Photo by WINK News.

Councilman proposing elimination of Fort Myers police internal affairs dept.

A city council member wants to bring in an outside agency to police Fort Myers Police Department. This comes as two police captains are accused in separate investigations. One law enforcement expert said he feels bad for the police chief.

Fort Myers City Council will discuss a plan to eliminate Fort Myers Police Department’s internal affairs department at its regular scheduled meeting Monday, March 4.

“Every person that he tries to trust ends up in some way, there’s some dirt or something in their past that’s become a form a betrayal,” said Dr. David Thomas, FGCU professor and forensic psychologist.

Thomas told WINK News the move by the city is uncommon for police departments. The idea is they can police themselves. Thomas said the upcoming discussion on Monday shows the council members have lost trust in the police department.

Captain William Newhouse is accused of mishandling a homicide case, and Captain Jay Rodriguez is accused of engaging in a sex act during an undercover prostitution sting.

Thomas said the department’s best option is having another law enforcement agency help them temporarily.

“Now you’re asking them to circumvent their work in order to address your problems,” Thomas said. “Unless you assign someone temporarily and then they pay the agency back for them.”

Members of the public continue to see the department for the positive work they perform in the community.

“They do an amazing job here in Fort Myers,” Jeremy Griffith said. “They put their life on the line for us.”

But, public opinion is mixed.

“We want to know that they’re real people and not just people with badges,” Colley Rollman said.

Councilman Johnny Streets plans to introduce the proposal at the council meeting next week. The meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

Thomas believes the upcoming discussion at the city chambers is the appropriate first step.

“Show that you have integrity in the department and winning the community back,” Thomas said. “Those are the two things.”

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
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