King to launch citizen police advisory board
Recent controversies involving Cape Coral Police officers have led City Manager Gary King to say he hopes to change the department’s “culture” through several community based initiatives.
King said he will launch a “community engagement program” in February in order to assess the department.
“It’s going to deal with all aspects of assessing the culture and behaviors of the police department and perceptions of the community,” King said Monday. “We want to literally change the culture of the police department to match what the community expects of it.”
Recent controversies include: Former Police Chief Rob Petrovich’s son being indicted in a mortgage fraud scheme, discovery of 11 police officers receiving monetary reimbursement for college credits they did not complete and two police officers getting into an argument while on the clock.
King said those police officers who were paid for college credits they did not earn did not submit false documentation claiming they had the credits.
King also said the two sergeants recently involved in an argument did not do anything that would lend itself to a criminal investigation, according to the state attorney’s office.
These instances have led to “frustration” in the community, King said, and is leading to these new initiatives.
The community engagement program will include launching a series of focus groups with citizens coordinated by an FGCU professor. There will also be a citizens advisory board, King said, that will help to “rebrand” the city’s police department.
“You will see a very visible process with that,” King said.
Mayor John Sullivan said the next incident between employees might involve not police officers but employees from different departments, and the city hall parking lot could descend into Cape Coral’s very own shootout at the O.K. Corral.
“I call it the O.K. Corral syndrome,” Sullivan said.