Officers Knutson and Johnson were on foot patrol at Tigertail Beach. They observed one man fishing with a cast net in an aluminum vessel and another man propelling with a push pole. There was a blue cooler and a white cooler onshore. Both subjects came to shore and dumped fish out of a trash bag from the vessel into the blue cooler on the beach. They were observed for approximately ten more minutes. The officers approached and asked to check the coolers. During inspection, they found one undersized snook, one undersized sheepshead and a total of 58 mullet (8 over the bag limit). There were no fishing poles in their possession at the time. The subject was cited accordingly.
Officers Plussa and Knutson were conducting water patrol off Marco Island when they stopped a vessel that was violating a slow speed zone and conducted a safety inspection. They determined it was a rental vessel and that it was missing a sound signaling device and a properly serviceable fire extinguisher. After speaking with the operator about his rental experience, they determined that the rental facility did not properly give the operator pre-ride instructions on vessel controls nor did they review the safety equipment checklist. The officers proceeded to the rental facility for follow-up investigation. They determined the rental employee was not properly licensed to rent vessels, the livery did not possess the required insurance, and did not complete pre-ride instruction or inspection of the vessel’s safety gear prior to the rental. The employees were issued appropriate citations.
Officers Plussa and Knutson were conducting water patrol in state waters when they encountered a large cabin vessel displaying an expired registration decal. During the vessel inspection, a records check indicated the vessel’s title had been canceled and the registration had been expired for multiple years. The officers issued the owner two notice to appear citations for the violations.
Lieutenant Mahoney and Officers Plussa, Yurewitch, Knutson and Arbogast assisted the US Coast Guard, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and FEMA contractors in locating, raising, and removing dozens of vessels from waterways that were displaced due to Hurricane Irma. Officers are in the process of identifying and notifying vessel owners of their condition and the requirement to claim them within 30 days.
Officer Arbogast was conducting vessel inspections from his marked patrol vehicle at a local boat ramp. The operator of a docking vessel exited the vessel and staggered to his vehicle. The subject drove his vehicle to the ramp and then backed his trailer into the water. The driver’s eyes were extremely bloodshot and glassy, his speech was consistently and extremely slurred, the odor of alcohol was emanating from his breath during conversation and there were many empty alcohol containers in the vessel. The operator consented to seated field sobriety tasks which he performed poorly. Officer Plussa arrived on scene to assist. Post SFSTs, Officer Arbogast placed the operator under arrest for BUI and DUI. Officer Plussa transported the operator to jail where he also administered implied consent. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was charged accordingly.
Officer Plussa was contacted by a concerned citizen about a possible gopher tortoise incident in Marco Island. Officer Arbogast was dispatched to the location to investigate possible destruction of their burrows. Officer Arbogast determined there were no violations. Officer Plussa was later contacted by a different citizen about the same incident. Officer Plussa and Arbogast spoke with biologists, City of Marco Island environmental specialists, and concerned citizens about the incident and the action taken.
Officers Oldsen, Araujo and Yurewitch were conducting panther zone speed enforcement on US-41. After a few stops, the officers encountered a driver and passenger with several open containers of alcohol in the vehicle. Both occupants were showing signs of impairment. The driver was asked to participate in standardized field sobriety tasks to which she consented. The completion of the tasks further strengthened the officer’s belief that the driver was under the influence of alcohol to the extent that her normal faculties were impaired. Officer Oldsen subsequently arrested the driver for DUI.
Officer Yurewitch was on land based water patrol when he observed multiple persons fishing the Marco River under the Jolley Bridge. Officer Yurewitch observed a fish on the ground near two individuals and he proceeded to conduct a fishing license inspection and resource check. The fish was found to be an undersized snook measuring 25.5 inches. During the same stop, Officer Yurewitch found and then arrested an individual that had an active extraditable felony warrant outside of Collier County. During his patrol, Officer Yurewitch also cited and warned other individuals for fishing license violations.
Lieutenant Shea and Officer Plussa responded to Collier-Seminole State Park to assist the park staff with a disruptive and unruly camper who was failing to follow campground rules. The subject’s campsite contained one large RV, three other vehicles, two tents, a large trailer, a golf cart and other recreational items. These items were encroaching on other campsites and there were numerous empty alcohol containers and trash strewn about. When park staff tried to explain the campground regulations to the subject, he became belligerent. Lieutenant Shea issued four warnings for state park rules violations. The following morning, Officer Plussa again responded to the same campground at the request of the park staff, due the subject’s failure to comply and causing a disturbance. Officer Plussa observed the subject pacing and yelling. Officer Thurkettle arrived to assist. As the officers spoke with him, they noticed the trash from the day before and that he was still in violation of numerous campground regulations. Officer Plussa asked him if he recalled the warnings from the day before. The subject provided them to the officer as well as the campground regulations provided by the park staff both days. Based on the subject’s blatant disregard, noncompliance, and escalating disruptive behavior, Officer Plussa trespassed the subject from the park for a period of one year and issued appropriate citations. Officers Thurkettle and Plussa escorted the subject out of the park advising him that if he returned, he would be arrested.
Officers Amuso and Plussa responded to a report of a distressed alligator walking down US-41 in Naples. The caller indicated it was trapped by the concrete wall, unable to return to the canal on the other side. The caller was unable to wait for the officers because he was on his way to work. Officer Plussa arrived on scene and observed a white van stopped on the side of the roadway. A male subject was seen obtaining something from the rear cargo area and walking towards the alligator. Upon seeing Officer Plussa, the subject quickly returned to his van and attempted to leave. Officer Plussa stopped and questioned the subject regarding his actions and interest in the alligator. The subject stated he was “interested” in the alligator and was taking pictures; however, he could not explain why he had opened the rear of his van to do so. Officer Plussa educated him on the law. Officer Amuso arrived and assisted Officer Plussa in removing the alligator from the road shoulder and releasing it into the canal.
Lieutenant Mahoney and Officer Plussa responded to a report of a 12 to14-foot python observed at a lake in Naples. Upon arrival, officers determined the species was an alligator. They confirmed with the caller that they were observing the same animal she had, and she agreed. Officers provided her educational resources and material for species identification. The caller’s children became fascinated with their patrol trucks and Officer Plussa used the opportunity as a very positive way to interact with the family and communicate the FWC mission.
Officer Plussa responded to a call of a black bear inside a caller’s home. Upon arrival, Officer Plussa met and spoke with the caller whom was relieved that the bear had already left. She stated that her garage was open and her laundry room door was cracked to release warm air. She stated that when her dog began barking and growling at the laundry room interior door, she opened it and the bear attempted to enter the home. The caller stated she yelled and shut the door on the bear, scaring it out of the house. She provided photos of the incident to the officer. Officer Plussa provided her with education on the matter and referred the incident to the local bear biologist.