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Petrovich, Scott react to Fort Myers chief’s retirement; Department heads praise colleague

By Staff | Mar 26, 2008

Fort Myers Police Chief Hilton Daniels formally announced Tuesday that he is planning to retire July 30. Reacting to Daniels’ plans, Cape Coral Police Chief Rob Petrovich and Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott reflected on their personal and working relationships with the longtime Fort Myers policeman.

“I have known Chief Daniels for most of my 24 years at (the Cape Coral Police Department). We both rose through the ranks to become police chiefs in our respective agencies,” said Petrovich in a written statement Tuesday. “It has always been ‘Hilton’ and ‘Rob’ through the years. I always felt that I could simply pick up the phone, or visa versa, and discuss issues of mutual interest.”

Daniels began his career with the Fort Myers Police Department as a patrolman in 1978, and was promoted to detective in 1980. He worked with narcotics and violent crimes, and rose to the rank of assistant chief over the next 20 years.

He was named police chief of FMPD by Mayor Jim Humphrey in July 2001.

“The importance of area law enforcement agencies working together in the full spirit of cooperation is essential, and that is the way it has been with (the Fort Myers Police Department), (the Lee County Sheriff’s Office) and other surrounding jurisdictions,” said Petrovich. “I look forward to and welcome his successor with the hope that the relationship we have had in the past and present will continue into the future.

My best regards and wishes for Chief Daniels and his family,” he added.

Scott had a similar regard for Daniels, citing joint achievements and a long-running personal relationship.

I’ve known Chief Daniels for 30 years,” he said.

Scott said he is particularly proud of the formation of a joint policing annex for Fort Myers and Lee County officials in the Dunbar community, a merger he credits Daniels with playing a critical role in.

I think history will show that on the major high-profile events, he’s weathered a lot of storms there, and always seemed to have the same even keel through very stressful times,” said Scott. “I know he’s been a good chief; I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work with him.

“Looking back on those 30 years he worked in law enforcement, I’m sure he’s glad to get out in one piece,” he added.

Scott said he attended Daniels’ mother’s funeral recently and that Daniels has two relatives who work for LCSO: his son, Travis Daniels, and another relative, Bobby Godwin, who is a helicopter pilot. Scott called Daniels’ son a “very, very good officer.”

“It was a pleasure to serve the city of Fort Myers,” said Daniels in a prepared statement. “I will leave with pride in what we as a department in partnership with the community have accomplished over the years, specifically the seven years I have directed the force. My retirement will allow me to spend more time with my family after a very demanding career.”

Scott also credits Daniels with transitioning FMPD squad cars to a black and white color scheme, something he calls “trivial” in comparison to some of Daniels’ other accomplishments, but approves of nonetheless.

“I think the black and whites look phenomenal,” he said.