Fort Myers City Council member Johnny Streets asking for more transparency from FMPD

Published: December 14, 2021 5:20 PM EST
Updated: December 14, 2021 6:16 PM EST

A former cop, and elected official, is fighting behind the scenes after learning about law enforcement issues through WINK News coverage.

It comes after three officers were suspended and recommended for termination yet allowed to keep their job.

Fort Myers City Council member Johnny Streets says he had no clue this was happening until he saw our story.

Because of that, he wants better communication and more transparency between the police department and the public it works to protect.

Streets said, “let’s get this out there. Let’s find out, where did we go wrong?”

That’s how Streets describes his reaction after first learning about time card issues allegedly occurring for years at the Fort Myers Police Department.

WINK News first told you about the claims of inflating hours nearly three weeks ago. Three FMPD officers internally investigated after getting paid with taxpayer dollars for overtime they never worked. Chief Derrick Diggs allowed them to keep their jobs despite an investigator recommending termination.

Streets served on the force for 27 years and had no idea about it until watching our story.

“Before? None. Absolutely nothing” said Streets.

The information jolted him into action.

He says he’s met with City Manager Marty Lawing, whose job description is in part: “Overseeing the day-to-day operations and providing direction for all city departments.”

FMPD has also informed WINK News that it has updated its time card system to avoid similar issues, and the officers paid back some of the overtime.

Last week, Streets also questioned the ‘state of the department’ at a city council meeting.

“The police bill of rights does not supersede the Constitution of the United States.”

Mayor Kevin Anderson contributed to the discussion saying, “we’ve made a lot of progress here in Fort Myers. There’s always room for more.”

But the other city council members chose to watch the discussion.

Streets said, “let’s create a transparency path here so that people will know what we’re doing and how we’re doing and that it’s not about someone having their own agenda.”

Streets says he’s been assured about the city and police department’s direction and integrity, but he didn’t leave those meetings feeling entirely convinced.

“It’s under review and investigation. We can’t talk about it. That may be your view, but that’s not good enough,” said Streets. “We have betrayed the public’s trust.”

WINK News asked streets explicitly; Does he believe in Chief Diggs?

Streets responded by saying, “I believe the chief needs to… He has a job to do.”

WINK News Reporter Peter Fleischer followed up, asking, “you didn’t say yes or no. Do you believe in the police chief?”

Streets said, “I do believe in the police chief. But it’s like saying something else: does the police chief believe in us?”

Again, Streets wants more transparency and communication moving forward, and he believes the public deserves the same.

Streets said, “silence, if we don’t say anything, is betrayal. And we can’t sit silently by.”

WINK News reached out several times to every Fort Myers City Council member, but only Streets agreed to speak with us on-camera.

WINK News also contacted FMPD about an interview with Chief Diggs and has not heard back.