FORT MYERS, Fla. — A moment of silence for 21-year-old Polk County Sheriff Deputy Blane Lane, who was killed in the line of duty, set the tone of solidarity amongst multiple law enforcement agencies.
Wednesday, Fort Myers Police (FMPD) held a press conference to speak about the partnership between FMPD, Cape Coral Police (CCPD), Medley Police, West Miami Police and Coral Gables Police.
“We also owe a debt of gratitude to law enforcement agencies from south Florida that have come to back us up in our time of need,” said FMPD Deputy Chief Randy Pepitone.
A need indeed as many police officers are still without power or running water, yet still patrolling the streets to keep the community safe.
“We’ve been through hurricanes and the command level of a police department, we’ve done that before, but we have never seen anything to the level of what we have seen after Hurricane Ian.”
In a state of uncertainty, while scrambling to figure out who to call for help, CCPD Police Chief Anthony Sizemore said the Miami Dade Police Association reached out to lend a helping hand.
“They know the challenges ahead, and without asking and without question they began sending resources that were so desperately needed," Chief Sizemore said.
All agencies are banding together to rotate shifts to give police officers a break.
“They have assisted with traffic direction, road patrols, actually riding with our officers, police dispatching and 911 calls," said Lieutenant Roger Valdivia.
The police chief of Coral Gables assured the community that he and his team will be in the area as long as the community needs them. We asked FMPD Deputy Chief Pepitone, through all of this what has been the biggest challenge. He said people not following the basic rules.
“Like the curfew from nine to six, when you are approaching an intersection where the traffic controls are down, not treating it like a 4 way stop and the disruptions at gas stations," Deputy Chief Pepitone said. “Our officers are out there patrolling, trying to protect homes that have been evacuated from looting so they need to concentrate on that instead of having to deal with unnecessary traffic, and traffic crashes. “
The Fort Myers curfew is from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am.