Chief Chris McKinstry

As the holiday season approaches, many Lady Lake residents will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate. Whether you are traveling out of town or hosting festivities at home, the Lady Lake Police Department wants you to be safe. Here is a security checklist to help protect your home and family.

Before you leave town it is important to make sure your home appears occupied. Place timers on your lights and set them to turn on and off at different times. Lock your garage door and disconnect the automatic opener. Most importantly, tell a trusted neighbor that you are going to be away and ask them to dial 911 immediately if they see anyone on your property.

Here are some additional home security tips to keep in mind:

  • Install good locks on all doors and windows and always use them.
  • Stop newspaper and mail deliveries, and never hide a spare key outside,
  • Give that spare key to a trusted neighbor and provide them with an emergency telephone number where they can reach you.
  • Have someone mow your lawn if you’ll be away more than a couple of weeks.
  • Turn down your telephone ringer so no one outside can hear repeated rings, and never leave a message on your telephone answering machine stating you are out of town.
  • Leave your window blinds as you normally would if you were home.
  • Invite your neighbor to park their car in your driveway or have a friend move yours if you left it at home.
  • Do not post holiday travel plans on social networking sites.

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The term “Multi-modal” is commonly used to describe shared use paths since it accommodates multiple forms of transit.

Multi-modal or Shared Use Paths are paved, off-street travel ways designed to serve nonmotorized travelers.  Across our community, golf carts and bicyclists are typically the most common users of shared-use paths.  However, shared-use paths are frequently also used by pedestrians, roller skaters, skateboarders, wheelchair users, and users of many other modes except automotive.

Diamonds painted on the road indicate a restricted lane, which means only vehicles meeting certain criteria may use the lane. This is usually further indicated by a sign with the same diamond on it, displayed overhead of the lane or at the side of the road, or painted on the lane, which describes the restriction.

Local government agencies are frequently asked who is allowed to use the Multi-modal paths.

Within the Town of Lady Lake, Avenida Central, Del Mar Drive, Rio Grand Avenue and Chula Vista Avenue all have side lanes with the diamond painted on them.  These are designated as PED or pedestrian lanes.   It is a common misunderstanding that these lanes are dedicated for golf carts use only.   These are considered “Shared Use” lanes since pedestrians, bicycles, and golf carts may utilize them.  Continue reading

Lake County and all of Florida are safer today thanks to a new state law that gives law enforcement a valuable tool to prevent gun violence by helping keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who demonstrate an obvious threat to themselves or others.

Florida joined a handful of states earlier this year when it passed the Risk Protection Order Act (RPO), or red flag law, spurred to much-needed action in response to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida.  This important law, passed with bipartisan support in the state legislature, allows law enforcement to remove firearms and ammunition from violent or mentally ill individuals while affording citizens their due process.

The process for obtaining an RPO is straightforward and puts the decision to remove guns in the hands of a judge. First, law enforcement files a petition listing the statement, actions or facts which give rise to a reasonable fear of significant dangerous acts by respondent. The petition is heard by a Judge within 24 hours to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to themselves or others in the near future by having in their custody any firearm or ammunition. If granted, the respondent is served with the temporary order, and they must immediately surrender their firearms, ammunition and concealed weapons license pending a final hearing. Continue reading

As the mercury climbs as we head into summer, I thought it appropriate to discuss heat-related illness for this edition of the newsletter. In Central Florida, we enjoy warm weather almost year-round, but during the summer months, heat can cause serious health issues especially for the very young and the not-so-very young, too. Across the United States, many people die from heat-related illnesses, and many more are hospitalized with life-threatening conditions. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are two heat-related illnesses that are both emergencies. The good news is that heat-related illness can be prevented. Practicing a few simple tips can help keep you cool and healthy during the hot spells. But first, let’s explore the difference between heat stroke and heat exhaustion with a little consultation from our Emergency Medical Services partners from Lake County and the Villages Public Safety Department. Continue reading

The best way to reduce the risk of a traffic crash is to practice safe driving behavior.   Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe.  All of the following information is readily available from driver handbooks and other government agencies:

When you’re behind the wheel of a car – whether alone or with passengers – driving safely should always be your top concern.  We are more distracted than ever, so it’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving and practice them every time you’re on the road.  Your safety, and the safety of others depend on it.

Pedestrians

It is the motorist’s responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with any pedestrians. Bicyclists, skaters and skateboarders in a crosswalk or driveway are considered pedestrians. Turning motorists must yield to pedestrians at intersections with traffic signals.  Motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing the street or driveway at any marked mid-block crossing, driveway or intersection without traffic signals. Continue reading

  • A four-way stop is any intersection with a stop sign in each direction, a flashing red light in each direction, or an inoperable traffic light.  Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.
  • Four-way stops are usually (but not always) labeled as such, having a rectangular sign below the octagonal shape which reads something to the effect of, “4-Way Stop,” “Four-Way Stop,” or “All-Way Stop.”
  • Each driver arriving at a four-way stop must first come to a stop, then one driver proceeds at a time.
  • If turning, as you approach a four-way stop, use your turn signal about one hundred feet prior to reaching the stop sign. The four-way stop is one of the most crucial places for using your turn signal compared to almost any other driving situation.
  • Four-way stops always operate in a clockwise direction. So, the car furthest to the right always has the right of way, and then cars take their turns in a clockwise direction.
  • If multiple cars approach a four-way stop at about the same time, the driver who comes to a complete stop first proceeds first.
  • If two or more cars arrive at a four-way stop simultaneously, the driver furthest to the right always proceeds first, and each next driver in the clockwise direction follows.
  • If four cars arrive at a four-way stop simultaneously, drivers going straight should proceed first. If all four are turning right, they may all proceed simultaneously. These aside, there is no distinguishable way to see who should go first, so the intersection is at a standstill until one driver gets up the nerve and begins to inch forward, alerting the other drivers of his or her intentions, and proceeds through the intersection (thus starting the clockwise rotation from that driver).
  • If two cars opposite each other are proceeding straight, both turning right, or one proceeding straight with the other turning right, they may go at the same time. The turn then goes to the adjacent cars at the stop, who may follow the same rule if applicable.

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By Chief McKinstry

Next time you are in a car driving through a residential neighborhood, try this experiment: glance at your speedometer when you’re in the middle of a block.  You will probably find it is pretty easy to reach or top 25 mph.

To someone on foot or in a golf cart, navigating narrow streets and unprotected intersections, it feels like you’re driving too fast.  And they’re probably not wrong.  As you cruise up to 25 mph (on streets outside a school zone), try to imagine that a golf cart swerves into your lane, or a ball rolls right in front of you with a kid chasing it.  Or that someone with an armful of groceries opened a car door without looking, or that a pedestrian in dark clothes stepped into a poorly lit intersection.  Would you be able to stop in time?  Maybe, maybe not. It would depend on how soon you saw whatever you were about to hit.

Then drop your speed to 20 mph. With that small change, it becomes much easier to halt the momentum of 3,000 pounds of metal. Continue reading

Now that many of our seasonal residents and guests are back with us, a quick refresher message about golf carts cannot hurt.  This is especially true in light of the fact that serious consequences, including death, are a very real possibility for not following the law.

Just look around our local neighborhoods and you’ll see the boxy, open-air-vehicles morphing into mini cars that are as common as the full size vehicles zipping around.

Some people are even putting a new spin on the rides, customizing them like hot rods, airplanes, and fire engines to cruise on and off the golf course.  But it is important to remember that this fun mode of transportation has legal and safety limitations.

Laws relating to golf cart operation are sometimes confusing especially when dealing with driver license requirements.  The following information is being provided to assist with the understanding of the requirements and responsibilities of operating a golf cart on a public road or street.  While the following is not a completely comprehensive legal examination, it does provide a snapshot of important highlights contained in the law. Continue reading

Internet and Email Scams

By Chief McKinstry  – Lady Lake PD

As the Chief of Police for the Town of Lady Lake I am often asked, “What can I do to stop folks from becoming a victim of a scam?”   I can tell you the most important thing we all can do is pass the following information along to our friends, family and co-workers so they are aware of these common scams and prevent them from becoming a potential target.

Phishing

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The most widespread internet and email scam today is the modern day “sting” con game. “Phishing” is where digital thieves lure you into divulging your password info through convincing emails and web pages. These phishing emails and web pages resemble legitimate credit authorities like Citibank, eBay, or PayPal. They frighten or entice you into visiting a phony web page and entering your ID and password. Continue reading

As the Chief of Police for the Town of Lady Lake I am often asked, “What can I do to stop folks from becoming a victim of a scam?”   I can tell you the most important thing we all can do is pass the following information along to our friends, family and co-workers so they are aware of these common scams and prevent them from becoming a potential target.

Phishing

The most widespread internet and email scam today is the modern day “sting” con game. “Phishing” is where digital thieves lure you into divulging your password info through convincing emails and web pages. These phishing emails and web pages resemble legitimate credit authorities like Citibank, eBay, or PayPal. They frighten or entice you into visiting a phony web page and entering your ID and password. Commonly, the guise is an urgent need to “confirm your identity”. They will even offer you a story of how your account has been attacked by hackers to lure you into entering your confidential information. Continue reading

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