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Chief's experience in Fort Myers may help qualify him for the position in Ohio

Posted at 9:25 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 21:25:16-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs has confirmed he’s applied to be chief in Columbus, Ohio.

Tonight, we’re bringing you some deeper perspective on some of the factors that brought Chief Diggs to Southwest Florida in the first place. Factors that may be part of the reason he might end up going to Columbus.

MORE: Fort Myers Police Chief may be leaving Southwest Florida

Fort Myers City Council hired Diggs five years ago, when department morale and relations with the community, especially black Fort Myers residents, were at a low.

Diggs acknowledged the department’s troubled history and even threw his support behind having the U.S. Justice Department looking into what was happening at FMPD. That kind of federal oversight is something most chiefs try to avoid.

These days, Chief Diggs has received mostly positive reviews from city and community leaders about his stewardship of the department. He’s often given credit for improving internal morale and building trust with the community.

Chief Diggs might be able to point to some of those accolades as the reason he might be the right fit to be chief in Columbus, which seems to befacing similar challenges as Fort Myers did five years ago. This week, the Columbus Mayor asked the Federal Justice Department to investigate his city’s police department.

This comes in the wake of the police killing of a black 15-year-old, who police say was a stabbing threat to another teen. The city's mayor says a “culture change” is needed in the Columbus Police Department. A phrase we often heard used to describe the Fort Myers Police Department for many years.

Chief Diggs acknowledged the call for change when he confirmed that he had applied for the Columbus chief job. He referred to “tumultuous times” as he said was prudent to apply for the job in Ohio. He also said he’s happy living and serving Fort Myers. His current contract with the city expires in august.

We want to know what you think. Visit our Facebook and let us know your review of the chief's time on the job so far. Would you like him to stay? Tell us why or why not.