Five seek Sheriff
Voters will pick one Republican, one Democrat

By Steve Estes

Sheriff Bob Peryam has decided that this tour will be his last at the helm of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, leaving the office after one term, and to a wide-open field looking to be the next top cop.

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday to narrow the field of five down to just two. Three Republican candidates and two Democratic candidates have been on the stump for several months, knocking on doors and appearing at various candidate forums.


Matt Koval

Currently a Deputy in the Upper Keys, Koval says he wants the job to make the department more accessible to county residents than it has been in the past.

Koval is 52 and has been working for the MCSO for 23 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and has served as a field training officer and supervisor during his tenure here. He has been awarded the Sheriff’s Medal and boasts 61 commendations on his record.

Should he win the job, Koval says he wishes to:

Improve procedures in the dispatch center; improve procedures for responding to medical emergency calls; stand up an active marine unit; stand up an active K-9 unit and improve the supervisor to deputy ratio.

Koval says he will add satellite offices and extend customer service hours to make the department more accessible to residents and visitors.

He also says he wants to ensure that all crimes are investigated by trained detectives and increase detective shifts so that they are available every day of the week.

Tom Peteck

Peteck recently retired from the MCSO, shortly after he filed for the job. He has been a deputy for 24 years, serving in dispatch, patrol, marine unit, as school resource officer, process server, road patrol and community policing officer.

Should he win the job, Peteck wishes to:

Initiate a community policing program that will bring officers closer to the residents they serve “I want people to know the name of the deputy responding to their call.” He also wants to utilize the experience of sworn officers currently in administrative positions for training of newer personnel on the force.

Peteck also says he will start a training academy in the Keys “to teach people to do some of the things we do best” using federal and state grants. He wants to target reckless and aggressive drivers to make the only highway safer for motorists.

He also promises to implement a fully staffed and funded marine unit and utilize local vendors for department purchases whenever possible. “The money from our taxpayers should stay with our taxpayers.”

Peteck has also been heavily involved in local civic activities as a long-time former member of the Big Pine and Lower Keys Rotary Club and as cofounder of the long-running Old Wooden Bridge Kids Fishing Tournament held yearly on Big Pine Key.


Jake Brady

Brady has been with the MCSO since 1989, serving almost all of that time in the Marathon sector as patrol deputy, field training officer, supervisor and training supervisor. He has been awarded the Sheriff’s Medal twice.

Should he win the job, Brady wishes to:

Be an agent for change in the MCSO by allowing officers more access to supervisors to promote good ideas and bring fiscal responsibility back to the office.

Brady says he will work toward equalizing pay structures throughout the ranks and look into consolidating services with other county agencies to cut costs for the taxpayer.

He wants to save fuel costs by instituting bicycle and foot patrols in high-traffic residential and commercial areas and create a deputy pool that encourages non-sworn offices to take the training needed to fill the ranks when more experienced officers retire or move on.

He says that the agency needs more funding and support at the grass roots level, and less cronyism for administrative jobs that take seasoned officers off the streets.

He says he will return morale to higher levels with his pay plans and promotion access plans.

Bill Grove

Grove spent several years with the Miccosukee Indian Police Force as a road patrol deputy, crime scene investigator, sniper, training officer and detective. He also served in corrections in Miami-Dade County before accepting a job with the NCSO in 2005.

Grove was a road patrol officer and narcotics officer in the Islamorada sector for three years before transferring back to road patrol in Key Largo for two years. In 2012, he took the job as an investigator for the Monroe County State Attorney, a job he holds today.

Should he win the job, Grove wishes to:

Increase retention, and thereby morale, in the MCSO by implementing internal promotion programs that give officers something to strive for and make them less apt to leave after a few years with training paid for by county taxpayers.

He says he will full fund a marine unit in the Upper and Lower Keys, utilizing the vessels the department already owns, and will replace the school resource officers from the department’s budget that are now being funded by the schools, depriving the classrooms of funds for supplies.

He promises to consolidate administrative positions and do away with redundancies so that more money can be saved for the taxpayer and go toward the officers on the street to raise morale and improve service to the residents.

He says he wants to make MCSO the premier law enforcement agency in the state.

Rick Ramsay

Ramsay has been with MCSO for 25 years, advancing through the ranks from road patrol to traffic unit sergeant to road patrol supervisor. He served as detective sergeant in the narcotics unit and was promoted to Lieutenant in the Special Operations Division in 2000, in charge of all investigative divisions.

He has served on numerous boards and agencies while part of the MCSO, including United Way, Florida Keys Children’s Shelter, MARC House and the Guidance Clinic of the Middle Keys.

In 2001, Ramsay was promoted to Captain and took over the command of the MCSO’s main detention facility on Stock Island and then as Captain of the Lower Keys district.

In 2003, Ramsay was promoted to a newly-created rank of Lt. Colonel and then in 2004 was promoted to Colonel and named Undersheriff where he has been second-in-command for two tops cops, Rick Roth and Peryam.

Ramsay says he will continue to use his experience, knowledge and training to improve the department, as he has during his eight years as second-in-command.

On the campaign trail Ramsay has largely insisted that the MCSO is a top-notch unit and that very little in the way of changes is needed to make it more so in the coming years.

The winners of the August 14 primary on both the Republican and Democratic side will continue down the campaign trail until the November general election when voters will decide the next top cop for the next four years, at least.

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