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DIVERSITY IN LAW ENFORCEMENT
Diversity in Law Enforcement
In the national news, we’ve been inundated with videos of aggressive use of force by police officers. Here in the Keys, we benefit from officers getting to know residents through community policing efforts and free community events like National Night Out. Citizens Crime Watch programs in neighborhoods also helps with sharing information with law enforcement.
Still, our officers have their hands full especially with illegal passing on U.S. 1, drug dealers, theft, harming endangered wildlife, and illegal fish and crustacean catches.
Longtime Captain Corey Bryan retired as Islamorada's top cop in December 2020, and now we have Captain Derek Paul, above, who grew up in Marathon and joined the sheriff's office after graduating Marathon High and the policy academy. He was honored as the county's top corrections officer in 2000.
Given law enforcement on the national scene, it was worth exploring how diverse our sheriff's office is, as well as the Keys largest municipality's force, Key West. We can’t get specific Islamorada numbers because the village contracts with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, according to our village clerk. But, here is how the Keys stack in terms of diversity on the force.
MCSO Director of Media Relations Adam Linhardt shared a chart (see below) showing that of the 556 officers, MCSO has:
57 male African American officers: 7 in law enforcement, 41 in corrections, and 9 civilian
74 Hispanic male officers: 39 in law enforcement, 18 in corrections and 17 civilian
192 white male officers: 116 in law enforcement, 32 in corrections and 44 civilian
2 Asian male officers: 1 in law enforcement, 1 civilian
2 American Indian/Alaskan Native male officers: 1 in law enforcement, 1 civilian
53 African American Female officers;1 law enforcement, 21 in corrections and 31 civilian
52 Hispanic Female officers: 14 law enforcement, 21 in corrections and 30 civilian
124 white female officers: 23 law enforcement, 14 in corrections and 87 civilian.
Non-sworn, civilian employees do not carry firearms as part of their employment. Civilians may work in departments such as record-keeping, human resources, information systems, warrant division and the like.
City of Key West
The City of Key West currently has one Black detective and one Black records supervisor. “We have had more in the past, including a Black female officer, but they’ve moved on,” said Alyson Crean, public information officer for the Key West Police Department. “Of the 84 officers we have currently working (there are several openings), 12 are women. On a personal level, in my 13 years with the department, I’ve seen probably seven Black officers come and go.”
“We’ve worked very hard to try and be more diverse, actively reaching out to the community through churches and schools and reaching out through monthly meetings in District 6, which is Bahama Village. (The monthly meetings went on hold due to Covid.)”
“On the other hand, diversity can be seen in several other aspects. For instance, we have about 20 Latinx officers, a South African officer, and one from the Eastern Block. We also have a fair number of gay and lesbian officers, though that’s not something appropriate to put a number on. Our former police chief, who retired after 20 years with the department, was openly gay.”
In Islamorada's 2020-2021 contract with the MCSO, taxpayers pay $2,080,000 for 16 personnel. We also pay an administrative assistant in law enforcement budget, as a village employee. Our total cost for law enforcement is $2,228,200.
Want to enhance your relationship with our officers? Consider participating in National Night Out, set for Tuesday, August 3. It is basically a free outdoor picnic with the opportunity to get to know fire and EMT personnel as well as officers from federal, county and local enforcement agencies held throughout the Keys.
Major Corey Bryan, at left, retired in December 2020 after working as a detective in the Keys and working his way up. He was thanked and honored at a council meeting by Sheriff Rick Ramsay and the community at large.