Committed to the Community

Like lions protecting their pride in the wild grasslands of the savanna, the deputies of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) protect the citizens of the Monroe County community.

To the MCSO, their top priority is the safety of each and every individual in the Florida Keys. Moreover, in an exclusive interview, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay shares how he makes sure this county has the best officers able to complete the task at hand.

“The government and communities should be supporting law enforcement, we should be working together to weed out the bad ones,” says Ramsay “We need proper training, proper policies to make sure all officers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and ones who are not, we need to get rid of those.”

Sheriff Rick Ramsay (L) and Chief Sean Brandenburg (R) marching in the protest with the people of the Keys in the early summer of 2020. Photo Provided by Mark Hedden

Adding on, Ramsay explains how the MCSO ensures that their deputies are performing efficiently. “Anytime we use any level of force, our officers are required to fill out a use of force report. So, they have to document when they use levels of force, whether it be pepper spray, tasers, firearms, or physical force. They have to articulate the facts  of what took place to justify their actions.”

Regarding technical uniforms, the officers must wear body cameras that record audio and visual footage. “…we use these tapes for internal review, so that if we get a complaint from a citizen for excessive force we can go back and look at the audio and video to see exactly what took place to see if the force was justified.”

Ramsay elaborates on the protocol when the incorrect behavior is seen on the cameras. “… we can take disciplinary action based on what took place and based on the totality of the circumstances… We try to determine the level of enforcement we should use, whether it is documentary training, anger management, should they be suspended, demoted, or fired.” 

Concluding the interview, Ramsay shares how effective the MCSO communication tools are. “Every agency is different, at the Sheriff’s Office here, we pride ourselves on transparency, we pride ourselves on telling the citizens not only the good things we do, but when something bad happens, we want them to hear it from us first,” said Ramsay, “We pride ourselves on holding ourselves and our people accountable, when they do something wrong, we immediately take action to notify the citizens, correct the behavior and hold those people accountable.”

By guaranteeing excellence, the values of honesty, professionalism and a commitment to the community are emulated by the MCSO.

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