Special ceremony Monday marks beginning of new era for Marco Island Police Department

Don Hunter
Collier County Sheriff

Don Hunter Collier County Sheriff

— Pomp and circumstance will be in store Monday when city swears in its new police chief. A 30-minute ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m., Monday, in the city’s Community Room, located on Bald Eagle Drive, behind City Hall.

The public event will feature a presentation of the colors by members of the Marco Island Police Department Color Guard and remarks from city officials and leaders before former Collier County Sheriff Don Hunter is officially sworn in as the island’s fifth police chief. A list of speakers is still being finalized, but Florida Representative Kathleen Passidomo (R-District 76), whose district includes Marco Island, is expected to attend and law enforcement leaders from Collier County, neighboring communities and state and national organizations have also been invited.

“There’s a lot of planning that goes into something like this,” said Marco Island Police Capt. Dave Baer, who is in charge of the event. He has spent the last week planning every detail of the ceremony, from making sure there’s enough parking to choosing a location with ceilings high enough to accommodate the traditional presentation of arms.

“This is the first time we’ve done something of this scale in the department,” he added.

While a swearing-in ceremony in itself is not unique, Baer says Monday’s event will include a few details exclusive to Marco Island. He declined to elaborate in order to keep some of the details a surprise.

“It’s a welcome to the next chapter of his (Hunter’s) professional career,” Baer said. “Because of his extensive contacts and experience in Collier County, he’s going to have a lot of friends at the event to support him.”

According to Baer, incoming Chief Hunter has not yet visited the police station, but has been in touch with key members of the police force.

“I expect him to have his first large scale introduction on the 8th.”

Some may see Baer as an unusual choice to plan an event for the incoming chief, considering many on the island thought he would get the job, including retiring chief Thom Carr. But Baer, who has been in charge of the department since Thom Carr’s retirement on July 31 says he has no hard feelings.

“I’m sincerely looking forward to Chief Hunter coming here,” said Baer, adding that for officers like him, who’ve been with the department since its inception, a new leader is just part of the evolution of the police force.

“We’re looking forward to a new flavor. Chief Hunter is going to come to us with a different management philosophy and he’s going to direct the agency in the best interests of the island.”

While Baer expects the first few months of Chief Hunter’s tenure to be intense as the new leader gets up to speed regarding budgets and schedules, he also sees opportunity for growth.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us but we’re looking forward to it.”

If you go

Swearing in Ceremony for incoming Chief Don Hunter

When: 10 a.m., Monday

A post-ceremony reception will follow

Where: Marco Island Community Room

50 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 14

ed34145 writes:

We'll see how happy everyone is a year from now.

condoseller writes:

How unnecessary. I feel badly for Capt. Baer being assigned to such a pomp and pomp affair. Shall we do the same if and when a new Finance or Utility Director are hired? If Mr. Hunter's first day is surrounded by such a deliberate display of ego then, what shall the remainder if his tenure look and feel like? One would think the Budget Committee or Mr. Riviere would prevent this elaborate and unnecessary event and expense. If the Police Foundation is paying for the event then I will have to cancel my membership. We are hiring a new chief; a new employee, not welcoming a head of state. I admire Capt. Baer for fulfilling his assignment. But, who ordered it? How disappointing.

Ruger writes:

Sounds like a nice swearing in ceremony, what's up with pomp and circumstance statement?

Good Luck Chief Don Hunter!!!

ba10da69 writes:

Baer you are such a big kiss(tried to use a naughty word)

August8 writes:

You Bet-Cha this is a big deal, there are probably a few surprises that no body has figured on.
The most interesting comment, what members of the Department has the new Chief contacted, hold on to yalls hat, change is ????? Gooooood??

mahiman writes:

MIPD IS necessary....just not a big as it is. We don't need 34 full time officers, but it's nice to have our own force to keep the rift-raft out. Secondly, any manager in any position should be a Marco resident. That way they have a stake in our city and feel its pain.

RayPray writes:

in response to mahiman:

MIPD IS necessary....just not a big as it is. We don't need 34 full time officers, but it's nice to have our own force to keep the rift-raft out. Secondly, any manager in any position should be a Marco resident. That way they have a stake in our city and feel its pain.

"it's nice to have our own force to keep the rift-raft out."

---But, considering all the dumb law suits we're funding plus the reputation across the area for being Keystone Kops, how to keep the riff raff out of this obese constabulary force?

August8 writes:

Talk about Rift-Raft, how about the two guys above ????

RayPray writes:

in response to August8:

Talk about Rift-Raft, how about the two guys above ????

Sancho, thought you were busy cramming for your IQ test?

JohninMarco writes:

If you wonder why your property taxes are rising, look at the Marco Island PDs. Captain. One hundred thousand per year to plan parties. How many goodby parties for the past chief and now a party for the new one. Lots of real police work done here.

softy writes:

JohninMarco, so bitter, just bite not to be a real cop anytime in your life. As for the goodby party for the past chief, I urge you to check it out, city did NOT pay for it and as for the captain planning this one, hmmmm, guess the CManager may be behind it and much more that you will find out soon enough!!

softy writes:

RayPray, since you seem to know so much about what kind of funding the city is footing for law suits, come up with some facts, the drugstore? hmmm seems like that case has been dismissed alot, check it out, unfortunately the so called pharmacist/owner can not seem to get his way with the court system to make anything stick because he has nothing, just another bad apple trying to line his pockets like other people who sue for no reason and as for morine, yea, ask those that worked for him, what a loser! Be glad he is gone, but he seems to have a problem with making money these days because he may have to do a real days work!

August8 writes:

Softy ???????????????? How do you know ???????

OneTimeOnly writes:

I must make a few comments. When I first moved to Marco in 1991, this place was fantastic. Collier County Deputies patrolled the island. Let me preface by saying that I support Law Enforcement. However since Don Hunter became Sheriff, he turned Collier into a major police State. What someone needs to do is research how much the Sheriff Dept grew under Hunter. If you think Marco PD is bad now, wait till we have 60 full time officers, a helicopter, a submarine, a space shuttle and a GPS locater shoved up all our rear ends. This use to be such a great place to live and now it is over the top with police and traffic signs. We never needed our own police dept on a 24 sq mile area ( some of it water / canals) but if we shall keep one, at least lets make it smaller. Bring in a few part time seasonal officers to help out during the peak season, like they have in other cities in the Summer (Cape Cop, Newport, Ocean City, etc). My home town has a year round population of 56k (Marco has 16,413 according to U.S. census 2010). My hometown has a police force half the size of Marco Is with a much higher crime rate. Heck, our City hall is big enought for a city of 100k residents. I see a big police presence but I don't need to see them on jet skis or golf carts cruising the beach or ridding Police Harley Davidsons around town or with any other toys that are needless. I still haven't been able to confirm this rumor( can anyone help)but I was told that Marco PD now have AR15 assault riffles in the trunks of police cars (what the heck for).
I still work for a living so when I see waste with my tax dollars (as many of you do) I get extremely upset. I have already seen many of my friends leave this area because of all the nonesense with this City. We need to take it back and not let these non resident city employees take over.
God Bless

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