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1425 Creech Road, Naples, FL
NAPLES — Keeping the peace was a simple task for law enforcement on Monday.
The large and confrontational crowd that officers expected never developed. Instead, protesters at Planned Parenthood on Creech Road remained quiet, and intent to cause trouble remained below the surface.
“We’ve seen zero police action the whole time,” said Collier County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Harold Minich early Monday afternoon. “I don’t expect anything to change the rest of the day.”
At most, officers reminded protesters to stand back from clinic property, and they kept traffic moving, said Sheriff’s Office Sgt. R.C. Brown III.
Planned Parenthood hired four Collier County deputies for security duty. The men stood just inside the property’s boundaries, between the protesters and the building.
The organization paid the Sheriff’s Office $42.50 per hour for each deputy, of which the deputies each received $36. The rest went to worker’s compensation, FICA and administrative fees, according to the agency.
In addition, two Sheriff’s Office supervisors whose normal patrol district included the area were also on hand, along with some Naples police officers. Creech Road represents the boundary between Collier County and Naples.
“Our focus was strictly to make sure the neighborhood was undisturbed, and that was the limit of what our involvement was,” said Naples police department spokesman Mike Herman.
Ten Naples police officers and two supervisors were assigned to the area on Monday. Officers were seen on bicycle and motorcycle, on foot and inside cars parked along neighborhood streets. Later in the afternoon, they blocked Rordon Avenue, which parallels Creech, allowing only residents to come and go.
Herman said no officers received overtime, as all were on regular duty.
No cars were towed during the day. Drivers told to move their vehicles did so.
Officers were gone by 4:30, once the staff at Planned Parenthood left for the day.
All called the situation ideal, given the touchy subject.
“You didn’t have as high a turnout as could potentially have occurred, and the people that showed up were respectful,” Herman said. “Everybody understood that everybody has a right to voice their opinions.”