They uphold a mission to provide for the security and safety of all persons within the City of Marco Island. They pledge a mission to bake the “freshest, most delectable” bagels made with the highest quality ingredients and a “sprinkling of love.” They are, respectively, the Marco Island Police Department and the Empire Bagel Factory. It was a great combination and fabulous community event when the two recently joined forces for “Coffee and a Bagel With a Cop” at Empire Bagel Factory, 277 N. Collier Blvd.
Marco Island Chief of Police Al Schettino enthusiastically welcomed several Marco Island residents and visitors. “We like to do these events periodically at different establishments around the island to interact with our community and businesses,” said Schettino. He went on to elaborate, “Many years ago, let’s say back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, law enforcement was done basically in the way of foot patrol. A connection with the community was more face to face and one on one. Today people spend much of their time driving in cars. That means both the police officers and the citizens. It makes the relationship between the police and the people more like a relationship between vehicles on the road. Events like this improve the face to face relationships among all of us as people.”
On this unusually crisp, cool Marco Island morning, guests enjoyed Empire Bagel Factory’s piping hot coffee and tea, popping fresh bagels, donuts, and other fine breakfast treats all to warm the cockles of their hearts. Marco Island resident Debbie Waidanz jokingly remarked that the coffee get-together was a great way to meet the police officers under positive friendly circumstances. Retired Miami Beach police officer Tom Lederman and his wife, Diana decided to stop by the event as they were in town for a weekend wedding at the JW Marriott.
The Marco Island Police Department proudly serves this community. The force of 34 officers and eight reserve auxiliary volunteers work diligently to protect and serve the residents and visitors of this island. The officers work 12-hour shifts, often spending time away from their family and loved ones throughout holidays and other special occasions. They particularly enjoy the opportunity to interact with the community at joyous events like the parade and other festivities of the holiday season. But there are many times when the job is much more challenging.
Chief Schettino looked back on some of the more difficult days of 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. “We were fortunate to be able to call upon mutual aid. We received tremendous help from the Florida Highway Patrol and the police department of Jupiter, Florida,” he said. Stressing the importance of community presence and interaction, Schettino added “Community connection will get you through the difficult times. During and after Hurricane Irma, the businesses and people of Marco Island came together to support the Marco Island Police Department as we worked hard to support them.”
Perhaps it is this special bond and community interaction that make Marco Island such a wonderful place to live, to work and to play. You won’t want to miss the next coffee klatch with the cops!
Read Coastal Breeze News online and check our calendar at coastalbreezenews.com to learn more about upcoming events.