Marco Island police chief search down to 12, includes local candidates

Devan Patel
Marco Eagle
The recruitment process has begun to find the next Marco Island police chief.

The first cut in the Marco Island police chief search has dwindled the candidate list from 81 to 12.

Eight of the 12 remaining candidates looking to replace outgoing Police Chief Al Schettino reside in Florida, including a few local candidates.

The 12 candidates are:

  • Asst. Chief John Barkley, Naples Police Department
  • Deputy Chief Jerry Connolly, Haines City Police Department
  • Captain John Crane-Baker, Delray Beach Police Department
  • Deputy Chief Tracy Frazzano, Montclair (N.J.) Police Department
  • Chief Anthony Giaimo, Florida Southwestern College Police Department
  • Captain Tina Heysler, Village of Palm Springs Police Department
  • Deputy Chief Michael Kreher, Atlanta Police Department 
  • Deputy Chief Stephen McCosker, Ocoee Police Department
  • Deputy Chief Joseph Penze, Village of Niles (Ill.) Police Department
  • Assistant Chief Terrence Pierce, Gainesville Police Department
  • Retired Chief Tomas Sanchez, Hollywood Police Department
  • Chief Timothy Sheehan, Tewksbury (Ma.) Police Department

The candidates that survived the first cut will now complete a questionnaire before the next round of cuts names 4-8 finalists for the position.

During Monday's City Council meeting, City Manager David Harden said he hoped to have that short list by the council's May 20 meeting, which Florida Police Chiefs Association Executive Director Amy Mercer said was a possibility. 

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The vacancy in the department was created in February after Schettino issued a letter  on Feb. 21 announcing his retirement.

As more details came to light, it was revealed that his retirement was not of his choosing as Harden had originally requested his resignation after another embarrassing incident hit the police department.

In 2018, three members of the department were found to have had sex on duty, resulting in two of them tendering their resignations and another being terminated from the force. A fourth officer that knew about one of the officer's actions but didn't report it was reprimanded only to be promoted months later.

The woman involved with all of the officers has also announced her intention to sue the city for damages resulting from the negligence in hiring, retaining and supervising the offending officers.

The last straw, however, came when a high profile incident in which a man barricaded himself in his home with a cache of weapons, drawing a response from SWAT, could not be prosecuted due to the involvement of a Marco Island officer.

Despite the State Attorney's Office refusing for years to use Officer Tige Thompson as a witness in any criminal trials due to his tarnished credibility, he had remained on patrol during Schettino's watch. 

In lieu of resigning, Schettino proposed retiring from the department on June 15, which was accepted by Harden.

Although Harden had originally believed the department could have a new police chief in place by that date, Mercer said Wednesday that she was not sure whether that would be feasible.

"I do believe they can possibly name their new chief by then but I am not sure if someone can begin that early due to backgrounds and having to give notice for their current position," Mercer said.    

Once finalists are named, they will be invited to Marco Island for interviews and to participate in assessment exercises.

What that will look like has yet to be determined, Mercer said.

"We will work with the City Manager on determining the onsite process," Mercer said.  "Nothing has been finalized or discussed at this point in the process.  However, those talks will begin shortly." 

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