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Fort Myers City Council to read the book ‘The State of American Policing’

Posted at 8:55 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 20:55:41-04

FORT MYERS, FL. — Fort Myers City Council members left Monday's meeting with a summer reading assignment.

Council members will be reading the book called 'The State of American Policing,' written by Florida Gulf Coast University Professor Dr. David Thomas.

Dr. Thomas, a retired police officer, says "The State of American Policing" is a compilation of his own life experiences and what he witnessed as a police officer for 20 years.

"If you take that experience that I had then back in the '60s and early '70s that is no different than the experiences that this generation is experiencing now," said Dr. Thomas.

The book covers hot-button issues, including police culture, implicit bias, and the decision to use deadly force.

"I know both sides are angry and nobody's listening, and until they sit down and have meaningful conversations, there won't be change," said Dr. Thomas.

During Monday's council meeting, Councilman Johnny Streets suggested every council member read the book.

"I would ask that you purchase this book for every council member," said Streets.

"It talks about psychology, behavior problems, and solutions, not scapegoating."

Streets, who was part of the Fort Myers Police Department for 26-years and is now retired, says the book provides an insight into what is happening between communities of color and law enforcement.

"This is why this is an experience for my council members and colleagues to get some kind of infrastructure understanding of what really goes on in a day to day basis," said Streets.

The book also provides an analysis of the Fort Myers Police Department.

Streets says he hopes this book will lay the foundation needed for change.

"A change, a change of how we may look at things as we move forward together, not one having their own agenda but moving together, being inclusive of all citizens in our respective wards."

Fort Myers City Manager Saeed Kazemi said he would order the books for the council members.

Councilman Streets says he would like to have Dr. Thomas join in on future discussions with the City of Fort Myers.