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Fort Myers city leaders to discuss policy changes and crime prevention strategies with police

Fort Myers Police Department
Posted at 5:05 PM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 17:35:41-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — After an early Sunday morning shooting in downtown Fort Myers, across from City Hall, Fort Myers Police responded to city council members who said they wanted safety changes.

That police response came after some city council members said at a city council meeting on Monday they wanted safety improvements like new lights and police policy changes.

As the search for the shooting suspect enters a second day, we asked Major Jason Fields with the Fort Myers Police Department (FMPD) if any policy changes are currently in the works.

“No we don't have any policy changes,” said Fields.

Fields' response came one night after councilman Liston Bochette, who represents the downtown area, reiterated his priorities to make downtown safety changes.

“I often times go downtown at midnight and later and it's uncomfortable,” said Bochette.

On Tuesday, Councilmen Bochette was unable to speak with me on camera but told me he thinks police policy changes will happen.

I asked Major Fields if FMPD would be open to potential changes from city leaders.

“Absolutely we are. We have a number of strategies already in place; however, some meetings are being scheduled for this week and we are more than willing to bring whatever we can to the table,” said Field.

Meetings that Bochette told me will discuss crime prevention strategies.

“I've got merchants and city citizens, writing me saying after 10:00 p.m. they don't want to go downtown,” said Bochette during Monday's city council meeting.

A concern I first told you about, after the business owner, Marika Weiss whose ice cream shop sits across the street from where the Sunday morning shooting happened, said they are worried about safety.

“People change in that hour, you can feel it, from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. it changes,” said Weiss.

On Tuesday, Fields insisted, his department has enough officers downtown to handle the job, using Sunday night as an example.

"We had ample coverage this weekend specifically, everything indicated this was just an isolated incident that probably could have happened anywhere," said Fields.

Fields said when it comes to deterring firearms from entering the city, he said they rely on the fact that there are laws in place.

“There are laws in place of who can properly carry, where you can properly carry, how you can properly carry,” said Fields.

Fields said the shooting from Sunday morning is still an ongoing investigation and officers are still searching for the suspect involved.

Bochette said he plans to have a meeting with police Thursday to discuss public safety with the Fort Myers Police Department.