The ceremony took place at the Sheriff’s Hangar in Marathon as a health precaution.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay used the annual command staff strategy meeting to officially promote six senior officers within the organization. Capt. Patty Thompson will take over command of the Lower Keys Substation, with Tom Walker as her lieutenant. Major Crimes Unit Detective Vince Weiner will move in as the new director of the Special Operations Unit and Major Crimes Division. Middle Keys Lt. Derek Paul is heading to the Village of Islamorada where he will serve as the new captain or commanding officer. Sgt. Mark Jones was promoted to lieutenant as second-in-command in the Middle Keys to take Paul’s spot. Finally, Middle Keys Detective Leon Bourcier will be promoted to sergeant and fill Jones’ role in Middle Keys road patrol. 

Ramsay had praise for each and every one. Both Weiner’s and Walker’s promotions came as a surprise to many, including the recipients.  

“It was the longest walk of my life headed down the hall to the sheriff’s office. I was trying to remember what I could possibly be in trouble over,” Walker said. 

After the ceremony, where family and friends pinned the newly promoted, staff sneaked in a surprise birthday celebration for Sheriff Ramsay, who turned 55.

The ceremony was followed with the command staff meeting attended by law enforcement partners.

“We are really pushing that partnership,” Ramsay said. “We want to be the biggest gang on the block to combat crime. So we invited our partners to learn about what our priorities are this year, so we can have better coordination among the agencies.” 

Besides the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Fish and Wildlife organizations, there was local representation from agencies such as the FBI, DEA and CIA.

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