Fort Myers to assign more officers to city high schools

Fort Myers Police Department will continue its school resource officer program in city schools, Chief Derrick Diggs confirmed at a special meeting Monday.

Chief Diggs was passionate while he spoke alongside Fort Myers City Council. He wanted to make sure his message was clear: He wants his SROs in Fort Myers schools, even wanting to expand the program.

Diggs said the meeting started with a rumor that he was pulling them out, but that’s not the case.

Mayor Kevin Anderson also agrees SROs are essential to school safety, speaking from his own experience.

“I’ve had the experience of having been a school resource officer for five years, so I know the impact that good school resource officers can have on young people,” Anderson said.

Anderson credits most of his success on his time as an SRO.

“I don’t think I would be mayor today had I not spent five years in schools,” Anderson said. “Because of the relationships I’ve built over the years and maintained even after I left the schools and after kids graduated.”

During the meeting, a decision was made to add more officers to Fort Myers High School and Dunbar High School and also squashing rumors about Diggs pulling his officers out of schools.

“Not true,” Diggs said. “That’s the way it is.”

Diggs wants to expand his SRO program and keep kids safe. That’s exactly what will happen, with the ruling passed by council.

The city directed the city manager and chief of police to work out the money to fund the additional SROs until they can finalize the budget for 2021-22.

School begins on Aug. 10.

Both Anderson and Diggs expressed their happiness with the decision.

“I’m very pleased,” Diggs said. “I’m glad council is going to support us as we continue to work with our kids in this community.”

“It’s not just about providing security on the campus,” Anderson said. “It’s also about taking advantage of the opportunity to build relationships with the kids and hopefully direct them.”

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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