An independent audit of the Fort Myers Police Department revealed unsolved murders, growing gang violence, and a department that has lacked the leadership or experience to address those problems. FMPD’s new chief Derrick Diggs was on WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live recently talking about the report and about what’s next.
When Derrick Diggs became chief of the FMPD back in August, he started holding community outreach sessions. He told a WGCU reporter at one of those meetings that the lack of trust in some parts of the area is “far, far greater” than he anticipated. And this recent report by Freeh Group International Solutions outlined why: officers were directed to be tough rather than build relationships. Chief Diggs said he was initially frustrated by the audit results. But he said something like this was needed.
"We're talking about bridging the gap between the communities," said Diggs. "We have deep divisions between the communities and the police department. What better way to bring an outside auditing agency to determine what those needs are?"
Extended Conversation: Chief Derrick Diggs And The State Of The Fort Myers Police Department
Diggs said about 200 police officers were interviewed by the auditors, and he said those conversations formed the basis of the final report.
"They didn't just come in here and find all this stuff out. It was the police officers themselves, the good officers that wana come out and protect this community and have been serving in this community for years," he said.
Diggs said the FMPD will embrace the report and implement all 32 of the audit’s recommendations, like number one that says the department should request outside assistance to investigate allegations of officer misconduct.
Below is the complete 72-page audit report of the FMPD from Freeh Group International Solutions.