PHOTOS: Hail and farewell – Marco Island Police Foundation hears from Passidomo, thanks Carr

— The Marco Police Foundation had a full house, and a full agenda, for their luncheon on Wednesday. About 120 Islanders mostly filled the dining room at the Hideaway Beach Club, to hear from State Representative Kathleen Passidomo in person, Congressman Connie Mack by phone, and say thanks and best of luck to retiring Police Chief Thom Carr.

Mack, with his static image projected on a screen, spoke from his office in Washington, where he is stuck working on the national debt ceiling issue. He blamed the situation on President Obama.

“The debt crisis is no clearer today than it was yesterday,” he told the gathering. “The President has not come to the table with one single plan or idea to get us out of this situation.”

When Mack had to sign off to go vote in the House, Carr spoke, and thanked the Police Foundation for its support over the years. In the early years, he said, “we had a lot of problems – there was a lot of anti-police sentiment. The people who founded the Foundation saved our bacon,” he said, in an apt metaphor for a cop. “I can’t thank the foundation enough. Dick, you’ve been there since the beginning,” he said, nodding toward Dick Shanahan, seated at the head table. “This foundation is one of the reasons your crime rate has went down every year.”

Now, said Carr, he’s seen a turnaround in community attitudes toward the police force. “People wave at you, not just with one finger.”

After a lunch of Oriental chicken salad or a steak sandwich, Representative Passidomo took the podium. The freshman representative was introduced by Police Foundation president and fellow attorney Bill Morris as “one of the hardest working people in the statehouse.”

“Unlike the Federal government, we do not have a deficit,” began Passidomo, after saying it never rains when she comes to Marco, and thanking Carr for his service. “We started in March with a $4 billion deficit, but we are living within our means.”

Passidomo spoke of several pieces of legislation she has been working on, including Operation Medicine Cabinet, which will promote safe disposal of prescription medicines, paid for by fines on certain drug offenders. Another she has championed is the Blue Alert, a guaranteed crowd-pleaser before an audience of law-enforcement supporters. Similar to the Amber Alerts for missing children, and the Silver Alerts for seniors, the Blue Alert will spread the word when a police officer is attacked, and the assailants are on the loose.

Another key priority attempts to help deal with the ongoing crisis in housing and mortgage lending.

“I’ve been working all summer on the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act,” she said. This will end robo-signing, making sure lenders have all the documents needed and the legal right to proceed with foreclosure, and give appropriate notice to borrowers. “It will also let lenders speed up the process, when the homeowner has abandoned the property,” said Passidomo.

She is also on the Redistricting Committee, likely to have local ramifications, as one of Florida’s two new congressional seats is likely to be in Southwest Florida.

“We get two seats, and New York lost two,” she noted. “We have a lot of amoeba-shaped districts we have the obligation to fix.” Her committee is holding meetings, obtaining citizen input before drawing any district borders, she said.

As a freshman, Passidomo said being in the legislature has been a learning experience for her.

“I though I’d get up there and solve all the world’s problems all by myself,” she said, but instead, she’s learning to work through the system.

After the talk, Carr, wearing the police gunbelt, loaded with sidearm and law enforcement gear, was asked if he’d miss it.

“No, I’ll be happy to get rid of it. It’s 13 pounds of stuff,” he said, “although the truth is, I don’t wear the gunbelt that often.”

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Comments » 3

happy6 writes:

carr looks like an Italian war hero with all those ribbons...and 3 stars on his collar....wow!

August8 writes:

Best Of Luck Chief Carr

softy writes:

shadow you are showing your ignorance making that comment about police uniforms and what is required and MarcoIslandWoman/Man, what are you saying again, "Chief Carr does not have a payroll" the city does but then again you are not American, probably one of those people who lived in a country the US helped at one time.

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