Tag Archives: delray beach police

Communication is the Best Defense in the Fight Against Bullying

By Detective Daniella Quinn


It has to be a very painful and scary thing for parents to learn that their child is being bullied. As parents, you may find yourself pondering the tough question: Do I intervene on behalf of my children or hold back and let them work out the problem themselves?

DBT Bullying 1At times, it wasn’t until after the fact that parents learned their children were being bullied. And I think that’s probably true more often than not —  kids go through these things and never tell their parents.

One in 10 teens tells parents if they have been a cyber bully victim. Less than one in five cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement.

Bullying is a repeated and hurtful act of someone intimidating or hurting another person.  This behavior includes taunting, teasing, spreading rumors, social exclusion, hitting or pushing, taking or breaking another’s property. Cyber bullying is online harassment to include sending mean texts, emails or instant messages, posting nasty pictures or messages about someone else.

In this fight against bullying and cyber bullying, communication is key. Parents should:

  • Talk to your children and explain to them what bullying is and that it is unacceptable
  • Teach your children about how to resolve conflicts peacefully and accepting everyone’s differences
  • Always keep open communication with your children; know their friends and most of all know their concerns
  • Encourage your children to not be afraid and report, to any trusted adult, any bullying that occurs to them or even if they see it occurring to someone else.  Let’s get the children to begin to speak up for one another and help their peers
  • Ask questions daily about what your children are doing in school; monitor their Internet and cell phone activity, set rules and guidelines for its use.  As a parent of a child using social media, educate yourself about the Internet and its various forms of communication and use parental controls.  Importantly, take the time to look at the social media conversations, the pictures/videos on your child’s profile page and make sure your children are aware of the consequences of any negative posts or comments.

There are, of course, a million forms of bullying, and sometimes the worst thing adults can do is look the other way. We’ve seen the worst cases where teenagers have used social media in horrible ways that has resulted in their peers committing suicide.

Though bullying is as old as classrooms, it is only in recently that states have moved to address this issue with legislation. Previously, this was simply the domain of schools. In 1999, only Georgia had an anti-bullying law. Today, every state except Montana does. In the past 14 years, states have enacted nearly 130 anti-bullying measures, half of them since 2008.

Spurred partly by the Columbine shootings in 1999, when it was reportedly that the suspects had been bullied, states began rapidly addressing bullying, according to a 2011 U.S. Department of Education report. Victims in 18 states now have legal recourse either from schools that fail to address the issue or from the bullies themselves.

The hopeful news is that in my lifetime, schools and law enforcement have become much more aware of the dangers of bullying and the need to be proactive. The bad news is it is still not enough.

Remember that bullying is not only wrong; it’s a crime and should be reported right away. Now is the time to stand up against bullying. Let’s continue to work together to keep the children in our community safe.





Suspect Sought in Fraudulent Use of Credit Card

By CRA News Service

DELRAY BEACH – Authorities are seeking the public’s help to apprehend a man who they said used a stolen credit card at three different locations in Delray Beach on Sunday, Oct. 6.

The suspect spent more than $450 at Publix, Winn Dixie and Office Depot. The victim, who lives in another county, did not realize her credit card number was used as she is still in possession of the actual credit card. Anyone with information about the suspect pictured or any information about the incident is asked to contact Detective Kiley Boland at 561-243-6209.

Police: 2 Teens Stole Handgun From Locked Cruiser

 DELRAY BEACH – Two teenagers are behind bars after they allegedly broke into a police officer’s cruiser and stole his department-issued handgun, which was left under the seat, police said.

One of the teens, 17, used a pry tool to open the door while his 16-year-old accomplice stood watch, police said. The suspects, charged as juveniles, are not being named because of their ages. However, detectives will push to have them tried as adults.

The officer remains on duty while his agency reviews the incident. Department policy requires that any gun left inside a police car is locked up or mounted.

The suspects fired rounds from the gun and at least one said he wanted to kill an officer, police said. Another told officers that he was a member of a gang.

Community Opens up Freely at Mental Health Forum

By Jason Schwartz

DELRAY BEACH – An intimate gathering of individuals including area mental health clinicians, school counselors and law enforcement officials joined members of the community on Saturday to start the conversation on behavioral and mental health.

Starting promptly at 10 a.m. at Atlantic Community High School, the session, “Let’s Talk Delray Beach,” opened with a clip from the Oscar Award-winning film, “Silver Linings Playbook,” a romantic comedy. At the dinner table the two main characters, who suffer with mental health illness, openly discuss numerous medications they’ve taken and how it affected them. The dinner hosts, family members, become very uncomfortable with the discourse.

Moderator Toni Marshall of CRA Media Group decided to start off “Let’s Talk Delray Beach” with this clip as an icebreaker and also to start the conversation.

“How many of us have access to these medications, know how or where to get them or even know what they are?” she asked.

The immediate panel included Delray Beach Police Captain Michael Coleman and Clinical Behaviorist Clay Robinson.  Marshall gave an anecdotal account of how self-medicating is more than likely the prescription in economically depressed communities.

C. Ron Allen, president of CRA Media Group, presented an overview, which included statistics, myths and fears and recent mental-health-related violent incidents.

He also presented information on a range of possible actions to establish or improve prevention of mental illnesses, promotion of mental health, public education and awareness, early identification, treatment, crisis response, and recovery supports available in their communities.

“These community conversations will certainly encourage innovation and creativity to meet the concerns of our city and ensure that all perspectives are heard and respected,” Allen said. “After all, we all have a stake in the outcomes.”

The most impressive part of this forum was how everyone just talked freely. A representative from the South County Mental Health chimed in as well as representative from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Shari Kaplan, a Boca Raton psychologist who founded Can’t Tell Foundation -a nonprofit organization, which aims to help bullying victims cope and eventually overcome – their pain – added some insight as to how children and young adults are mislabeled.

Everyday citizens asked questions about how to handle loved ones with behavior issues. Members of the school community inquired about ways to work with children with behavior issues and even asked about bullying.

Community members learned about the role of law enforcement, when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill.  The session lasted the full two hours, with participants taking part in an informal verbal survey.

“Mental health issues in our communities—particularly for our youth—are complex and challenging; but, by coming together and increasing our understanding and raising awareness, we can make a difference,” Coleman said.


Mothers Making a Difference

By Fred Hamilton

When Rachel VanNess talks about her dogs, rabbits and “her kids” one can hear, in her voice, the passion and pride she has for them.

What they don’t know is that she never gave birth to Emmanuel or Prenell.

“They’re all my kids,” said VanNess, a Delray Beach police officer who has rescued some of the animals and has been mentoring the two young men for several years.

DBT Mothers Day8“It just makes me happy,” she said of her penchant for helping others. “It may sound corny but that’s what I was supposed to do.”

The Boca Raton resident’s passion for giving of herself unselfishly to improve the lives of area youth, resulted in her being recognized recently as one of KOP’s 2013 Mothers of the Year. Four other women shared the honor.

The other honorees were:

– Athalone H. Brailford, a retired educator who was one of the founders of Operation Save the Children. The program, which morphed into the Knights of Pythagoras Mentoring Network nine years ago, was one of the earlier tutoring programs in south Palm Beach County. Brailford and a handful of other black teachers tutored children in math and reading at Pompey Park on Saturday mornings for more than 30 years.

-Vera Rolle Farrington founded the Spady Cultural Museum in Delray Beach after more than 30 years as an educator in the school system. She continues to educate youth about the history of African Americans in Delray Beach and Palm Beach County.

– Cathy DeMatto parlayed her professional expertise in marketing and development to assist disadvantaged children in the greater community. Her commitment to help youth causes is evidenced by the number of organizations with which she has been affiliated. Among them are  the Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County, the Caridad Center, the Milagro Center, Delray Beach Police Advisory board, the Spirit of Giving Network, Kids in Distress, Zonta International, and  the City of Delray Beach Education board. She has chaired the city’s “Principal for a Day” program for five years.

– Janet Meeks, whose name is synonymous with youth, education and children– at least in Delray Beach. She was one of the founders of the Plumosa School of the Arts Foundation, she served on the Chamber’s Education foundation and was an adult mentor for the city’s Youth Council. She was a board member of the Boys and Girls Club, a mentor for Take Stock in Children and she has championed many educational programs such as the Mayors’ literacy initiative, Principal for a Day, and the Delray Beach Pop Up Book. Meeks continues to promote the importance of education in the community.

A panel of past honorees selected the five women from a list of 13 nominees, organizers said.

The organization, formerly the Knights of Pythagoras Mentoring Network, honored the women at a picnic on May 11 at Lake Ida Park. Each received a personalized embroidered towel, a rose and proclamations from the City of Delray Beach and Palm Beach County.

“Officer Rachel has devoted so much of her career in this city to helping kids in the city,” Chris Pierre Louis, president of the Atlantic All Stars Leadership Academy, a mentoring program at Atlantic High School, told the attendees. “She and her husband gave their money, time and love unconditionally to improve our lives.”

When VanNess is not on patrol downtown, she can be found meeting with representatives from community groups to plan an event or drafting a performance improvement plan to help a child excel in school, Pierre Louis said. She has recruited local business people to help tutor students at Village Academy or help them with homework.

“She is a kid at heart,” said Giovanni Martinez, vice president of the Atlantic All Stars. “She loves horses and it is not unusual to find her taking a group of us to one of the horse stables in west Delray.”

VanNess exposes them to a life outside the city limits, the boys said. She has taken them kayaking and canoeing at Jonathan Dickenson State Park in Jupiter.

“And this is above and beyond her regular job as a police officer,” Martinez said. “In the truest sense, she is an example of community policing.”

VanNess often downplays her role. She used the story of the starfish as a model.

A boy was walking along a beach when he saw hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand because they were washed up in the tide, she said.

A man, stuck by the apparent futility of the task, told the boy, ‘You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.’ VanNess added.

“And then the boy looked at him, stooped down and picked up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, ‘It sure made a difference to that one!’” she said. “That’s me. If I can save one person every week, I can make a difference in this city.”

Suspect Sought in Armed Robbery at Psychic Center

An armed man, walked into a Psychic Center recently, forced three women and an autistic child at gunpoint to lie on the floor then robbed them, authorities said.

The robbery occurred on Feb. 5 in the 3300 block of Federal Hwy., police said.

The suspect is a light skinned white male, between 25 and 30 years old, between 6’1’’ to 6’03” in height, thin build, with blonde or brown colored hair, blue eyes and possibly left handed.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.

Woman Killed while Crossing Congress Avenue

A 65-year-old woman who was struck and killed as she walked across a busy street Thursday evening, police said.

The crash occurred shortly before 6:45 p.m. as Marie Yvonne Dorelien was crossing Congress Avenue, north of Linton Boulevard. She was walking east toward Linton Square Plaza, said Delray police spokeswoman Sgt. Nicole Guerriero. Dorelien, who not using a crosswalk, was taken to Delray Medical Center where she later died.

The driver of the 1993 gray Chevrolet Camaro, who was not identified, was travelling south on Congress Avenue when his car struck Dorelien. The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact traffic homicide investigator Justin Reed at 561-243-7800.