Marion Police Sergeant Convicted of Disobeying DNR Officer Orders

By Vanessa Miller, Reporter

MARION, Iowa - A Marion police sergeant has been convicted of interference with official acts after officers with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said he refused to follow their orders on Coralville Reservoir in August.

Marion Sgt. Phil Fort was tried on Tuesday on charges of interference with official acts and violation of no-wake buoys after DNR water patrol officers caught him operating a boat on Aug. 19 in violation of the buoys, according to a criminal complaint.

A six-person jury found Fort guilty of the interference charge and not guilty of violating no-wake buoys, according to Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness.

Fort could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday, but Marion Police Department administrative staff confirmed that he's still a sergeant there. Information on a sentencing date for Fort's simple misdemeanor conviction has not been made public through online court records.

According to a criminal complaint, Fort, 38, of Marion, was not on duty at the time he was ticketed. DNR officers reported telling him to stay where he was while they backed their patrol boat away to write him a citation, but Fort told officers that if they wanted to cite him, they would have to go to his slip – a docking space for his boat, according to the complaint.

Officers reported ordering Fort three times to remain where he was, but Fort is accused of disobeying orders by returning to his slip anyway, according to the report.

Fort pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his attorney before the trial began indicated his intentions to argue that DNR officers – at least those who are part-time – are not "real" officers.
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