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Rotary Happenings: Rotarians hear from Fort Myers police chief

By ROTARY CLUB - | Oct 20, 2020

Last week’s speaker at the hybrid Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club meeting was Police Chief Derrick Diggs, with the city of Fort Myers. He has been with the department since 2016 and shared with us the advances of the Fort Myers Police Department.

The department was formed in 1885 when there were 349 residents and now, in 2020, there are 246 sworn officers, over 100 civilian employees and over 97,000 residents within the city limits. Yet despite this growth, the city has the impressive statistic that it has the lowest crime rate in its history. This is largely in part to the training of the officers, the advancement of technology throughout the city and the community engagement programs that Diggs implemented, with his favorite being the youth-based programs. The department’s motto is “True Blue, True to Our Community, True to Our Commitment and True to Our City.”

Fort Myers uses citywide police surveillance cameras, license plate readers, a gunshot detection system, officer body cameras and dash cameras. The systems are used in critical areas, city properties and parks, and identified crime areas. These advances in technology allow the police officers to have more accurate and up-to-date information to help monitor and prevent crimes from happening.

The city also received the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (C.A.L.E.A.) Accreditation. The program is a rigorous opportunity for departments to go beyond basic best practices and provide agencies additional means to achieve the highest level of professionalism possible. In 2016, the Fort Myers police began reviewing and updating all policies to prepare the department for accreditation. The task involved every member of the agency and, in the end, the commission praised the department on the commitment shown to bring all policies inline with national best practices.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club holds a meeting on Fridays at 7:30 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel, and via Zoom. To attend in person, email Bill Harkey at William.Harkey@gmail.com; attendance is limited to 20 people. To take part via Zoom, call 239-472-7257. For more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.