Letter to the Editor: MIPD responds

Chief Hunter and I thought it was important to take a moment or so and rectify any misconceptions created by a recent letter to the editor in the Marco Eagle entitled “Why is Marco Island Wasting Money.”

At Chief Hunter’s direction, I have drafted this response to address the various themes.

The author begins his letter noting the lack of voluntary compliance with traffic laws on the island. Overall I think Islanders and visitors do an admirable job of obeying Florida’s laws, but there is always room for improvement. Law enforcement is a difficult profession for a number of reasons including the fact there is always a wide diversity of opinion on nearly every aspect of law enforcement. The author clearly is advocating for increased voluntary compliance by his fellow citizens as well as enhanced enforcement by the police department.

It probably does not surprise anyone that there are others who feel that the police department is too aggressive in terms of traffic enforcement. In the last 12 months the Marco Island Police Department stopped nearly 5,500 motorists for various traffic violations. As previously indicated there will be those who think 15 traffic stops a day is too many, too little or just right. Please be assured traffic safety is a primary mission of the Marco Island Police Department. As reminder state statute dictates what portion of traffic fines return to Marco Island, it is a very small percentage.

The author’s second point is that citizens of Marco Island should not have to pay for the police officers who are stationed at the Farmer’s Market. Off-duty and auxiliary officers were suggested – we agree! The police officers who are assigned to the Farmer’s Market are always off-duty officers, reserve or auxiliary officers. One hundred percent of the costs associated with those officers are borne by the vendors at the market. The Farmer’s Market officers do not reduce the standard compliment of police officers routinely on patrol in the neighborhoods, commercial districts, schools, parks, beaches and waterways.

The author is quite correct that the Farmer’s Market detail was well thought out. This weekly event attracts thousands of individuals and our roadway infrastructure is tested during the event. Officers are in the area to direct traffic, assist pedestrians and motorists and provide a crime prevention function. As an upstanding citizen the thought that crime may be absent at a large scale community event like the market is logical, however criminals prey on this perception plying their trade in the form of theft from vehicles for example.

If you would like to discuss reserve and auxiliary opportunities, Farmer’s Market deployments, traffic enforcement or any other law enforcement related matters, please feel free to contact Chief Hunter or myself at 389-5050.

David S. Baer

Marco Island Police Department

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Comments » 11

CopWatch writes:

Asst. Chief David S. Baer:

Is the MIPD experiencing a plethora of resignations? If so why?

Konfuzius writes:

The bottom line is very simple. Marco Island is not a crime destination even if we have for some days this terrible sign as entry greetings warning everybody by thief activities on Marco Island not even true.

MIPD is overstaffed not effective and not necessary. On top absolute to expensive. Go rid of them bring the Sheriff back and everything will work fine.

johnnycakes writes:

Even though K-man's comments are mostly incomprehensible he usually has a nugget of truth at the core of what he's trying to say. Crime on Marco Island? Not so much. Police Force trying to justify its existence - quite a bit. Sign as soon as you get off the bridge saying "Lock your car" ... totally the wrong message for our little corner of paradise. Marco is about as safe as it gets in the USA. Why don't we celebrate this rather than suggest we're the theft capital of North America. A better sign would be "Leave your car unlocked. The chances of anything being stolen from it here are waaaaaaaay lower then anywhere else on this continent."

Konfuzius writes:

" The Mercedes,Lexus,BMW crowd do not seem to think the rules apply to them. They do not even resect the fire zones at the grocery stores."

99.9% of them are driver from America. Statistically the worse driver in the world.

marco826 writes:

If true, 15 Stops per day doesn't seem unreasonable for a city the size of Marco. That said, it appears to me that there must be 10 of those per day just at the foot of the Jolly Bridge. I won't disrespect the Police department, these guys all trying to do their job. Question is, are we aggressively staffed and is our budget in line with whats required for this tiny Island? I agree living here over 20 years, Crime is generrally uncommon here. Not totally but generally. Agree with Konfuzius that expense is a concern while Sheriff option sound reasonable. That said, I know it won't happen. Pension and Retirement expenses will strangle Marco on top of our huge debt.

marcoislander writes:

YES YES YES johnnycakes and konfuzius They are only trying to justify themselves They also know that you cannot even glide down the jolly bridge without going over the speed limit Just another sleazy way of making themselves known. Probably have a quota they have to meet.

JohninMarco writes:

My question to Dave Baer is if the officers are sitting in their cars talking on their cell phones, how is this preventing crime? It is one thing to write a letter back to a concerned citizen, but why not view the situation first before shooting from the lip. One wonders if either Baer or Hunter has taken the time to view this situation.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to marcoislander:

YES YES YES johnnycakes and konfuzius They are only trying to justify themselves They also know that you cannot even glide down the jolly bridge without going over the speed limit Just another sleazy way of making themselves known. Probably have a quota they have to meet.

Another sleazy post of islandeye.
On top moronic.

tikihut2206 writes:

I worked for a police dept. in NJ..it was a small town but a lot of crimes..we had gangs, murders, rapes and so on...we did not have as many officers as marco has..I will always stand up for the police..but I do think marco has to many for the crime we have...

26yearsonmarco writes:

How many of the 5500 motorists stopped last year came to a rolling stop?????

exasperation writes:

GREAT question CopWatch! After 12 years of watching the City "grow" and listening to some of the negative comments from the same malcontents about minor problems every city encounters, it is good to see someone is paying attention to important problems in our city. Does anyone pay attention to the workings of the PD other than the monies you think they are wasteing. Who is in charge of this run away train, that can't seem to retain good officers? Why are so many leaving? (by rough accounts 20 to 24 in the two years Hunter has been there). Could it be the so called "Command Staff"? The Chief who is never there, the Asst. Chief who is less than competent in administrating the department or the two so called lieutenants that are "in charge" of the street cops and investigations? These are some of the questions that should be asked by our council, that is if they really wanted to know. At this time they seem to be hiding their heads in the sand. They know about the Chief's inability to report to work at normal hours but they don't care. In most places "ghost employment" is a felony. That folks is stealing your money for his non performance. Maybe he still thinks he is the Sheriff. Someone needs to ask for his record of entry to the police building and I believe you would find some very disturbing hours that he keeps or doesn't keep. The more I find out the more you will know, but don't take my word for it, look into it! By the way, did anyone hear of the rear-ending of a vehicle on the interstate by the AC while driving his police vehicle???

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