Published: Aug 12, 2010 3:59 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 12, 2010 12:59 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Fort Myers Police Department is celebrating its 125th Anniversary. Since 1885 police have worked tirelessly around the clock to support, protect and defend its citizens.

“We are celebrating 125 years of everyday heroes who keep our City safe. History helps determine the path ahead. So as we look back on our profession rich in policing tradition we’ve made great strides in improving the quality of the services we deliver today while we plan for tomorrow,” said Chief Doug Baker.

In the 1880’s the Village of Fort Myers was part of Monroe County and the closest law enforcement was the Sheriff stationed in Key West, Florida. At the time Sheriff G.A. Demerritt was forced to travel for days on horseback or vessel to assist the community.

In 1885, The Village of Fort Myers, with a population of 349, chose to establish its own government and law enforcement agency. On August 12th the villagers gathered and appointed Columbus L. Oliver to be the first Marshal of Fort Myers. His primary duty was to utilize police power to stop the cowboys from disturbing the peace with their boisterous celebrations. Sixteen Marshals and more than twenty chiefs have served the City over the years. Today the City’s population exceeds 68,000.

In celebration of the 125th Anniversary, in the coming weeks, officers will receive an anniversary badge and patch. The patch features “The Fort” or guard shack that protected the City in the 1850’s and symbolizes the beginning of the department. The badge depicts the department’s core values and where it is today.

“We will wear them with great pride,” said Chief Baker. They represent a long history of commitment to improving the quality of life for citizens.”

*An 1885 City Ordinance “Fast Driving” said that every person who shall ride horseback faster than a slow gallop in the town limits would forfeit and pay a sum not exceeding ten dollars. In 2010 the average speeding ticket costs $159.*