Editor:

Reference: “Justice’ sold on eBay” Tuesday, Jan. 7.

I have for the past 16 years operated both police boats alone, and been called to respond at night or when the marine officer was not available.

In 25 years of military school and service I have never disobeyed a direct order. No one directed me not to respond to dispatch’s request for service.

A recent article stated I took out the boat “despite being told not to do so by supervisors.” Police Dispatch called me at approximately 6:30 p.m. and requested I take a boat to Fishermen’s Village to prevent boaters from approaching the fireworks barge too closely. I secured the barge until 10 p.m. when I took the boat into the river to charge the batteries. Unfortunately, I struck the piling exiting the lateral markers to open water. I told Capt Nahra, who has been a passenger on the police boat while I was operating alone at night, that I always have responded to dispatch requests, I am Coast Guard Auxiliary trained and had been a licensed captain by the Coast Guard and fully qualified to operate the boat.

I resigned when the Police Department removed the volunteer boat from my dock where it had been for 10 years and changed the patrol duties of the volunteers without asking my input. Clearly my 14 years leadership in selecting, training, scheduling and supervising the 23 volunteers who were working seven days a week, was no longer of value to the department.

Tom McAlear

Punta Gorda

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