housework you may struggle to drive as well.                  Senior Safety Tips brought to you by Abby Services, Inc
                                                              Personalized Services to Help You Live Comfortably In
A senior citizen’s main concern should be caring for his or   Your Home. Visit us at

                            Beautiful Weather = Great Motorcycle Rides
Florida was made for motorcycles; there’s beautiful               downshift to slow down.
weather and great places to ride. But if you’ve ever spent
                                                                  When a motorcycle is in motion don't think of it as a
time riding you know there are many inherent dangers.
                                                                  motorcycle; think of it as a person.
Well, May is recognized as National Motorcy-
cle Safety Month so let’s review some safety                                  If riding, Dress for Safety—wear high
tips not only for the riders out there, but for the                       visibility, protective gear. Don’t dress for the
rest of us who share the roadway with them.                               ride; dress for the crash.
    Look for motorcycles—they are often                                       Remember motorists often have trouble
    harder to see.                                                        seeing motorcycles so Be Visible-Be Aware of
                                                                  blind spots and of possible escape routes to safety.
    Because of their small size a motorcycle can be easily
    hidden in a car’s blind spots or masked by bushes,            Drive Defensively—always be aware of traffic around
    fences, etc. They often appear to be moving faster and        you and drive as though no one can see you.
    appear farther away then they really are.
                                                                  If you ride remember—A.G.A.T. All the Gear, All the
    Allow more following distance - motorcyclists often           Time.
                                        Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                       “Officer Down” by Communications Operator Dunaway
As a dispatcher, the first signal you learn is the last one you   their voices. All units not actively involved in the chase
ever want to use: officer down/needs assistance. As a dis-        moved to the secondary channel to free up the radio for
patcher, I sometimes think that field units don’t realize we      emergency traffic.
are with them every second of their shift; I mean right
there, in the front seat riding with them. Sitting in a dark      The perp crashed his car into a tree and fled on foot, turn-
room with our headsets on, we are left with what we hear          ing our pursuit into a foot pursuit. (I can’t tell you which is
and our imaginations. And imagination is often worse than         easier to monitor. Some officers are better than others at
reality.                                                          calling out updates. You just keep typing.)
At the Ft. Myers Police Department, rookie officers come          As this is happening, someone started screaming for an
in about every four months. You try to help them along as         ambulance on the secondary channel. Open mic: “Starks!
best you can. They call traffic stops out backward, they          Starks! Come on! Wake up!”
can’t remember their phonetic alphabet (G = Giraffe,
really?), and they never answer the first time you call them.     The dispatcher quickly called Lee County Control, but was
Eventually, they come around, and it gets easier and every        still unsure of what had happened. There had been a crash.
once in a while, a special rookie comes along.                    Dan’s vehicle had flipped when it collided with another
                                                                  unit—they had both attempted to cut off the perp in the
Dan Starks was one of the special ones. He grew up in the         vehicle pursuit. They were in a poorly lit area and had
department. He started in its Explorer Program as a teen-         taken the same shortcut.
ager, was well-liked, always had a smile on his face and
was quick to laugh. He had always wanted to be a cop. So      At this point, everything started to speed up. Units were in
as soon as he turned 21, he enrolled in the academy and       a foot pursuit. We were trying to get a supervisor to the
started the field training officer (FTO) program                       crash when officers on scene told us EMS needed
right after graduation. Soon, it was his first night  In Memory of to step it up; they were starting CPR.
out on his own.                                       Daniel Starks,
I remember every detail like it was yesterday. It         Ft. Myers                   ‘This Is Not Happening’
was a Friday night in 2003. There was no training          Police -
that night, so we had double shifts on the road.        End of Watch It started to get surreal. The sergeant called the
We even had the unusual luxury of an extra dis-         Oct. 25, 2003 radio room and told me to get everybody back in
patcher on staff, so Dispatcher Angie got to go on                       the city now. All of our traffic units were near the
a ride-along. Earlier in the night, the on-call traffic                Hendry County line, and the quickest way to get
homicide investigator (THI) called to say she was going to      them all at once was to call on the countywide channel.
be with the Wolf Pack on a DUI check point outside the
city and that I could reach her on the countywide radio         “Ft. Myers to 402,” I said.
channel .
I had just come back from break and was an extra pair of          “Go ahead Ft. Myers.”
ears, so I put my headset on and listened to primary radio
traffic while taking overflow calls. It was a little after 2      “I need all city units to return to Ft. Myers (quickly).
a.m. Bars were closing. We had a few problem areas, and           (Officer Down/Needs Assistance! Officer Down/Needs
those who weren’t on active calls headed to the local bars        Assistance!”) Police Code.
as patrons walked to their cars.
                                                                  The lieutenant had just signed off at 2 a.m. I hardly recog-
I had only been back for about five minutes. One of our           nized my sergeant’s voice when he told me to notify the
officers tried to check out a male in the parking lot of a bar    LT to come back. I called and informed him of the situa-
on Cleveland Avenue. He didn’t want to stop his car and           tion.
gunned his vehicle, nearly running her down. She yelled
for assistance, and everyone headed her way. She con-
firmed that the individual had deliberately tried to run her      He came up on the radio and called the sergeant on a TAC
over, as well as rammed her marked unit while fleeing the         channel for an update and status of the situation. I will
scene. The description and direction of travel was repeated       never forget the sergeant’s words: “Just get here as soon as
several times as she got back to her vehicle and started the      you can. It’s bad, sir—it’s real bad.”
                                                                  This is when reality set in for us. Everyone in the room
Anyone in public safety knows that seconds seem like min-         heard this. Two of the girls broke down and cried. Their
utes and minutes seem like hours when you’re chasing              voices cracked on the radio. I told myself, “It’s a bad crash,
someone or waiting for backup.                                    but he will be OK. We’ve worked bad officer-involved
                                                                  crashes before, and they were all OK.”
The suspect led my officers down the side streets, off
Cleveland Avenue. I could hear the stress and adrenaline in       We couldn’t stop working: There was still an active foot
                                        Lee County Sheriff's Office

pursuit. My cell phone beeped; it was the THI I had called       couldn’t find coverage for. I couldn’t sleep that day and
back to the city. With her siren in the background, she told     kept replaying the radio traffic in my head. I got up and got
me, “He’s going to be OK. We need you guys right now.            ready for work.
Tell them it’s going to be OK!”
                                                                 As I drove in, I started to get angry. Angry about what hap-
She had heard the emotion in the girls’ voices and knew          pened. Angry about the helplessness I was feeling; angry
they were on the edge. I look back now and think that she        that I didn’t bring my entire shift home that morning.
was telling herself this as much as she was telling us. She
had been Dan’s Explorer leader.                                  Finally, I cried.
They finally called prisoner in custody on the foot pursuit.                               Rest in Peace
Now, we could concentrate on the crash. This is when I
remembered Angie was out there. Angie and I have                                     Dan’s funeral was the first I attended for a
worked together for years; she was my shift partner. I                               death in the line of duty. The whole city
couldn’t remember who she said she was riding with. I                                stopped. The county took over all our
called her cell. She didn’t answer. I called again, no an-                           calls, and for the first time in my career,
swer. There was still too much going on to do a roll call.                           they locked the front doors of the station.
The LT called over the radio to get an update on who’d                               There was no radio traffic. I had the honor
been notified. I went down the list, from the Chief all the                          of giving Dan’s final 10-7 (Out of Service)
way down to the highway patrol. Sometime during all this                             on the day of his funeral.
mess, I had taken over primary radio traffic. The other dis-
patcher couldn’t stop crying.                                    Dan was 21 years old and had only served two months with
The rest of the night was a blur. It’s funny how some de-        us. His previous five years were as an Explorer. Dan was
tails stand out crystal clear and others fade away. One of       engaged to be married. He had just been released from his
our then-newer dispatchers came into the radio room from         FTO the evening of his death. He was 15 minutes from
the front desk, she is from out of the area and didn’t have a    going off duty at the time of the crash. The perp was
personal connection to the officers, and offered to take the     charged with his death and sentenced to 21 years and six
channel. I couldn’t get off the channel. I had to finish the     months in prison.
call. I remember feeling that if I let her have the channel;
everything would fall apart for me. I needed to be there         One year for each of Dan’s short life.
until the end, until the rest of my shift was back and all
accounted for.                                                   I’m now with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. In addition
                                                                 to my duties, I train new dispatchers. One of the first things
Dayshift was called in early. We were relieved around 5:30       I tell my trainees is that no day is typical in law enforce-
a.m. and reported to a debriefing. I remember getting off        ment. You train, and you train, and you never lose track of
the elevator on the first floor and looking at all my co-        your officers. They might get aggravated with you for
workers. I had never seen them like this before. No one          checking in on them for the umpteenth time. But just re-
was talking. I saw one of the shift sergeants walk in with       member, they are someone’s husband; father, brother, sis-
tears streaming down his face.                                   ter, child, mother and/or wife. They have family who love
                                                                 them and expect them home at the end of their shifts. We
Dan was pronounced dead at the hospital. The officer in          are their lifeline when all hell breaks loose.
the unit he collided with escaped with minor injuries. A
couple of Dan’s classmates from the academy, some of             And if you can’t accept that responsibility, then this is not
them childhood friends, were sitting in roll call, staring at    the job for you.
the wall and crying silently. I finally found Angie; she just
looked at me, and we exchanged no words as we hugged.            I have a passion for my career and take personal offense to
                                                                 being referred to as “just a dispatcher.” I have no patience
I called my husband, Mike, who was getting ready for             for those who come to my profession just because they
work. I drove home, but don’t remember how I got there.          need a paycheck, are infatuated with the uniform or try to
Mike was waiting for me in the driveway. He hugged me            get by taking shortcuts. Dispatching is not just a job, it’s a
for a long time. As much as he hated my job, he knew how         calling. There is no such thing as a shortcut.
I felt about my guys. Some of them drive me crazy, but
they’re my family, and in the end, I feel responsible for        If there is one thing that I have learned from this experi-
their safety. Intellectually, I know I can’t control what hap-   ence, it’s that you never know what your work day will
pens to them in the field, but my motherly instincts always      bring. You must do everything you can to be prepared.
kick in when I am dispatching. Someone from our family           Take your training and continuing education seriously. Be
was missing, and it was hitting home, we would never see         the best you can be because you never know when you will
him again.                                                       hear, officer down/needs assistance, come over a channel
                                                                 — and that is when they need you the most.
After being involved in a critical incident, it is protocol to
take time off, but my agency was small and many of us
were affected. I was the only one from my shift that they
    Questions or comments? E-mail us at: or call 239-477-1447
                                        Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                    Check Your Floats Before You Boat
May is National Safe Boating Month and as summer ap-            •  Display of Numbers
proaches, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office encourages rec-       •  Registration and Documentation
reational boaters to have their vessels inspected for safety.
                                                                              • Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)
A Vessel Safety Check (VSC) means
“boating smart from the start” by making                                      • Visual Distress Signals (VDS)
sure that not only does your boat have the                                    • Fire Extinguishers
necessary safety gear on board in case of an                                  • Navigation Lights
emergency, but you know where the gear is                                     • Backfire Flame Control
and that it’s in good working order after the                                 • Marine Radio
winter season.                                                                • Anchor
Here is a small checklist of requirements and recommenda-                     • First Aid Kit
tions – of course, vessel size dictates exact necessities -     Vessel Safety Checks are available at no charge and can be
which, boat captains can use to ensure safe navigation in       conducted by the LCSO Marine Unit or the Coast Guard
our local waters.                                               Auxiliary.

                                   Out of the Wood and into Handcuffs
               Corrections Deputy Angela Taylor has been        subject who was attempting to flee from an ensuing officer
               chosen as the Lee County Sheriff’s Office        had been eluding deputies for several days. When the sus-
               Corrections Deputy of the 2011 First Quar-       pect saw Taylor he quickly turned around and attempted to
               ter for her assistance in apprehending a         change course. She immediately approached the subject
               wanted subject.                                  and assisted her fellow officer in apprehending and con-
                                                                trolling the man.
              While monitoring inmates picking up trash
              on the side of the road in Lehigh Acres,          Great work Deputy Taylor! We are proud to call you one
Taylor observed a male coming out of a wooded area. The         of Lee County’s finest!

                              April Raises Awareness on Sexual Assault
Often the victims are silent and afraid to speak out; their     5. Lock all doors to your car and residence at all times.
lives are scarred forever and many suffer from substance
abuse, depression, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide.    6. Before you drive home call a roommate, spouse, family
This crime is committed on both the young and the old and       or friend. Let them know when to expect you.
doesn’t discriminate on ethnicity, race or gender. What is it
that causes so much devastation? It’s called: Sexual                    7. Encourage group activities in the early stages
Assault, Incest and Rape.                                               of a relationship.

To bring attention to this violent act, prevent future                  8. Always meet someone you don’t know in a
crimes and aid victims, our nation recognizes April                     public place – never go alone to unfamiliar sur-
as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.                             roundings.
Thinking and talking about the different types of
                                                                        9. Take a self-defense class.
sexual assault and what you might do if you find
yourself in a bad situation may help you avoid be-                      10. Call 911 to report a suspicious person or activ-
coming a victim. Below are a few tips to consider:                      ity.
1. Always walk briskly; look alert and confident, avoid         11. Learn self defense.
carrying objects requiring the use of both arms.
                                                                The Lee County Sheriff’s Office offers a free basic intro-
2. Stay away from isolated areas, day or night.                 duction to women’s self defense for girls as young as 13 to
                                                                our seniors; our oldest participant was 97 years old!
3. Never walk alone when it is dark.
                                                                For information about attending a S.A.F.E. class presented
4. If you are being followed, get away fast, change direc-      by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, contact (239) 477-1400.
tions and walk or run to a crowded area.
                                         Lee County Sheriff's Office

                                                Upcoming Events
May 21, 2011 LEAPP Shred-a-Thon—
9 am to 11 am Area Agency on Aging in Merchants Crossing, 15201 N Cleveland Ave Ste 1100, North Fort Myers.
Noon to 2 pm Lee County Sheriff’s Office, 14750 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Ft. Myers.

April 30, 2011 Operation Medicine Cabinet 10 am to 2 pm. Safely and properly dispose of your unused pre-
scription and non-prescription medications, sharps and pet meds at the Tanger Outlet Mall.

Teen Driver Challenge—Calling all young drivers 15 to 19 years old who have a learner’s permit or driver’s license,
and would like to learn a few pointers and maybe save money on their car insurance. Call the Lee County Sheriff’s Of-
fice, Public Services Division at 239-477-1400 to sign up for this free class. Friday’s classroom sessions are from 5 pm to
9 pm, Saturday’s driving sessions are from 9 am to 5 pm. May 13/14, 2011.
June—August classroom sessions will be from 9 am to 1 pm June 21/22 (Tues & Wed), July 12/13 (Tues & Wed),
July 29/30 and August 12/13, 2011.

Operation Medicine Cabinet 10 am to 2 pm- Safely and properly dispose of your unused prescription and over-the-
counter medicines.
October 3, 2011–Area Agency on Aging in Merchants Crossing, 15201 N Cleveland Ave, N. Ft. Myers
October 4, 2011—Winn Dixie located in Sunshine Plaza in Leigh Acres.
October 5, 2011—Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Charlie District located at 15650 Pine Ridge Road, Ft. Myers.
October 6, 2011– Hollywood Theater located in Coconut Pointe Shopping Mall.
October 8, 2011—Old Navy located in Page Field Commons in Fort Myers.

                                            Newsletter Sponsors

                 1402 Lafayette Street
                 Cape Coral, FL 33904

                 Dr. Chance Wunderlich

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