Meet Officer Neil Giansanti
Policing on Marco Island means sand in your boots instead of snow, says Marco PD patrol officer Neil Giansanti. Giansanti is a former Connecticut State Trooper and fraud investigator for the Florida Department of Financial Services who has been with the Marco PD for a year and a half.
In his relatively brief time on Marco, Giansanti has already had some truly unique calls. He was the officer who netted the bald eagle recently rescued from Shorecrest Canal. “That was a first,” he says.
“Marco definitely has more service calls, and as a patrol officer I respond to any type of call, from traffic accidents to theft or fraud.”
Giansanti appreciates the wealth of experience that his fellow officers bring to the department. “There’s a variety of experience from all over the country and many of these guys are former high ranking officers. You know when you go on a call that you are riding with someone who knows what they are doing.”
As someone who lives for his three sons, Giansanti feels lucky to work on a family-friendly police force. Many Marco officers are parents or even grandparents and are happy to share their parenting experience along with what they’ve learned about police work.
“People here have a good understanding of the parenting/work balance,” he says.
His counter-terrorism experience from working as a trooper stationed at the Connecticut state airport thankfully doesn’t apply here. Giansanti describes his Connecticut experience as “the polar opposite of Marco Island. There is a very paramilitary attitude and a large agency of 1,500.” Not unlike the marines, the troopers wore dress uniforms, participated in marching exercises, and had a rigid structure.
Giansanti’s favorite assignment with the troopers was his K-9 detail. “We went on what was termed ‘hot calls,’” explains Giansanti. These were high-risk and involved situations such as missing children and serving warrants to often hostile recipients. “In some cases, we saved lives. These were situations I won’t ever forget.”
Whether community policing on an island or rushing to a high-risk call in the city, police work has a common denominator according to Giansanti. “We [policemen] protect and serve. We’re still basically the same, and we don’t do it for the glory.”