FMPD chief addresses mistrust, violence within community

FORT MYERS, Fla. Hundreds of city, state and faith-based leaders voiced their concerns about Fort Myers police Tuesday to Chief Derrick Diggs.

Lee Interfaith for Empowerment, a group of Lee County churches committed to social justice, will meet with the chief at St. Columbkille Catholic Church to address the alleged corruption and inadequate resources detailed in a scathing investigation into the department.

“I think the report validated the voices of those who said we have issues that need to be addressed,” said the Rev. William Glover, senior pastor at Mount Hermon Ministries.
A lack of justice for killings has left many in the community with hard feelings toward the department.

In the past five years, 48 unsolved murders have taken place within the city.

Diggs plans to assign cold case detectives for past cases, finding safer locations for witnesses to communicate with detectives and reestablishing a police substation in Dunbar.

“The Freeh Report did recommend for a substation in the Dunbar area and we’re working as fast as we can to get one down there,” he said.

There’s been a 33 percent decrease in homicides, Diggs said, but in order to continue lowering that number, he needs the community’s support.

“Support the Freeh report like I am going to support it, embrace the report like I’m trying to embrace it, and work with us as we try to accomplish those recommendations,” he said.

While this meeting was closed to the public, community members will have the opportunity to have their voices heard Wednesday night at Dunbar High School from from 6 to 8 p.m.

Reporter:Britni McDonald
Kelsey Kushner