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History of CCPD begins with one; First deputy, son speak to residents

By Staff | Oct 15, 2008

Before the Cape Coral Police Department came along in 1971, Val Everly broke up underage drinking parties, curbed speeders and kept Cape Coral safe and secure.

Everly was a deputy with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office under former Sheriff Flanders “Snag” Thompson, and was asked by Thompson to work as the first resident deputy of Cape Coral. He worked as a special deputy in 1960 during Hurricane Donna.

By the time Cape Coral became incorporated in 1970, Everly worked with only 10 deputies for all of Lee County north of the Caloosahatchee River.

Everly, who retired in 1990 as a captain, was a guest speaker Tuesday during a meeting with the Cape Coral Historical Society, along with his son, former Cape Coral Assistant Police Chief Todd Everly.

“I used to like to break up all the young folks’ beer parties,” Everly said. “I enjoyed working out here.”

Everly said he would tell the younger Cape residents not to drink, then he would leave and wait about an hour before returning to break up the parties.

“I’ve had some good officers,” Everly said.

Todd Everly remembers when Del Prado was a dirt road.

“Cape Coral’s not what it used to be,” he said. “Things have changed dramatically; crime’s probably going to go up a little bit, and that’s going to go nation-wide, but it’ll level out.”

Todd praised the work of Rob Petrovich, the current Cape Coral Police Chief, who he said faces a tough job in the face of economic hardship and a growing population.

“Chief Petrovich is handling the job very well,” he said. “Cape Coral was one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. It’s easy to be a good chief when things are going well.”

Todd went to the police academy with Petrovich, and said Petrovich maintains the efficiency of the police department despite a shrinking budget.

Despite several unsolved murder cases, including the 1990 slaying of 11-year-old Robin Cornell, the Cape Coral Police Department has been consistent in making an arrest in every homicide case in the past three years, he said.

Though crime and population seem to go hand in hand — the population of Cape Coral is currently about 160,000 — the growth of technology has given CCPD a plethora of tools to use against criminals.

Things such as computer-aided dispatch, laptop terminals in patrol cars, automatic vehicle location systems for dispatchers to know where patrol cars are located, cameras in patrol cars and Tasers have shifted the way law enforcement operates, Todd said.

President for the Historical Society, Paul Sanborn, said there was no Cape Coral Police Department when the Gulf American Land Corporation asked him to take charge of the city’s “security force.”

As a community development worker, Sanborn has had many jobs with the city, including managing the Cape Coral Yacht Club and the Teen Club, and he was even put in charge of swales in the Cape.

“They said, ‘You’re in charge of swales,'” Sanborn said. “I said, ‘I don’t know what a swale is.'”

The Cape Coral Historical Society features guest speakers to discuss the history of the city each month.

The historical museum is located at 544 Cultural Park Blvd. and is open Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. For more information, call 772-7037.