CAPE CORAL — A Fort Myers City Council member is responding after three of the city’s police officers were put on administrative leave.
The officers were off-duty and may have been involved in a fight at the Dixie Roadhouse Bar in Cape Coral. Council Member Kevin Anderson couldn’t talk about specifics because the state’s attorney is still investigating, but he said, if those officers were involved in a fight, it could be another black eye on a department trying to improve its reputation.
“Any time there’s an allegation of wrongdoing, I find it very concerning. It’s very disturbing," said Anderson.
Anderson used to work for FMPD. He said he knows from personal experience, the department is committed to serving the public.
“Overwhelming majority of the police department are men and women who are very dedicated and committed and highly professional law enforcement officers. Any organization you’re with, you’re going to have a few who cause trouble," said Anderson.
It wasn’t long ago that another FMPD officer caused trouble at the Dixie Roadhouse. In 2015, officer Trevor Lehman resigned after being accused of shoving a man to the ground at the bar.
And last year, FMPD Captain Jay Rodriguez was charged with soliciting a prostitute on the job.
But Anderson said those individual cases don’t reflect the reality of the department as a whole.
“Is there a culture of misconduct or corruption? Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? Not likely," said Anderson.
And Anderson said, the city is making sure that corruption and misconduct are less and less likely.
“We did just hire an inspector general, who will not only oversee the investigation process when there’s allegations, but he’s also working on procedures and policies to ensure that the officers remain well-trained and highly-professional," said Anderson.
Moving forward, Anderson said he just feels bad for the officers just doing their jobs, who now have to endure more scrutiny after another incident.
“I’m concerned with the individual complaints that happen, because I also realize how it does impact the officers who are not doing anything wrong," said Anderson.
We have requested the body camera and the dash camera footage from the department to try to get a better idea of what that night, but it may be a while before it’s released due to the ongoing investigation.