On Friday, January 8, 2016 the Fort Myers Police Department honored several employees at a monthly award ceremony. FMPD strives every day to not only protect and serve the residents of the City of Fort Myers, but to make it a better place to live.
Detective Jesus Ramos, Officer Curtis Cates and Officer Robert Vega were selected Officers of the Month for December 2015. The officers were honored for their expeditious apprehension of a violent felon that posed an imminent public safety risk.
On December 8, 2015, officers responded to the Wal-Mart located at 4770 Colonial Boulevard in reference to a sexual Battery. Upon arrival, officers determined that the victim was savagely beaten and sexually battered for an extended period of time in the parking lot this establishment. The suspect, later identified as Joseph Kelley, attacked the victim as she walked along the north side of the Wal-Mart parking lot. This violent and heinous crime lasted over an hour, and only ceased when Wal-Mart employees approached the area.
Officer Cates and Officer Vega searched the area for the suspect. These officers located Joseph Kelley in a wooded area near the Caloosa Nature Center. The officers quickly detained Kelley. The rapid actions of these officers to locate and detain Kelley led to the preservation of valuable physical evidence that is integral to the criminal case against the suspect.
Detective Ramos was appointed as the Lead Investigator for this offense, and he conducted a thorough and meticulous investigation. In addition to interviewing key witnesses and collecting physical evidence, Detective Ramos coordinated with the State Attorney’s Office and Rape Crisis Center to strengthen the criminal case against Kelley and ensure that every component of the investigation was accounted for. Ultimately, Kelley was charged with attempted murder and forcible sexual battery.
Officer Joseph Vidal was selected Rib City Officer of the Month for December 2015. Officer Vidal was honored for his actions, compassion, and guidance which made all the difference in the world to a family during their time of need.
On December 17, 2015 Officer Bradley Ades was working the front desk when he received a phone call in reference to a family problem. Officer Ades requested the caller and his girlfriend come to the lobby of the police department to discuss the situation in person.
The caller responded to the lobby and advised Officer Ades he recently took in his girlfriend’s 24-year-old daughter into the residence, who is addicted to drugs to try and help her. Although the arrangement was temporary, he immediately started having problems with her due to her drug dependency. The daughter was terrorizing the household, and the family turned to the police on more than one occasion for assistance.
Officer Ades tried to remedy the problem and contacted Officer Vidal to assist him by visiting the family’s home. Officer Vidal later responded to the residence in order to assist the family. Officer Vidal spoke with the family first, then their daughter. Officer Vidal was able to find a solution to the problem that made the family very happy.
The family contacted Officer Ades to thank him for his assistance. The family advised they were overly impressed with Officer Vidal’s kindness, willingness to help, and his problem solving abilities. Officer Vidal took the time to see the call through its entirety and not just use the “quick fix” method.
K9 Officer Jeremy Hawkins was selected Mission BBQ Officer of the Month for December 2015. K9 Officer Hawkins was honored for his quick thinking and immediate response which resulted with the victim’s vehicle being recovered safely and within a short length of time.
On December 13, 2015 at approximately 9:10 p.m., K9 Officer Hawkins and Officer Ralph Louissant were just about to clear a call at the Sunterra Apartments, when they were flagged down by Justin Wagner advising that his vehicle had just been stolen from the Circle K located at 2634 Winkler Avenue. The victim described the vehicle as a 2000 gold Jeep Cherokee bearing Florida license plate #805RPW. The victim explained that he had left the keys in the vehicle at the gas pumps while he went into the business to pay. Upon returning, the vehicle was gone. Dispatch received the call at 9:15 p.m. and sent out a BOLO along with the description of the vehicle.
Officer Louissant gave the victim a ride back to the Circle K to review the video surveillance and begin the preliminary investigation. K9 Officer Hawkins also responded to the store and began conducting an investigation of his own. Through several investigative techniques K9 Officer Hawkins was able to ascertain the location of the stolen vehicle.
Officer Hawkins quickly disseminated the information to responding officers. Officers arrived on scene and located the vehicle parked in front of a convenience store located at 3485 Fowler Street. The two occupants were taken into custody without incident. Wilfredo Echevarria-Colon was arrested and charged with Grand Theft Auto and several drug possession charges. Anthony Brown was arrested and charged with Operating a Motor Vehicle without a License and several drug possession charges.
Acting Telecommunications Operator III Sheryl Louden has been selected as the Civilian of the Month for December 2015. Acting TCO3 Louden was recognized for remaining calm and performing exceptionally well during a very stressful burglary in progress call.
Acting TC03 Louden was working Channel 2 in the Communications Division and answered a 911 call from a female juvenile that was home alone. The juvenile whispered to Acting TCO3 Louden that an unknown person had entered her home by breaking out a rear window and that she was hiding in her bedroom closet. Acting TCO3 Louden could hear banging and other noises in the background, as well as the fear in the juvenile’s voice as she confirmed those noises were from the intruder, now in her home.
Acting TCO3 Louden remained calm and worked to keep the juvenile as calm and quiet as possible as she simultaneously arranged for units to switch over to Channel 2 so she could directly relay critical information to them as they responded. A review of the 911 call revealed a compassionate and caring telecommunications operator who emulated a motherly attitude and strength. Acting TCO3 Louden called the juvenile “honey” as she assured her that officers were on the way and arriving on scene. Acting TCO3 Louden praised the juvenile for being brave and told her she was doing great.
Units arrived at the home approximately four minutes after the call was received and surrounded the home. Acting TCO3 Louden coordinated the officers’ entry into the home and gave instructions to the juvenile on what she should do when the officers attempted contact with her. Acting TCO3 Louden kept the juvenile informed about the officers’ actions until they reached her, still hiding in her bedroom closet. Officers confirmed they had the child to TCO Louden, who was heard responding to the transmission with, “10-4, give her a hug for me.”
Please join us in congratulating our award recipients!
Lieutenant Victor Medico
Public Information Officer
Fort Myers Police Department
2210 Widman Way
Fort Myers, Florida 33901