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Deputies are conducting saturated patrols in the area of South Holiday Road and Scenic Gulf Drive in Miramar Beach.  Around 10 pm this evening, a white male jumped out of the bushes wearing a green thong, flip flops, a ball cap and a sweatshirt, approached a group of females who are in their late teens and assaulted two of them.  The male is described to be in his late forties.  If anyone knows this individual, we are asking them to call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 850.892.8111 or anonymously at emeraldcoastcrimestoppers.com or 863.TIPS.

 

 

 

While patrolling west bound on Scenic Gulf Drive on March 11, Deputy Tommy Thillet noticed a maroon GMC Terrain east bound where the driver was not wearing his safety belt.  A female passenger was also seen by Deputy Thillet sitting on a male passenger's lap in the single person front passenger seat. A traffic stop was conducted and a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage was detected coming from the vehicle.  The driver of the vehicle was asked for his license, registration and insurance.  Deputy Thillet asked if anyone in the vehicle was over the legal drinking age of 21 and all the occupants advised they were under 21 years of age.  Upon observing the occupants of the vehicle, Deputy Thillet noticed they were attempting to conceal bottles of alcohol.  At that time, he asked all of them to exit the vehicle.  Taylor Medeiros, 19, Olivia Hosey, 19, both of Mobile, AL and Tristan Campbell, 18, of Jackson, MS, were placed under arrest for minor in possession of alcohol. 

 

The driver, John Robert Franklin, 19, of Mobile, AL, gave consent to Deputy Thillet to search a bag that was found in the vehicle.  During the search a set of throwing knives, a digital scale, a small empty plastic baggy and a small bag containing a white powdery substance (that tested positive for cocaine) that was tied in a knot at the top was found. Franklin was advised of his Constitutional Rights, agreed to speak with law enforcement and upon questioning he advised the bag was his.  While speaking with deputies, Franklin admitted to purchasing $150.00 worth of cocaine while in town for spring break.  He also told deputies that there was a container underneath the front seat that contained a marijuana pipe and grinder.  A black glass smoking device with what appeared to be burnt marijuana residue, a cigar cutter, along with numerous pills were also found in the bag. 

 

Franklin was placed under arrest and charged with cocaine possession, two counts of drug possession, four counts for possession of narcotic equipment and minor in possession of alcohol.  All four were transported to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Jail.

 

“We emphasize to our deputies that communication is more effective than anything on their gun belt”

-Sheriff Mike Adkinson

 

On a daily basis, law enforcement officers are expected to make split second decisions to enforce the law, protect the public and bring suspects to justice.  A Use of Force Report is a tool most law enforcement agencies use to capture data such as type of force used in an incident, whether it was deadly or less-lethal and injuries sustained whether by the deputy, suspect or a victim.  Annually, the WCSO reviews all incidents involving use of force.  In 2014, over 3,700 arrests were reviewed, along with 106 incidents involving use of force.  Force was only used against 1 % of individuals while effecting an arrest in 2014.  Force used against individuals already incarcerated at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Jail accounts for the other 1.6%.

 

All use of force incidents were justified within agency guidelines and in accordance with Florida State Statutes.  A contributing factor to the low percentage is strong policies that are in place to provide guidance to deputies in making force decisions and continuous training. Training, as well as interpersonal skills, plays a very critical role as it has the effect to deescalate a tense situation and reduce injury to all persons involved.  At all times, deputies must be appropriate in their actions but must act quickly as the reaction time can become a critical, life-saving factor, in a fast evolving use of force confrontation. 

 

A 19 year old was arrested on Tuesday, March 10, for possession of marijuana and giving law enforcement identification that belonged to his 22 year old brother.  While deputies were on scene investigating a reported theft at 9300 W US Highway 98, Miramar Beach, Omotoyosi Sanni, 19, of Oxford, GA, fit the description of a possible suspect involved in the theft.  A deputy made contact with Sanni and asked for his identification.  Sanni reached into his pocket and when he pulled out his identification card, a wadded up $20 bill, cigarette lighter and a partially burnt marijuana cigarette fell out of his pocket.  Upon further investigation, Sanni pulled out a plastic Ziploc bag from his left jacket pocket, which contained several marijuana cigarettes.  Sanni was arrested and transported to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Jail.  While being processed at the jail, Sanni informed deputies that the identification card belonged to his brother. 

 

Sanni is charged with possession of marijuana not more than 20 grams, giving false identification by person lawfully detained, knowingly having in his possession an instrument in the similitude of an identification card for the purpose of indicating his true name and age and resisting officer without violence.

 

Two adult chaperones were arrested early this morning after a call came into dispatch regarding a noise complaint at a house party located at 100 Miami Street, Miramar Beach.  Three deputies arrived at the house and made multiple attempts to get someone to answer the front door but was unsuccessful due to the loud music.  Deputies observed through a window multiple juveniles with cans of beer and solo cups in their hands.   An adult was seen standing at the kitchen counter with approximately 20 teenagers drinking beer and liquor while more teenagers were seen in the back of the house drinking and jumping into the pool.  A juvenile was told by deputies to go inside the house to get an adult and contact was made with Pamela Carroll, 44, and Victoria Senn, 46, both of Madison, Mississippi.  Both admitted to renting the house for the week and were chaperoning the group.  All the juveniles on scene were under the age of 18 and as young as 15 and were released to their parents.  The rental property was contacted and all alcohol was destroyed. 

 

An hour before the noise complaint was received, a deputy working a traffic accident near the home at 100 Miami Street, heard the music and saw multiple juveniles around the house.  After the crash was released to FHP, contact was made with two adults at the home.  The deputy explained the county noise ordinance and warned the adults about having an open house party and underage drinking. 


 

Carroll and Senn were arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and booked into the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Jail. 

 

On March 8, 2015, a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office Beach Marine Unit was on foot patrol in the area of Seaside Central Square.  Two males were observed along the dunes of the beach weighing what appeared to be drugs on a small black scale.  The deputy identified himself as a law enforcement officer and both suspects ran.  One suspect was detained and was later identified as a Mississippi High School student on spring break.  A mason jar, full of marijuana, was seized along with $357.00 cash, which was found in the right front pocket of the suspect’s shorts. 

 

 

The suspect, Christian Lewis Brown, 18, of Hattiesburg, MS, was placed under arrest for possession with the intent to sell a controlled substance and possession of marijuana over 20 grams.  Brown was booked at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Jail.

 

As the fifth county in Florida to launch Text-to-911, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center will soon have the ability to provide 911 service, where people can text to alert communications officers the nature of their emergency and location. Citizens with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and SouthernLINC will have access to the new feature, but only text messages will be accepted at this time.  Sheriff Mike Adkinson stated “We want to leverage technology to provide the highest level of service available to our citizen’s and visitors.  Staying on the cutting edge of new and innovative ideas helps us better serve our stakeholders and ultimately this makes Walton County safer.”

 

Calling 911 is the preferred method as there could be a delay in the transmission.  Texting does require a lower signal strength however citizens need to keep in mind that Text-to-911 is currently only available in certain markets where 911 call centers, also known as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), have elected to accept emergency text messages from the public.  If citizens choose to text, remember to be brief, concise, but without abbreviations.  The service will be a benefit to those with speech or hearing impairment and for those who find themselves in a situation where text is the safest option.  

 

Walton County is very proud to offer this service to citizens and will be the first in the Florida Panhandle to do it. 


On three separate occasions, Matthew Legrant Kirchner, entered the Columbia Sportswear Company store located at 10746 West US Highway 98, with no merchandise but video surveillance revealed that Kirchner was collecting merchandise from within the store and bringing it to the counter to request a refund. Kirchner received approximately $497.28 worth of gift cards for merchandise he did not pay for. Photo identification was provided each time by Kirchner to prove his identity.
Kirchner, 34, of 450 S Geronimo Street, Miramar Beach is charged with three counts of larceny.

During an awards ceremony held this afternoon, Sheriff Michael Adkinson, Jr., recognized the following award winners.

 

Deputy Tammy Henderson was named Sworn Employee of the Year for 2014.  On February 26th, Deputy Henderson responded to a DeFuniak Springs home for a welfare check and found the resident to be in need of basic necessities such as food and telephone service.  Deputy Henderson was able to re-establish service with the telephone company and notified Adult Protective Services.  Deputy Henderson purchased food for the resident to get them by until Adult Protective Services could intervene.  She also purchased basic household necessities and food for his dog.  Lead Communications Officer, Rhonda Roberson, who relayed the welfare check to Deputy Henderson stated “This is an unselfish act Deputy Henderson took upon herself to help an elderly man and she can take special pride in knowing that her efforts positively affect the quality of life in Walton County.”  While on patrol, Deputy Henderson has made it a point to visit numerous times with the individual who is now receiving assistance from the Department of Children and Families.

 

 

Ryan McCormick was chosen as the 2014 Detention Deputy of the Year.  McCormick’s supervisor, Sergeant John Moring describes Detention Deputy McCormick as a “key member of the team and is respected among his peers.  His dedication to the jail knows no bounds and he has been instrumental in making sure the warrants division runs smoothly.  McCormick shows a true passion for what he does, is always open to new challenges and without fail, always displays a positive work ethic.”  McCormick is also a member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). 

 

 

Communications Officer Sharon Bryan was selected as the Non-Sworn Employee of the Year for 2014.  On October 30, 2014, Bryan answered a 911 call and heard a very faint “help me” over the phone.  Bryan utilized her positron equipment to get the address and relay the location to deputies and paramedics.  Hearing the caller gasp for breath, Bryan reassured the caller that help was on the way.  Bryan’s supervisor, Lead Communications Officer Monica Webster stated, “Sharon remained calm and showed compassion in continually giving reassurance that help was coming.  I believe, by Sharon staying on the phone during this time, she gave comfort to the caller and remained on the phone until paramedics were on scene assisting the patient.

 

 

 

 

The 2014 Volunteer of the Year award is going to two people, Don and Florence Allonge.  Both are dedicated members to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office Posse Unit and donate a significant amount of their time to help the citizens of Walton County.  Don and Florence volunteer in a large number of ways such as directing school traffic, escorting funerals, community events and help supplement non-essential patrol duties.  Posse Unit Supervisor, Deputy Harold Shover stated that “they have volunteered more than 4000 hours, saving tax payers thousands of dollars.  Both work 6 days a week and oversee the maintenance and equipment for the Posse vehicle fleet.  Their uniforms and appearance are above reproach and they set the standard for the Posse members to follow.  Given Don’s prior law enforcement experience, fellow Posse members look to him for guidance to resolve issues and get advice on assignments.  Florence also teaches other members of the unit computer skills.  Don and Florence show a true love in all that they do for the Sheriff’s Office and they are always personal and professional.”

A conversation with a store clerk has led to the arrest of a burglary suspect.  On the eve of February 6th or early morning hours of February 7th, 2015, patrol deputies responded to a car burglary involving a stolen iPod Touch, a Garmin GPS and two pairs of sunglasses.  The incident took place outside a home on Tradwinds Drive in Santa Rosa Beach.  In a separate incident, the breaking of a car window was reported to the Sheriff’s Office by the homeowners who lived next door.  A deputy who was conducting a neighborhood canvass stopped at the Exon Gas Station located off 30A West and Highway 98 and spoke with the store clerk to see if they were aware of any suspicious activity.  During the conversation, the store clerk mentioned that an individual was in the store between 1 am and 3 am on February 7th and that the individual stated he had stolen an iPod and GPS out of a vehicle and attempted to break a window out of a second vehicle.  The deputy got a witness statement from the clerk and video from the store security camera of the suspect showing the store clerk what appeared to be an iPod Touch.  All the information was turned over to Sheriff’s Office investigators who were able to get positive identification of the suspect through a photo lineup and witness statements.

 

 

 

Brandon Bautista, 18, of 52 Shelter Cove Drive, Santa Rosa Beach, is charged with burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, larceny and criminal mischief. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending.