Fort Myers Police Dept. plans to move HQ to The News-Press building by early 2020

The Fort Myers Police Dept. will have a new home within the next 18 months. The city said it should give officers more training space and tactical support at the soon-to-be former News-Press building.

10 years old Kenneth Patzandelima and his family live nearby the latest shooting in Fort Myers.

”When I heard those I was like, ‘oh my gosh someone is shooting a gun,'” Kenneth said. ”I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.”

Families in a Fort Myers neighborhood want to know if an updated police department at The News-Press press building could make the city’s streets safer. Dr. David Thomas, a forensics professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, said the new FMPD headquarters could impede crime.

“Most agencies today, if they’re built in the 70s and 80s,” Dr. Thomas said, “they really don’t have the technology and infrastructure to carry on policing.”

Dr. Thomas said a building of that size is what it needs to keep up with police technology. However, he does not see the headquarters helping to expand recruitment because the new generation does not want to do that job.

But the hope is a new shooting range, fleet management facilities and more space will be enough. If the FMPD gets an approval from the City Council on Sept. 23, the plan is to start construction by early 2020.

“That’s going to make me proud of them,” Patzandelima said. “That’s going to make me happy, so I can never hear those gunshots again.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly mentioned a neighborhood outside FMPD jurisdiction, unrelated to the story.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Michael Mora
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