Chief Sean Brandenburg last week swore in a newly promoted lieutenant and a newly promoted sergeant. Lt. Bill Vazquez was promoted from Special Investigations Sergeant to Night Watch Patrol Lieutenant. Sgt. Karl Malsheimer was promoted from General Case Detective to Night Watch Sergeant.
Both gentlemen were born and raised in Key West. Lt. Vazquez joined the department in 2012 and is following in his father Alfredo Vazquez’s shoes in law enforcement. Capt. Alfredo Vazquez retired from the Key West Police Department after 30 years of service.
Sgt. Malsheimer came to the department in 2011 and has served with distinction. Both he and Lt. Vazquez have garnered numerous commendations, including the Life Saving Award.
“Lt. Vazquez and Sgt. Malsheimer have earned these positions,” said Chief Brandenburg. “I’m proud of their service and have full confidence in their leadership of the men and women of the Key West Police Department.”
Capt. Dave Black Retires
Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg on Monday promoted Lt. Dave Black to the rank of Captain, an honor signifying his last day with the department after more than 25 years of dedicated service.
Capt. Black joined the department in May of 1998 after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2002 and to lieutenant in 2006, serving as the commander of the Special Operations bureau.
In this role he oversaw the Marine Unit, the Motor Unit, the Special Response Team, the Dive Team, and the Mounted Unit. He served for many years as the lieutenant of the Detectives Division.
Capt. Black’s dedicated commitment and work as an officer led to the formation of the K9 Unit as well as the Special Response Team.
The crowd that turned out for his promotion ceremony was a testament to the close bonds Capt. Black has built with his colleagues and with the community.
“It has truly been an honor to serve with Dave Black,” said Chief Brandenburg. “He is a dedicated leader who has mentored many officers in this department. He leads by example. We wish him well in his future endeavors, but he will be missed by the Key West Police Department.”
The Key West Police Department is honored to be awarded the Key West Business Guild's President's Award. The award was presented in recognition of the department's dedication to the protection and support of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“We are humbled by this honor,” said Chief Sean Brandenburg. “The men and women of the Key West Police Department are dedicated to serving our One Human Family.”
A 47-year-old Key West man was arrested for robbery with a firearm, aggravated assault with a firearm, false imprisonment, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Late Thursday afternoon, the Key West Police Department received multiple 911 calls around 4:16 p.m. about a man with a firearm inside of the Lime Tree Food Mart located at 1816 Flagler Avenue.
Osmel Garcia was known to frequent Lime Tree Food Mart and had been kicked out numerous times by the store employees. On Thursday, Garcia went into the store and brandished a semi-automatic .32 caliber handgun. Video evidence showed Garcia in the store pointing the loaded firearm at customers and employees, and eventually turning the gun on himself.
Garcia never fired the gun, but he took a beer from the establishment and drank it while waving the gun in the air during the chaos. As Key West Police Officers and Detectives began arriving on scene, Garcia was seen locking the entrance/exit door of Lime Tree Food Mart while customers and employees hid throughout the store. Key West Police gave multiple commands to Garcia to drop the gun and exit the store. Garcia ultimately tossed the gun outside before exiting the store. Garcia was taken into custody shortly thereafter. No one was injured during the incident. Key West Police Department Detectives took over the investigation and Garcia was arrested on multiple charges and transported to the Monroe County Detention Center.
A search warrant led to the arrest of an alleged drug trafficker and the removal of a large amount of drugs from the streets.
On October 28th, the Key West Police Department Special Investigations Unit arrested Thomas Scancarelli, 60, on multiple narcotics related charges, including trafficking in cocaine.
A search warrant executed at Scancarelli’s residence led to detectives finding over 51 grams of cocaine, 4 grams of MDMA (Molly), 44 grams of psychedelic mushrooms, 27 grams of marijuana and over $6,000 in cash.
Scancarelli remains incarcerated at the Monroe County Jail on $260,000 bond.
Thanking the Facilities Crew
Capt. Jason Castillo presented the City’s Facilities Maintenance Team with a plaque in gratitude for their continued support in keeping the police station in shape. The crew went the extra mile this spring, ensuring everything was working perfectly when the inspectors came for the department’s reaccreditation. This team effort earned the Key West Police Department an Excelsior level reaccreditation, recognition for five assessments that found no flaws.
In April, a team of state assessors spent three days scrutinizing all aspects of the department to ensure it meets the highest level of best practices standards for the state. Accreditation sets a high level of professionalism in a law enforcement agency. It’s a voluntary process that allows the department to constantly measure itself based upon standards set by its peers across the state. The assessments are conducted every three years, but the process itself is a daily practice in every officer’s career. It allows each to remain familiar with the department’s policies and ensures the most professional department possible. Accreditation ensures to the community a knowledgeable police department that provides the very best service possible to the community.
In the photo: Quartermaster Michael Shouldice, FMT’s Tara Whisner, Capt. Jason Castillo, FMT’s Brett Wright and Sandy Rico, and Lt. Joe Tripp.
National Night Out 2022
National Night Out 2022 promises to be a really exciting event for the whole family. On Tuesday, August 2nd, from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30, the community can come meet the first responders who keep us all safe. Hosted by the Key West Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, there will be events at Bayview Park in Key West, Aviation Hangar in Marathon, Founder’s Park in Islamorada, and at the Key Largo Community Park.
Kids especially enjoy seeing the array of equipment – from fire trucks and bomb robots to dogs and horses. Our military partners and other law enforcement agencies will also be on hand, and there will be food and beverages!
This national annual event is aimed at increasing awareness about our work in the community. There will be boats, special teams and more at this great family event. There will be an exciting array of displays and equipment used by the police, firefighters, and our military partners. In addition, there will be music and the kids will love the animals from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Farm!
The Bayview Park National Night Out is a convenient location for residents of all ages to come see what we do and meet your local first responders. It dovetails with events held across the nation, including those hosted by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in the Upper and Middle Keys.
In the photo: Sheriff Rick Ramsay and Police Chief Sean Brandenburg invite the community to visit one of four National Night Out locations.
The College of the Florida Keys (CFK) celebrated the graduation of Basic Law Enforcement 9BLE) Academy #80 with a ceremony on June 24 at Coral Shores High School. Twelve cadets successfully completed the 770-hour training program. Upon passing the state certification exam, each will be eligible to become a Florida Law Enforcement Officer.
CFK President Dr. Jonathan Gueverra recognized top performing graduates with special accolades. Class Captain Mary Ann Matthews earned awards for leadership and physical fitness. Gilbert Bobo also received a physical fitness award. The “PIG” award, which recognizes pride, integrity, and guts, went to Eric Hunsberger. Tiffany Rodda earned the academic achievement award and “Top Gun” honors for superior shooting skills. Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay swore-in Matthews and Rodda as well as Oscar Espinoza and Christian Cortes as Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
CFK’s law enforcement officer program satisfies the training requirements of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission. CFK is currently accepting applications for two upcoming basic law enforcement academies. One will be held at the Key West Campus and the other at the Upper Keys Center in Key Largo. Both academies are part-time evening programs, running Monday through Friday, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., starting in August and ending in June 2023. Applications are due on July 29. For more information about CFK’s Institute for Public Safety, visit the College’s website at https://www.cfk.edu/academics/academic-departments/institute-for-public-safety/.
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.
Monroe County Recognizes Sherriff Rick Ramsay for Partnerships that Protect the Community
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.”
Submit Your Stories
Chamber members send us your press releases on your organizations accomplishments, staff awards and/or major happenings. We will post them for free.