The Gardens Hotel owner Kate Miano presented the Key West Police Mounted Unit with a check for over $6,000 -- funds raised in the May Derby Day fundraiser at the hotel.
Miano has hosted this annual fundraiser since 2017. Each year she has generously donated to the Mounted Unit after hosting the event that coincides with the Kentucky Derby.
The Mounted Unit is one of the most popular units of the Key West Police Department. These equestrian officers provide a daily presence that is particularly beneficial downtown and with crowds.
The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners and Monroe County Fire Rescue Chief Steve Hudson recognized Sheriff Rick Ramsay for his partnership over the past few years in helping to keep the community safe. In addition to Trauma Star, Hudson thanked him for allowing Monroe County Fire Rescue to share space at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Substation on Cudjoe Key before the new building was operational.
“His hospitality allowed us to serve Lower Keys residents with emergency services without missing a beat,” said Hudson. “We appreciate having a great partnership with him and all of his MCSO staff. Our collaboration helps keep the community safe and provides the quickest available services to our community members in an emergency.”
Sunday marked the final day in a 27-year career for Key West Police Capt. JR Torres.
At last week’s City Commission meeting, Chief Sean Brandenburg, City Manager Patti McLauchlin and the entire City Commission gave thanks to Capt. Torres for his dedicated years of service, noting that, prior to his tenure with the police he served the community as a paramedic for ten years. In total, Capt. Torres has served the Key West community for 37 years.
Chief Brandenburg, in recognition of his outstanding service to the community, bestowed the honorary rank of Deputy Chief.
During his nearly three decades with the police, Capt. Torres has earned many honors, including the Medal of Valor, the Life Saving Award, and several Chief’s Commendations.
He served as a narcotics detective, K9 handler and patrol officer. Ten years ago, he was promoted to Captain and served as Patrol Captain until his retirement.
“This has been the most rewarding and honorable thing I’ve done in my life,” said Capt. Torres. “In my mind there’s nothing more rewarding that a person can do as a human being. That feeling you get when you put your head down at night knowing you have done right for others is priceless.”
Chief Brandenburg recapped Capt. Torres’s remarkable career and, in a long-standing joke around the station, noted that he was, indeed, the Chief’s favorite Captain.
“Congratulations, JR, on an amazing career,” he said.
At Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, City Manager Patti McLauchlin presented Capt. Torres with a plaque honoring his service.
“We’ve worked together for 27 years,” she said, “Through thick and thin. I’m very proud of the service you’ve given to the community.”
In a recent awards ceremony hosted by the Grand Key Resort, Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg recognized Officers Andrea Bernatova and Thomas Haynie with the Lifesaving Award.
On February 23rd, Officers Bernatova and Haynie responded to a call for an elderly man having a heart attack at the Casa Marina. Both officers rushed to the suite and found the man on the floor unresponsive and with no pulse.
They immediately began resuscitation efforts, continuing until Key West Rescue arrived on scene and took over the patient’s care. The man was transported to the hospital where he regained a pulse. He was subsequently airlifted.
“The quick response and outstanding ability to work together likely saved the life of this man,” said Chief Brandenburg. “Officers Bernatova and Haynie have rightly earned the Lifesaving Award.”
In an awards ceremony Friday, hosted by the Grand Key Resort, Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg named Officer Santiago Perez Officer of the Year 2021 and Denise Richardson Civilian Employee of the Year 2021.
These honors are sponsored by Keys Federal Credit Union and Mary Lou Carn was on hand to present each recipient with a $500 check.
Officer Perez began his career with the Key West Police Department in 2017, having completed the Law Enforcement Academy at the College of the Florida Keys.
“Officer Perez genuinely cares about the community he serves,” said Chief Brandenburg. “He can always be relied upon to go the extra mile whether it's providing food and water to migrants or going out of his way to help someone in crisis.”
Denise Richardson has been with the department since 2010. During that time she has proven to be a dedicated professional who regularly comes in on her own time during the weekends to ensure payroll is completed and correct.
“Denise has gone above and beyond this year,” said Chief Brandenburg, “stepping up to fill some extra vital roles when staff left. Without any hesitation or complaint, Denise has worked three jobs in one without falling behind on any tasks. Her dedication ensured that the department continued to function at its very highest level.”
City Manager Patti McLauchlin, during Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, honored Police Chief Sean Brandenburg for his 20 years of service to Key West.
Surrounded by colleagues, commissioners, the mayor, and his wife Julie, Chief Brandenburg was presented a 20-year coin and gold watch commemorating his service.
“We thank you, Sean, for all your many years of service,” said McLauchlin.
“It’s an honor to make this milestone in my career.” Said Brandenburg. “I still enjoy going to work every day. The two big reasons for that: The fine men and women of the Key West Police Department, and the community support we get. And by community support I also mean our law enforcement community. Nowhere else do you see city, county, state, federal and the military get along the way we do in Key West.”
In presenting the honors, McLauchlin recalled the many contributions and milestones in Chief Brandenburg’s career. Hired on April 1st in 2002, “Sean started on the night shift, quickly becoming a K-9 handler. He was paired with his K-9 Wind, who would serve faithfully by his side for the next several years.”
In 2005, he was promoted to Sergeant, and, in 2010, Brandenburg and Wind were assigned to the Special Investigations Unit or narcotics unit.
“During his time in narcotics, Sean was the leader of the unit,” said McLauchlin, “working closely with our local, state and federal partners, to combat the opioid epidemic that was just beginning to take hold in the US and Florida. In one six-month stint while working with a special task force from the DEA, his unit filed over 250 felony charges against individuals selling drugs in Key West.”
Brandenburg was promoted to Lieutenant in 2012. In 2014, he was promoted to Administrative Captain.
While he was Captain, Brandenburg attended the prestigious FBI National Academy, an honor less than one percent of Law Enforcement worldwide are selected to attend.
On December 3, 2018, he was promoted to Police Chief.
“As Chief, he has continued to strive to improve the agency's relationship with the community,” McLauchlin noted. “Sean is a member of Rotary, Business Guild, Cooking with Love and Military Affairs Committee, and sits on various boards to include Keys to be the Change, Wesley House, Love Fund, and PAL. Sean is also an enormous supporter of Special Olympics, MARC House, and Autism Society of the Keys, hence the Blue Badge on his chest. Sean has received numerous awards, such as Life Saving, Officer of the Quarter, Unit Award, and the Chief's Commendation, for his work throughout his tenure.”
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