Substation near Club Blu part of police outreach effort

FORT MYERS, Fla. A substation near the site where a mass shooting took place last year is part of an effort to bring police closer to the community, Chief Derrick Diggs said.

City Council on Monday gave its approval for a Fort Myers Police Department substation on 3585 Fowler St., part of the Carrell Corners plaza. It’s the same plaza that housed the now-shuttered Club Blu, where two were killed and 18 were injured in a July 2016 shooting.

Two teddy bears still sit outside, remnants of a once-sizable makeshift memorial.

Officers will be assigned to the substation, and people can go there to file complaints and use the space for neighborhood meetings.

“The idea of the substations is to get the officers closer to the citizens in the neighborhood,” Diggs said. “I think it’s a true measure of what you want to call community policing.”

Diggs expects the Fowler Street substation to be up and running in the next 60 to 90 days. Carrell Corners will pay all building costs and provide the space rent-free for three years.

Five other sites are under consideration for substations, one of 25 recommendations listed in a scathing audit of the police department released in February.

Four are clustered around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard — by the Renaissance Preserve assisted living facility, by the Sabal Palm apartments, and in the Harlem Lakes and Dunbar neighborhoods. The other would go by the Horizons Apartments on Summerlin Road.

Department headquarters are downtown on 2210 Widman Way.

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