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Special meeting called after Fort Myers SRO contract rumors

Posted at 11:46 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 23:46:41-04

Gossip, rumors, or "tea."

No matter what you call it, it's something that brought the Fort Myers City council and the police department together for a special meeting Monday.

"Somehow there's some rumors going around that I pulled our officers out of schools," said Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs.

This is all started with school resource officers (SROs) in city schools.

Right now the Fort Myers Police Department does that job, but their old contract was set to expire Saturday. And without a renewal in sight, some began assuming the Lee County Sheriff's Office would take over.

"I don't know how we got here and I don't care," said Diggs.

The chief made it clear Tuesday that he's not participating in gossip.

"I think people forget that I am the first police chief to put officers in every school in the city. There's a reason for that because I am a strong believer in the school resource officer program," he said.

And the city council backed him up, they voted to approve a new contract for the upcoming school year and to add two new resources officers to the team This will bring the total number of Fort Myers SROs up to 19.

But not everyone was on board with the move. Councilperson Fred Burson said he's all for security, but claimed the city was paying too much for a school district service.

"Issue I have is they have a $2 billion dollar budget and they, the local school board, is not putting one dime into their own security. They're taking their money from the state, then asking us to come up with the balance of it," he said.

However, Monday, the head of security for Lee County Schools, David Newlan, said that's not true. While they do get help from the state and the city, he said the district also paid about $1.4 million toward the program last year and will likely pay $1.7 million dollars this year.

And despite tonight's vote, this issue isn't a done deal just yet. The Lee County School Board has to weigh in as well.

It's believed that they'll be doing that at Tuesday's school board meeting, where they'll be voting on school resource officer contracts for several other law enforcement agencies.

That meeting starts at 6 p.m.