Law Enforcement

A bill requiring autism awareness training for law enforcement officers is now heading to the House floor.

John Davis / WGCU News

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

John Davis, WGCU

Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs took over the job of police chief position in August. Since then, he's pushed for more community engagement and equipped all of his officers with body cameras.

He's also seen the public release of a scathing audit that described a department crippled by a loss of personnel, allegations of corruption, and an understaffed police force failing to address "emerging threats" like growing gang violence.

When crimes like the Pulse nightclub shooting or the shootings at the Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport occur, there are two major responses by law enforcement.

First, there's the immediate, tactical reply. Then there's the forensic investigation.

A center that brings training for those two stages together under one roof is in the works in Pasco County, and University of South Florida researchers are playing a major role.

Photos: Punta Gorda Police Department Facebook and website

The Punta Gorda police officer who shot and killed a local woman in an August citizens demonstration has been charged with manslaughter. The city's police chief also faces a charge of culpable negligence in the shooting death of 73-year-old Mary Knowlton.