Sheriff Rick Ramsay announced changes at command levels in the Upper, Middle and Lower Keys Thursday as the Sheriff’s Office agency says farewell to some long-standing members due to retirement and welcomes new members up the chain of command.
“I am saddened to say goodbye to some of the hardest working law enforcement officers a Sheriff could ask for,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “But, at the same time, it’s always exciting to see those with that same commitment be rewarded for their hard work and rise up through the ranks. So, these announcements are bittersweet for many of us within the agency. I offer my sincere gratitude to those entering retirement and an equally loud congratulations to those moving up.”
The following members will be promoted by Sheriff Ramsay on Nov. 16. Those retiring will do so at various dates in weeks ahead.
- Lower Keys Commander Capt. Donnie Catala is retiring after decades of service to Monroe County. The native Key Wester has been with the Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years. He has served a litany of roles while with the Sheriff’s Office, including key roles as a Lower Keys general crimes Detective and then Sergeant over that unit as well as on the Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team.
- Executive Director Patricia Thompson will move in as the new Lower Keys Commanding Officer. Executive Director Thompson, who formerly supervised detectives with the Special Operation Unit and Major Crimes Division and as such oversaw the most important counter-narcotics and serious crimes investigations in the Keys. Thompson has a law enforcement career spanning decades, including her time as a Special Agent with the FBI. Before retiring from the FBI, Thompson worked some of the biggest criminal federal cases in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Thompson retired from the FBI and later joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2018.
- Major Crimes Unit Detective Vince Weiner will move in as the new Director of the Special Operations Unit and Major Crimes Division. Detective Vince Weiner spent decades with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, many of those years as a supervisor in Monroe County, investigating serious crimes at the state level. Weiner resigned from the FDLE as a Regional Agent in Charge. He then came on board at the Sheriff’s Office in 2012 as a road patrol Deputy and eventually became a Major Crimes Detective. He also served as School Resources Officer at Sugarloaf School, before going back to the Major Crimes Unit where he solved two longstanding cold murder cases.
- Islamorada Commander Capt. Corey Bryan and his wife, Records Assistant Peggy Bryan, will both soon be retiring after more than 30 years of service each with the Sheriff’s Office. Corey Bryan has been an active member of the Islamorada community as a member of the Upper Keys Rotary Club. The couple were usually spotted leading parades and public events at Founders Park. He took a leading role working with the Village on everything from school safety to traffic concerns on the Old Highway to activity in the Indian Key Fills. The Bryan’s have a son, Lt. Spenser Bryan, who continues to work for the Sheriff’s Office.
- Middle Keys Lt. Derek Paul is heading to the Village of Islamorada where he will serve as the new Captain or commanding officer. Paul is a Marathon native and a 23-year member of the Sheriff’s Office who started work in the Bureau of Corrections at the main jail on Stock Island, before moving over to road patrol. He’s also served in the Upper Keys while on road patrol and it was there when he was last promoted before he returned to his home community.
- Soon-to-be promoted to Lieutenant as second-in-command in the Middle Keys, Sgt. Mark Jones, will take Paul’s spot in the Middle Keys. Jones was born on mainland Florida and has 32 years of law enforcement experience, including time with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. Jones worked as an undercover officer and also worked with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force, where he participated in some of the most notable drug interdictions in the Keys.
- Middle Keys Detective Leon Bourcier will be promoted to Sergeant and fill Jones’ role in Middle Keys Road Patrol. Bourcier has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2008 and has worked in Marathon in Road Patrol and as a general crimes Detective. He has worked as a Detective since 2016.