Lack of transparency in the investigations of the Fort Myers Police Dept
A lack of transparency as Fort Myers police officers are sitting at-home on administrative leave. Despite the ongoing investigation, we know little about what is going on. Neither does the Fort Myers City Council Members.
Johnny Streets, a Fort Myers city councilman and former Fort Myers Police Dept. officer, is frustrated with the lack of information about investigations into three local police officers. He said we know the same information about the FMPD officers as when the investigation started.
Two-and-a-half years later, the department put Officer Jason Jackson and Captain Melvin Perry, along with two other officers who have since retired, on paid administrative leave amid a secret federal investigation.
“I can’t talk about the investigation because I don’t know,” Streets said. “I just know it is not normal and having come from law enforcement it’s not normal to have taken this long.”
The controversy started in 2016 when the Freeh Group came to town to investigate the FMPD. Part of the final report, which has three pages nearly entirely redacted, details allegations against the officers now on leave.
There may be only one person in Fort Myers who knows what is behind those redaction. It is FMPD Chief Derrick Diggs. WINK News requested comment and Chief Diggs said he could not talk about it.
As part of a separate case, the department had placed Captain Jay Rodriguez on paid leave seven months ago, when a video surfaced from a 2013 prostitution sting. The video appears to show Captain Rodriguez participating in a sex act while undercover.
We asked the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement for an update on Captain Rodriguez’s case. The FDLE said it is still under investigation.
Street said the “no comments” and lack of information given to the community is frustrating, especially since taxpayers are paying them to sit on the sidelines. Streets said the law enforcement personnel should not be on paid leave.
“I think they would be somewhere doing something,” Streets said, “to at least earn that check they are getting.”
Captain Rodriguez has collected over $51,000 while on leave. The two other officers, total over $430,000 combined, which is a big price tag for taxpayers who do not even know what they are accused of doing.
“There’s a cloud out there and we don’t know if it’s going to rain on us or if it’s going to move away and give us sunshine,” Streets said. “I hope it’s sunshine.”