FORT MYERS, Fla. — Fort Myers City Council held their bi-monthly meeting tonight.
On the agenda- whether or not to propose a new contract to current City Police Chief Derrick Diggs. The proposal to renew Chief Diggs’ contract comes after he was being considered for the Chief of Police in Columbus, Ohio. Now that he’s out of the running, residents of Fort Myers want to see him stay.
“There’s been a lot of good stuff that’s happening in our city and I thank God for the crime rate going down," said one resident. "But let’s do things that will make me feel comfortable when it comes to the crime rate.”
Those who spoke in favor of Diggs pointed to the reduction of crime throughout the city since his appointment. According to a recent report from FMPD, Fort Myers has seen a 50.6% reduction in violent crime from 2016 through 2020.
“The man has experience and he needs to be paid according to his experience," said another resident who spoke during public comment.
Diggs’ current contract keeps him as Fort Myers Police Chief until August. Though he was not present in-person, Chief Diggs was listening to the meeting via Zoom. A number of residents stood up to speak on behalf of him, a majority in favor of seeing the police chief receive a renewed contract.
“This chief has earned the respect of the people he represents and, therefore, should be treated with respect from our City Council and our new City Manager," said one resident.
“Give him an opportunity to continue this work that he has done," said another resident.
Council members then voted unanimously to move forward with the negotiation process, under one condition- that the chief, himself, says he wants to stay on.
“Chief Diggs, do you want to be with us? We hope you says ‘yes’ and we can start negotiating a contract," said Johnny Streets, Council Member of Ward 2.
“My commitment to improving the public safety in the City of Fort Myers is unwavering," responded Diggs. "So I want to thank you for your support and if this council and this community wants me to remain as Chief of Police, I’m willing to stay here and perform those duties, sir.”
The next step in this process will be for the City Manager to meet with Chief Diggs. Together, the two will begin contract negotiations.