A sergeant with the Marion Police Department is being tried today on charges he violated no-wake boundaries at the Coralville Reservoir in August and then refused to follow officer orders.
Marion Sgt. Phil Fort faces charges of interference with official acts and violation of no-wake buoys after water patrol officers with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources caught him operating a boat at the reservoir at 4:36 p.m. Aug. 19 in violation of the buoys, according to a criminal complaint.
Fort, 38, of Marion, was not on duty at the time. Officers reported telling him to stay where he was while they backed the patrol boat away to write him a citation, according to the complaint. Fort, according to the report, 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 case on Friday was set for trial today.
The jury trial is expected to last one day. Attorneys this morning are in the process of selecting six jurors to hear the case.
Before beginning jury selection, attorneys presented issues they expect to come up during the trial. Fort’s defense attorney indicated that he intends to argue that DNR officers – at least those who are part-time – are not “real” officers.