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Marco Island City Manager David Harden has selected Capt. Dave Baer to lead the Marco Island Police Department in an interim capacity until the city formalizes a new hire.

Harden announced Baer's appointment Friday, which will be effective June 1 and likely span until July when a new police chief is expected to start.

The city is currently in the final stages of hiring a new leader after current Chief Al Schettino was forced to retire.

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Schettino's tenure as Marco's top cop included a number of embarrassing incidents, such as multiple officers having sex on duty, and questionable leaderships that contributed to his ouster.

The final straw came in February after reporting by the Marco Eagle revealed that Schettino had for years been utilizing an officer on patrol whom the state attorney's office will not use as a witness in trials due to credibility issues.

Over the last several years, an analysis of Officer Tige Thompson's cases revealed that none of his arrests went to trial and resulted in the state attorney declining to prosecute most of cases he was tied to.

This included a standoff in late December where a Marco Island man barricaded himself in his home with a cache of weapons, ultimately prompting SWAT to respond to the scene.

With Thompson unable to fulfill the duties of a police officer, the city removed him from the police force earlier this month despite the state attorney's office formally taking its stance on him since 2013.

Although Schettino tendered a letter of retirement, he did so as a counteroffer to Harden's request for his resignation.

The Marco Island chief's position drew 81 interested candidates and is now down to five finalists including:

  • 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
  • Deputy Chief Stephen McCosker, Ocoee Police Department
  • Assistant Chief Terrence Pierce, Gainesville Police Department

The finalists will come to Marco Island June 6-7 to take part in assessments and interviews.

Harden previously told the Marco Eagle that he expected to make a selection the week of June 10. With the city hiring Mike McNees to be its next city manager, he will be part of making the selection. 

Baer currently serves as an administrative captain for the department and is three months shy of his 20th year anniversary at the city.

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