Police chief reorganizes his department

Steve Stefanides

Marco Island Police Chief Al Schettino on Wednesday announced a refocusing of his command staff, which he termed a reorganization in direct relationship to the increasing demands on the department plus an expanded role with code enforcement.

• Sgt. Nick Ojanovac will be promoted to the rank of captain and command both the patrol and investigative divisions, along with all operational components of the department, the chief said.

• Capt. David Baer will now concentrate his efforts on the code enforcement role of the department, Schettino said. The community service officers will now be Baer's focus, the chief said. In addition, Baer will focus on administrative duties to support the operational requirements of the department.

Ojanovac is a 15-year veteran of law enforcement. He is 5-year member of the department who formerly served with both the University of Florida Police Department in Gainesville and the Collier County Sheriff’s office. He was reassigned temporarily 14 months ago to take over the patrol and investigative divisions as Schettino worked through the realignment of the department.

“That reassignment gave us the opportunity to evaluate how best to make the changes necessary to meet the needs of the community and the department,” said Schettino upon announcing the changes.

“We recognized the need to have one individual concentrate on the efforts of Code Enforcement to insure that mission is appropriately supervised moving forward and Capt. Baer was the right fit for that assignment. We then opened up the operational captain’s position for applications from within the department,” said Schettino.

“We were blessed to have great candidates internally, and in the end we felt Sgt. Ojanovac was the right person for the job moving forward,” said Schettino.

Ojanovac has his bachelors of science degree from the University of Florida and in May will receive his masters in public administration.

“Nick’s background, education and attitude all contributed to our final decision,” said Schettino.

“This is a great opportunity for me personally and I appreciate the trust that has been placed with me as we strive as a team to continue to serve our citizens. This is a great department with some of the best people I’ve worked with over my career, and I look forward to working closely with all our personnel moving forward,” said Ojanovac.

New policies

On Monday evening, the Marco Island City Council was briefed on the department’s intent to contract with Transformational Strategies & Solutions to work with the agency to help develop new policies and procedures.

The cost will be $49,800 and be covered by utilizing asset forfeiture funds at no cost to taxpayers.

The last review of those policies and procedures was done more than a decade ago.

“In today litigious society you cannot afford to not have these documents up to date and keep them relevant,” said Schettino.

Over the term of the contract, TS&S will assist the department in creating a new procedure manual that contains 40 and not to exceed 60 new general orders that will reflect current industry best practices, legal requirements and Florida standards. This process will also include staff training and strategic planning in order to obtain Florida accreditation.

“At the end of that process and with other internal support changes we will be eligible for Florida state certification for a law enforcement agency. This will be a great accomplishment for our department and all those that work here,” said Schettino.