Proposed FMPD deputy chief named

Randall L. Pepitone (Photo via Facebook)

FORT MYERS, Fla. Randall L. Pepitone, who retired in January after 31 years with the Toledo, Ohio Police Department, is slated to become a deputy chief with the Fort Myers Police Department.

City council members will vote on Pepitone’s hiring during the May 15 council meeting, according to an agenda released Monday night.

If approved, Pepitone will receive a two-year contract with an annual salary of $118,000.

Pepitone would be Fort Myers police’s second leadership hire from Toledo. Police Chief Derrick Diggs retired after 37 years with Toledo police before being hired in Fort Myers.

Pepitone, who retired as a lieutenant in Toledo police’s crime suppression unit, received the department’s Blue Star Medal Award in 2013 after he was accidentally shot in the side of the head by a 92-year-old woman who mistook him for a burglary suspect.

Pepitone’s hiring would, in part, satisfy the second recommendation outlined in a scathing audit of the Fort Myers Police Department. Released in February, the audit alleged cronyism, lack of effective leadership, corruption and limited resources that damaged the agency’s reputation and morale for years.

More than 200 current and former department employees were interviewed for the audit, which was done at the request of City Manager Saeed Kazemi.

“The current management structure of four captains unfortunately causes information to be ‘siloed’ into four separate segments of the department,” the report said. “As a result, communication within the department is severely curtailed. There should be a position inserted above captain that improves accountability within each bureau and insures the chief is fully informed.”

The recommendation also noted that the department previously had a deputy chief position and suggested hiring two temporary deputy chiefs.

City council members approved the hiring of a deputy chief in March, but it was not immediately clear Monday night if Pepitone will be the first or second person hired into that position.

This story is the latest in WINK News’ continuing series about the FMPD audit.