DOJ grant to create jobs in the Fort Myers Police Department

Fort Myers City Council members say staffing at the police department is a concern, but they’re working to get more officers on the force.

Leaders assure even after a new Department of Justice grant runs out those officers will still have a job.

“It’s always good to have protection, more protection,” said resident Desiree Wilson.

People we spoke to agree – hiring more officers to help protect the community is a good thing.

Wilson said, “There’s a lot of areas that need it and officers are needed regardless of how many we always need them.”

More police could soon be a reality.

Fort Myers City Council members are discussing a more than $1.1 million federal grant that would be used to hire nine additional officers.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Justice would provide the salaries and benefits for those officers until 2020.

“What’s going to happen when the money runs out?” Wilson asked.

We took that question to council member Teresa Watkins Brown, “We’ve already made provisions to say that we will hire them and place in our budget to be able to keep them on.”

On Wednesday a more than $4 million grant from FEMA to the Fort Myers Fire Department will run out, putting several people out of a job but Brown says that won’t be the case with this grant.

The new officers will eventually be hired on full time and will help man the police substations.

“It’s a good thing for the community and for the city to know that we have law enforcement officers that are going to be trained and that are going to be able to stay around,” Brown said.

We reached out for comment but the Fort Myers Police Department said they can’t comment on the grant until after the city council meeting Monday.

Reporter:Andrea Henderson