If the name Tracy Frazzano is becoming more and more familiar on Marco Island, it’s by design. As the new police chief of the island, Frazzano is doing the rounds by visiting assorted clubs and organizations to pass on three main messages: The department needs more officers, there should be more transparency in its operations, and the department could benefit greatly from becoming accredited.
The shortage of officers, Frazzano told a recent meeting of the island’s Woman’s Club, has been complicated partly by the department having to assign officers to every school. Recent, widely reported shake-ups in the department have also depleted its numbers.
“We want to hire people with experience in law enforcement—even straight from the Academy—because we need to put more officers on the streets,” Frazzano said. “And I will train them well.”
Accreditation of the department at state and national level, as Frazzano said, would require the continual upholding of standards, policies, and procedures. In turn, that would contribute to more transparency.
During her 45-minute off-the-cuff talk, Frazzano also gave a little insight about herself, recounting that she was proud to have become the first female detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and deputy chief of the Montclair (NJ) police department.
A highlight of her career, she said, was implementing a program in Washington D.C. for FEMA, based on a thesis she wrote on a “Mumbai-type” attack (multiple shooters). It was applied to area schools.
At the Woman’s Club meeting, Frazzano caused a little eyebrow-raising when she said an upcoming local program would involve giving tickets to children on bicycles whether they were wearing helmets or not.
“Children with helmets will get a ticket for a free ice-cream, and those without helmets will get tickets for new ones,” Frazzano said. “You’ll see this sometime in November.”
Again pledging communication and transparency, Frazzano recounted a recent beach flurry that involved a missing woman who allegedly left two children on the beach. “I got an e-mail from somebody saying ‘I hear there’s a dead body in the water,’ but the woman was later found at an apartment.”
Her point here was indeed communication and transparency. “Obviously, we can’t comment on active investigations, but people can always e-mail questions.”
The Marco Island Woman’s Club is ostensibly a social club, but with a strong mission statement supporting the community. Its goodwill gestures have been providing student scholarships, supporting the local high school, founding the local library, helping fund the Marco Healthcare Center and initiating the original youth center that grew into the present South Collier YMCA.