Corrections Sergeant Embarks on Mission Trip to Nairobi, Enriches Her Local Service with Younglife

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Sgt. Crawford (4th from Left) with Younglife members from Charlotte County and Kenya

Corrections Sergeant Wendy Crawford recently returned from a 10 day missions trip to Nairobi, Kenya, with a team from Charlotte County to experience Younglife in Africa. Locally, Sgt. Crawford devotes much of her personal time to the youth in our community though the Younglife organization. While in Kenya, Crawford’s team visited a children’s home, participated in Younglife group activities, and put together a day camp for over 100 students, and completed a construction project at a local high school. It doesn’t come a surprise to this agency that the young women in the groups were inspired by Sgt. Crawford, both by her success and her desire to give back to her community.

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Sgt. Crawford with an elephant at the Maasai Mara Conservation

Young Life is a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged kids in all 50 of the United States as well as more than 90 countries around the world. Sgt. Crawford has served as a Younglife leader at Port Charlotte High School since 2011. “Students measure how much you care about them based on the amount of time you spend with them,” states Sgt. Crawford. “They don’t care how much you know; they want to know how much you care.” Sgt. Crawford notes that the positive impact she makes on a student often has a rippling effect on the entire family. She is personally touched when former students reach back out to her as adults to thank her for the impact she had on their lives.

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Sgt. Crawford (front row, left) with her team and Nairobi high school students

While in Kenya, Sgt. Crawford was also able to observe local law enforcement, providing a global perspective on our differences and similarities with our countries and cultures. Sergeant Wendy Crawford is an excellent example of a Deputy who infuses our core values in every aspect of their service to community.

Here at the Sheriff’s Office, we are proud of Sgt. Crawford’s call to service beyond our agency – but we are certainly glad to have her back home!

 

 

 

 

CCSO Canines Certify in Narcotics Detection; Top Scores Recognized

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit completed their annual drug detector certification through the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) on April 24th. The certification also served as a mini-regional competition, attended by canine teams from the Punta Gorda and North Port Police Departments. 15 teams competed in total.

The USPCA presented trophies to the top four competitors, all from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, on May 1st. Out of a possible 200 total points, these four teams each lost less than 5 points overall during their evaluations.

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DFC Gilmer and K9 Loki – 198.33
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Deputy Chandler and K9 Titus – 197.33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cpl. Baras and K9 Wiley – 196
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Cpl. Mills and K9 Sparta – 195.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United States Police Canine Association is the Nation’s Oldest and Largest Police K-9 Organization. Since 1971, they have been training and certifying police dogs in General Patrol Dog use, Tracking, Protection, Narcotic Detection, Explosive Detection, Arson, Fish and Game and Search and Rescue. These national certifications have been upheld by more than 48 U.S. Supreme and Federal District Court rulings as a ‘Bona-Fide’ test for Police use.

The United States is broken down into various ‘Regions’ that participate and hold field trials each year. Additional information on the USPCA and the certification process can be found on their website, www.uspcak9.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida Sheriffs Task Force Operation Spring Cleaning Earned Substantial Numbers to Help Keep Floridians Safe

The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) Task Force released the results of Operation Spring Cleaning, a strategic initiative in 27 Florida counties that focused on the investigation and subsequent arrest of those manufacturing, delivering or trafficking controlled substances. During this operation, here in Charlotte County, we took 98 drug traffickers off the streets, confiscated 9.79 pounds of controlled substances, and seized 4 firearms during the Task Force Operation Spring Cleaning.

FSA_ Poster_24x36_V2“The widespread use of controlled substances has devastated communities across our great state,” said FSA President and Walton County Sheriff and FSA President Michael Adkinson. “Enforcing controlled substance policies under Florida Statute 893.03 is a top priority for law enforcement officers to keep families and local communities safe.”

Florida’s medical examiners reported 704 people died of Fentanyl-related overdoses in the first half of 2016 which led to the passing of enhanced penalties for drug dealers and traffickers as seen in Florida House Bill 477 in 2017. Since many dealers sell various types of drugs, Operation Spring Cleaning focused on capturing sales and trafficking related to highly abused controlled substances.

The following are the specific totals numbers for Charlotte County:

  • 98 persons arrested for trafficking in controlled substances listed under Florida Statute 893.03/sale and delivery
  • 4,443 grams of controlled substances confiscated (Highlights Below)
    • Cocaine (170 grams)
    • Opioids (3,409 grams)
    • Meth (598 grams)
    • Marijuana (198 grams)
  • 4 firearms seized

“Operation Spring Cleaning has been a massive undertaking and I am so proud of the work that has been done on this task force operation,” said Charlotte County Sheriff William Prummell, Jr. and Chair of the FSA Task Force. “We have declared war on drug trafficking here in the Sunshine State, and Operation Spring Cleaning was our calling card.”

Operation Spring Cleaning contributes to two of the FSA business operations goals: to foster effective law enforcement and crime prevention and to promote the activities of Sheriffs. The results of this task force operation have led to many successful closed investigations of drug trafficking in the state of Florida.

 

The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of the Sheriffs of Florida, approximately 3,500 business leaders and 70,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has steadfastly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state’s law enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs’ Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA has established and funded the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. It has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit www.flsheriffs.org.

Registering Your Alarm in Charlotte County

More than 95% of the intrusion alarms received within Charlotte County are false. Responding to preventable false alarms presents a serious threat to the effectiveness of our Sheriff’s Office and the safety of County citizens. False alarms are costly and dangerous because they divert deputies from proactive crime prevention efforts and delay responses to calls that may be true emergencies.

In an effort to eliminate false intrusion alarms, the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners amended Charlotte County Code Chapter 2-5, Article VI, requiring the registration of security alarm systems and penalizing owners of alarm systems that generate multiple false alarms. The amendment to the County Code benefits the public by:

  • Placing the cost of responding to repeated false alarms on the user
  • Reducing the number of false alarms
  • Reducing the disturbance caused to others by false alarms, especially in residential neighborhoods
  • Reducing the time deputies spend responding to false alarms
  • Encouraging users and alarm monitoring companies to better maintain their systems, resulting in better security and fewer false alarms

There is a one-time registration fee of $25, this registration fee is non-transferable and must be paid with a check or money order, and cash will not be accepted. After completion of the initial registration, if a deputy is called to your home or business due activation of your alarm and the call is found to be a false alarm a $10 renewal fee will be due at the end of your 12 month registration period. If you there aren’t any false alarms within your registration period (12 months from your initial registration), your account will renew automatically without any fees being due.

Per county ordinance, each alarm owner is allotted two warnings for the first two false alarms as well a third warning if you successfully complete the False Alarm Prevention Quiz.

View The Alarm Ordinance

Download The Alarm Registration Form

**Businesses or residences within the incorporated city limits of Punta Gorda are exempt from the County ordinance.**

Still have questions? Check our our ALARM FAQ PAGE at www.ccso.org or contact our Alarm Coordinator at 941-575-5284 or via email at alarms@ccso.org.

Juvenile Unit Conducts Checks for Underage Alcohol and Tobacco Sales

(Englewood) – Members of the Juvenile Unit teamed up on Saturday, April 28, for an enforcement sweep targeting the sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors. The operation included compliance checks on seven commercial establishments licensed to sell alcohol and tobacco products. Five of the establishments checked were in compliance.

Commercial establishments checked that DID NOT sell alcohol or tobacco to a minor:

Superday Express, 1595 S. McCall Road (Alcohol)
Publix, 13435 S. McCall Road, (Alcohol)
Publix Liquor, 13435 S. McCall Road (Alcohol)
Crazy Papa’s, 4363 S. McCall Road (Alcohol)
Pure Gas Station, 3582 North Access (Alcohol)

Commercial establishments that DID sell alcohol or tobacco to a minor:

Mobile Gas Station, 13423 S. McCall Road (Alcohol) – Clerk issued a Notice to Appear
Paris Convenience, 3725-A S. Access (Alcohol) – Clerk Arrested

The goal of this enforcement is to curb the illegal sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors, and encourage proper checks of identification. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work constructively with retail establishments where violations occur to ensure that employees are educated regarding Florida law. Sheriff Bill Prummell urges all individuals to report the illegal sale of alcohol and tobacco to law enforcement. Report violations to the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101.

Virtual Kidnapping Scam

A “Virtual Kidnapping Scam” was attempted this weekend here in our county. The scammers were armed with a wealth of personal information on the subject (likely gleaned from social media). A second attempt was reported to us this morning, so it is a good time to review this scam so that our community is armed with the information needed to prevent being victimized.

First, you receive a call from an unknown number. The scammer says, “I’ve kidnapped your relative,” and names a brother, sister, child or parent. “Send ransom immediately by wire transfer or prepaid card,” they say, “or something bad will happen.” They didn’t kidnap anyone, but they hope you’ll panic and rush to pay ransom before checking the story. To stop you from checking out the story, scammers order you to stay on the phone until the money is sent. There’s pressure to pay quickly, and the caller says not to contact anyone. And, of course, scammers demand payment by wire transfer or prepaid cards, because it’s difficult to trace or recover money sent that way.

The FBI calls this scam virtual kidnapping. Scammers scour the internet and social media sites, grabbing information about where people live, work, or travel, and names of friends and family. The cons use the details to pick a target and make their calls sound credible. To cut down on the information that scammers can find, think about limiting access to your networking pages — and encourage your family to do the same.

If you get a call like this, remember that it’s fake, no matter how scary it sounds. Even if it feels really real, never wire money or pay by prepaid card to anyone who asks you to. If you’re worried about the call, get off the phone and get in touch with the relative or friend in question – just to reassure yourself. And then report it to the FTC. Never hesitate to contact us if you are concerned for a loved ones’ safety our non-emergency number is 941-639-0013.

Information for this article excerpted from www.ftc.gov. 

E911 Coordinator Sworn in as President of National Emergency Number Association’s Florida Chapter

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Laurie Anderson is sworn in as NENA’s Florida Chapter President

Laurie Anderson, the E911 Coordinator for the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, was sworn in as President of the National Emergency Number Association’s (NENA) Florida Chapter on Thursday evening.

NENA: The 9-1-1 Association improves 911 through research, standards development, training, education, outreach, and advocacy. As a member of the organization, Anderson has access to over 12,000 members nationwide with which to share information on providing effective and accessible 911 services to the community.

As President, Anderson will work with 911 professionals nationwide, public policy leaders, emergency services and telecommunications industry partners, public safety associations, and other stakeholder groups to develop and carry out critical programs and initiatives, and to establish industry leading standards, training, and certifications.

Theft Suspect Arrested Attempting to Sell Stolen Items on Facebook

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Eric John Marquis

A suspect in a March theft was arrested yesterday during a sting operation, organized after the stolen items were observed posted for sale on Facebook. Eric John Marquis (9/5/77), was arrested on charges of Grand Theft and Dealing in Stolen Property after he arrived to complete the transaction with the undercover deputy.

The theft occurred on March 18th, when the victim parked his motorcycle near the front door of Walmart  (375 Kings Highway), leaving his Bluetooth equipped helmet on the bike. Upon exiting the store, the helmet was gone. Utilizing surveillance footage, suspect Eric Marquis was identified by several deputies based on prior interactions. Marquis, who identifies as homeless, was unable to be located.

On April 23rd, Detectives observed that Eric Marquis was selling a Bluetooth helmet set on Facebook. The victim was contacted and he identified the posted set as his stolen property. The Detective made arrangements to purchase the set from Eric Marquis, meeting on April 25th at Pizza Hut (3068 Tamiami Trail). Eric Marquis was arrested at the time of the meeting. He was transported to the Charlotte County Jail.

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Safe Exchange Zone Sign at the District One Building

 

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office encourages you to be safe when conducting business transactions resulting from online commerce. In addition to the risk of purchasing stolen property, the seller or buyer may have criminal intentions for the meetings, such as stealing your money or merchandise.

The Sheriff’s Office has designated areas at every District Office as E-Commerce Exchange Safe Zones for customers meeting with individuals to transact business resulting from online deals. Using these locations to conduct transactions is strongly encouraged to decrease the opportunity for criminal activity.

A complete list of our safe zones can be found in an earlier blog post by clicking here.

Medication Assisted Treatment Services at the Charlotte County Jail

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Corizon Health Services, and Charlotte Behavioral Health have recently joined into an agreement to provide Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services to inmates incarcerated within the jail facility. This MAT service focuses on individuals that are opiate dependent, and my benefit from medication such as Vivitrol to assist in successful recovery.  Medications, such as Vivitrol, blocks the effects of opioid medications, and helps stop the feeling or urge to take opioids.

The MAT services also include preparing the inmates for successful re-entry into the community by addressing current medical needs and the underlying Substance Use Disorders.  Individuals identified as possible candidates for the MAT program are referred to the program, and screened both medically and psychologically for appropriateness. All approved participants are provided community treatment plan services that provide individual, group, or family counseling upon release through Charlotte Behavioral Health.

The goal of this plan is to help prepare the inmates and expedite the delivery of medication services prior to their re-entering into the community.  By identifying and screening the inmate prior to release and providing the medication prior to re-entry, the inmate can more effectively be prevented from further opioid use and remain in longer term treatment and ultimately reduce recidivism back into incarceration.

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