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MCSO to city: ‘We are not code enforcement’

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dave Turner, head of the MCSO-Anna Maria substation, has responded to Mayor Mike Selby’s request for help with enforcing noise and disturbance problems by saying, “We are not code enforcement officers.”

Turner wrote Selby and MCSO deputies stationed in Anna Maria Aug. 14 stating the subject has been discussed with his supervisors, and he has informed the mayor of the MCSO position.

“Once again I am referring you to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Legal Division regarding deputies going outside the normal parameters of their required duties under the MCSO contract and the agency’s directives and general orders,” wrote Turner.

“I am also referring you to my direct supervisors. ‘We are not code enforcement officers.’ The city has a part-time code officer and I think she is doing a good job. I think that my supervisors will have a problem if we start walking down the code enforcement path.”

He reiterated to the mayor that deputies enforce many code issues, but the city’s noise regulations are not the same as the county noise ordinance.

Selby made his request for more MCSO help at the Aug. 9 commission meeting when discussion turned to enforcement of noise regulations and violations.

Commissioners want MCSO deputies who respond to a noise complaint or disturbance at a vacation rental to contact the owner or manager and deal with the problem, including issuing a citation.

Deputies, however, already are working to determine if properties are licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Turner said. And deputies are “writing reports on all violations,” he emphasized.

One of his deputies has been working with Commissioner SueLynn in compiling a directory of rental homes and agents, and determining if properties are registered with county and state agencies, he said.

“This is well outside their normal contracted duties,” Turner maintained, particularly if the deputy has to wait at the scene for the property manager/owner to arrive.

Deputies are not ignoring problems, but there is only one deputy on duty from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Each noise complaint ties up a deputy for 30-45 minutes, Turner said.

This decreases patrol time to prevent crimes such as burglaries, which have increased recently in Anna Maria, he noted.

Turner said that “any more enforcement, like writing $100 magistrate summons on noise tickets, calling property managers while en-route or making arrests outside of violations of the law, would need to be approved by legal and by my supervisors,” said Turner.

He also noted that commissioners have previously said they were happy with the MCSO service, but “it appears when a deputy does not attend the city meetings” deputies and their duties “become an ongoing target.”

Selby said city attorney Jim Dye and Commission Chair Chuck Webb will meet with Turner, Sheriff Brad Steube and the MCSO attorney to clarify the MCSO duties under the city’s contract for law enforcement.

Selby said Dye will present a report of the meeting at the Aug. 23 commission meeting.

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