Florida Keys

Former Key West cop arrested on charges of trespassing on school property

Dennis Ryan
Dennis Ryan

A former Key West police officer was arrested Thursday after police said he trespassed on school property, two years after he left the department rather than be fired for erratic behavior.

Dennis Edwin Ryan, 41, a former school resource officer, resigned on July 29, 2016, without giving notice. He left two days after Police Chief Donie Lee said he wanted him fired for bad behavior on a children’s field trip that included being high on methadone and driving over 95 mph.

Ryan now faces two misdemeanor charges of trespassing. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office wanted him on a warrant after saying he trespassed on school property on Big Pine Key.

On Thursday, a Key West officer saw Ryan at the school district’s Key West administrative offices on Trumbo Road and arrested him for trespassing. He was jailed without bond for one of the counts and is due in court for arraignment at 9 a.m. Nov. 29.

Ryan is listed as a “coach/trainer” in jail records. His Facebook page says he lives in Marathon but is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He describes himself as a “Basketball Coach/Trainer/Teacher/Former LEO/Aspiring Entrepreneur.”

Before he resigned, Ryan was found to have violated the Key West Police Department’s code of conduct on intoxicants and drugs, unbecoming conduct and performance standards for his behavior on a Police Athletic League field trip to Jacksonville for a basketball tournament on April 7, 2016.

During the trip, Ryan was to drive in front, leading a convoy of children, coaches and parents.

“Ryan was constantly getting lost on his way to the games and would drive over the median, make illegal U-turns and sometimes speed to the point that by the end of the weekend, the kids that were initially wanting to travel with him no longer desired to do so and were frightened,” according to the report on an internal police investigation.

Upon his return to Key West on April 11, Ryan was the focus of several complaints by parents, who said he acted as if he were on drugs or had a mental problem.

At the tournament, Ryan was sneaking in water although it wasn’t permitted, the report stated. He also used profanity in front of the children. At one point said, “I just want to kill them.” Witnesses said they believed he was referring to the coaches.

Ryan met with his superiors and appeared irritable with cotton mouth and had trouble staying still while he spoke rapidly, “and what he was saying was not making much sense,” Capt. J. R. Torres wrote in the report. Then Ryan was drug tested and methadone was found.

Ryan denied all the allegations, including that he took methadone. He wrote “personal matter” as his reason for his resignation.