During the May Siesta Key Association (SKA) meeting, Lt. Paul Cernansky, the past leader of the Sheriff’s Office substation on the Key, introduced the new supervisor, Sgt. Arik Smith.
Regular readers will recall that Cernansky officially was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant in April.
And just as one of his colleagues did for him when he was starting out as the new substation leader, Cernansky told the SKA audience on May 2, “I’ll still take the questions today, so [Smith] can see what that’s like,” eliciting laughter from some of the approximately 60 attendees.
“Coming off the heels of spring break,” Cernansky said, he was able to report, “Everything went very well.”
And while officers thought spring break season was over, he continued, “New York private schools fooled us” the previous week.
As for actual crimes on the Key: Cernansky noted that the number of Part 1 offenses — those considered more serious — was down 10% in April compared to the March figure.
Eight fewer vehicle burglaries occurred in April, he said, adding that those crimes “are entirely preventable.”
Cernansky reminded the audience members of the need to lock vehicles, to prevent items from being stolen.
The Sheriff’s Office did record two auto thefts on the Key in April, he continued, but a suspect already had been identified in one case.
Six grand theft cases involving bicycles were reported, Cernansky said. A suspect also has been identified in connection with those, he noted.
When an audience member asked whether he had details about the bicycle thefts, Cernansky responded, “Many of [the bikes] were taken at night,” with some located near the locations from which they had been reported missing.
“My guess is that they were unlocked,” Cernansky added.
Then another audience member asked whether Cernansky believes home security systems can be beneficial to law enforcement officers in solving crimes.
“Many times,” Cernansky replied, adding that such systems also help deter criminals. Video taken by home security systems can be used to identify suspects, he pointed out.
Another audience member — a woman — asked if it is legal to solicit door-to-door on the island.
A person must obtain a county permit to do so, Cernansky explained, and the solicitation proposal must meet certain criteria for such a permit to be issued. Each application is evaluated on its own merits, he said.
Any person with a question about someone soliciting on the island can call the Sheriff’s Office, he told the woman.
When someone else in the audience asked whether the questioner had encountered a problem, she explained that two woman recently had come to her door, inquiring whether anyone in the household would be interested in participating in Bible study.
When Cernansky asked whether the women mentioned charging for the gatherings, the audience member told him she did not ask them, because she had no interest in participating.
Then another man asked whether a regular user of a recumbent bicycle on the Key should have a flag on the rear of the vehicle, to improve the rider’s visibility to drivers of motor vehicles.
“He’s not legally obligated [to do so],” Cernansky replied.
Making the promotion official
On April 18, the Sheriff’s Office officially announced Sgt. Paul Cernansky’s promotion to lieutenant, noting that he has been assigned to the department’s Law Enforcement Division.
Cernansky joined the Sheriff’s Office in 2004, after he obtained his certification, and was assigned to the Patrol Bureau, a news release pointed out. In 2014, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred from Patrol to the Tactical Unit, the release said.
After graduating from the FBI-LEEDA’s 286th Supervisor Leadership Institute in 2017, Cernansky transferred to Special Operations, overseeing the Siesta Key and Mounted Patrol Units, the release continued. He has taken several advanced courses, including those on narcotics and dangerous drug detection, surveillance techniques, Taser instruction, defensive tactics instruction, and sex crimes investigations, the release said.
Cernansky earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Central Florida, the release added.
Siesta Sand wishes Lt. Paul Cernansky the best.