Chief Frazzano: 'I'm hoping we start moving forward'

The chief of the Marco Island Police Department (MIPD), Tracy L. Frazzano, said Thursday she wants people to start judging MIPD officers for the things they are doing now and not for the department’s past controversies.

"I'm hoping that we start moving forward and that people start judging us on what we are doing now," Frazzano said Thursday. "I want to be the best police department and I think the officers here want to be the best."

"The way to accomplish that is that we need to start taking pride on the job and the best way for us to do that is if the media assists us in seeing that we are moving forward and not to keep bringing up the past."

More:Frazzano sworn in as Marco Island police chief

Frazzano said police officers are human beings that make mistakes. "We are human beings; we are gonna make mistakes," Frazzano said. "I hope that in the future we are not making mistakes at a large scale, that they are going to be minor mistakes that are correctable by some sort of training."

In hopes of improving MIPD, the agency is recruiting new officers for beach, bike and vehicle patrol, traffic and school safety. "I'm looking to bring people in that have these high standards that I also have and want the same things that I envisioned us to be," Frazzano said. "Then we will be a strong department in the future."

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The Marco Eagle reported on Aug. 27 that legal counsel of Marco Island's police records clerk issued an ultimatum to the city to resolve the claims alleged in her federal complaint or it will face a lawsuit in less than 30 days.

In an Aug. 19 letter to City Manager Mike McNees, attorney Neil Snyder alleges the city negligently retained and failed to supervise former MIPD Chief Al Schettino, who was accused of gender discrimination, libel, slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Frazzano replaced Schettino after he was forced to retire earlier this year. 

More:Attorney of Marco Island police records clerk issues ultimatum before filing lawsuit

On Aug. 13, the Eagle reported the city of Marco Island launched an inquiry into claims that the acting Marco chief at the time, Captain David S. Baer, put malicious docs in employee files.

On May 16, the Eagle reported an MIPD officer who the state attorney's office refused to call as a witness in criminal trials due to concerns about his credibility was removed as member of the police force due to his inability to perform the duties of the job.

"Accountability is going to be a big thing for us," Frazzano said. "When people do things wrong we are going to be transparent about how we are."

"And if they do something wrong, [...] we are going to take the steps to correct it, and if they can't be corrected then we will take the steps that we have to take for punishment."

First two weeks in office

Frazzano, who officially became chief on Aug. 26, said she has been on a "listening tour," meeting with government officials and the public.

"I've been going around meeting a lot of people in the community and [...] getting involved with meetings here as far as command staff and director meetings," Frazzano said.

Frazzano said she also went to a recent event of the Marco Patriots, a local non-profit that helps people prepare for hurricanes.

"Wherever people are having meetings is where I'm showing up to," Frazzano said. "I haven't yet had a chance to sit down and enjoy a restaurant or a meal (in Marco Island) on my own yet."

Frazzano said her priority in the upcoming weeks will be to meet with MIPD employees, including part-timers and civilian staff. "I'm giving everybody and opportunity to sit with me as long as they want to and discuss what they see as our priorities, ways we can improve (and) things that we are doing good already," Frazzano said.

History and diversity

As Marco Island's first female police chief it's impossible to deny Frazzano's appointment is history in the making. 

Her message to young girls who might want to enter law enforcement? 

"I think people should be anything they want to be," Frazzano said. "I feel that if we work hard, learn what we want to do and take pride in the things we want to be you can be anything you want."

Out of 37 full-time police officers, MIPD only has two that are female, including Frazzano, according to Captain Baer.

Additional reporting by Devan Patel.