Racial profiling, unsolved murders among Fort Myers community concerns

Posted at 6:47 PM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 18:47:11-04

FORT MYERS, Fla., - A recent report into the Fort Myers Police Department shows a lack of collaboration between police and the community could be counter-productive in preventing violent crimes in the city.

The report, conducted by two outside agencies, was part of a Community Engagement Initiative created by Chief Diggs to evalue how the Fort Myers Police Department is connecting with the community.

The report focused on the Dunbar community and found the majority of residents feel, "Law enforcement interactions within the community was seen as racial profiling," and expressed concerns theres, "no follow up from detectives about unsolved crimes i.e murders."

"I have been with families who've lost loved ones and it's been years since they've had communication from law enforcement. We have got to do better in that regard," said City of Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson.

Officers also shared concerns about their leadership, inadequate training and equipment, lack of support from the State Attorney's Office, and fear of retaliation for whistle blowing.

"It starts with leadership. The moral is getting better. It's not perfect. We're going to welcome the opportunity to let Chief Diggs do what he does best," Henderson said.

As a result of the study, the agencies recommend the Fort Myers Police Department make changes including, make community engagement a high priority, provide culture competency and mental health training to officers, create incentives for officers to engage with the community and assign officers to specific communities long term in an effort to build relationships.

"Those are excellent recommendations.I think the existence of those qualities demonstrate that you have a top notch, first class, professional, law enfrocement agency," Henderson said.

Chief Diggs was unavailable to comment on our story.