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Fort Myers Acting Police Chief discusses downtown safety adjustments

Randall Pepitone
Posted at 5:35 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-19 19:09:52-04

UPDATE (8/19/22) - Jasmine Battle, wanted in relation to the early Sunday morning shooting in Downtown Fort Myers, has turned herself into Fort Myers Police custody.

On Friday, in his first interview as acting Fort Myers Police Chief, Randall Pepitone gave Fox 4 an update after city council members have spent all week suggesting other downtown safety policies.

While Chief Derrick Diggs is on a temporary personal leave, Pepitone said the meetings with city council members Johhny Streets and Liston Bochette have gone well.

“We look at all the suggestions that they give us, some of the suggestions were already doing,” said Pepitone.

Suggestions from council members during these meetings can be found by clicking here.

“From these meetings, we've had discussions and we are going to adjust our tactics a little bit,” said Pepitone.

Tactics Pepitone said he can't’ giveaway.

Pepitone did talk about what he feels officers can do better when working downtown.

One idea is to promote more communication between officers and people who visit the clubs and bars.

Pepitone said this adjustment came after saying he watched security camera footage of the night police say 29-year-old Jasmine Battle shot someone in the parking lot.

“After the fact, we saw that we had officers in the parking lot walk right by the suspect (Battle) and nobody in the crowd pulled anybody aside and said hey, you might want to look over there,” said Pepitone.

It is the same parking lot off Second Street, where the Lee County Sheriff's Office mobile surveillance unit, is set up.

Pepitone said he feels like the setup could help discourage similar crimes.

“And that goes to being a visual deterrent because we have cameras that cover that whole area but our cameras have been there so long they blend into the background,” said Pepitone.

Fox 4 has previously reported that other ideas such as a curfew have been ruled out as a last resort by several council members.

Pepitone said ideas of installing checkpoints for certain areas of the city, are possible if the city chooses to go that route.