Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs Dies

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Police Chief Derrick Diggs has died, according to the Fort Myers Police Department.

FMPD posted: Facebook Wednesday morning:

“On behalf of Acting Chief Pepitone and the entire Fort Myers Police Department family, I am deeply saddened to announce the passing of Chief Derrick Diggs.”

When Chief Derrick Diggs came in, people didn’t know what to expect. With violent crime on the rise and murders unsolved, the city could better bond with the community. I tried to hire a police chief.

When first spoken to by WINK News in August 2016, Diggs said:

Diggs was serious, full of ideas, and knew he needed to fix a badly broken police force.

“I was a civil servant. I was a very aggressive street cop, young and ambitious,” said Diggs.

Diggs came to Fort Myers after working for 37 years in Toledo, Ohio. He was an old-fashioned officer whose trust is king.

Diggs has made a name for himself in Ohio by using technology to solve and prevent crime. Within months of his leadership at Fort Myers, that new technology is here, and suddenly FMPD is his 21st century.

Diggs ordered surveillance cameras installed throughout Fort Myers, especially in high-crime areas. He boldly defended the shot spotter network, which hears gunshots through the tower’s powerful microphones. His cops have also started sporting brand new body cameras.

The biggest and most difficult hurdle to overcome was getting communities, for example in the Dunbar area, to trust the police again.

Within weeks of arriving, Diggs launched a local police initiative.

“When you talk about unsolved crimes, you can see there is an element of community. We have to make sure that the community supports the police department. Yes,” said Diggs.

The Community Policing Initiative brought a new feel to Dunbar. Those desperate for help saw a bright light.

2020 kicked off with a Uniform Crime Report showing a 51% drop in violent crime since the chief arrived in Fort Myers. The chief gave credit to the local police.

Cold cases have taken on another level of importance. Arrests were made in 2018 under Diggs’ leadership. Zombiecon shooting Five people were arrested in 2020 in downtown Fort Myers. club blue shooting.

“I want to thank the brave people who came forward,” said Diggs.

The violence hit the department personally. Chief Diggs had to bury police officer Adam Jobers his mirror in 2018. Miller was shot in the head in response to a gas station robbery.

Details of a scathing audit commissioned by the city in 2017 free report, flipped the department. Corruption, police officers leaking information to drug dealers were exposed, and the department’s lack of resources was noted.

“I was frustrated and worried, but a report is a report. It’s there,” Diggs said of the free report. Chief Diggs accepted the report and many of its recommendations for changes.

In early 2019, Diggs ordered an investigation of two captains. One for murder mishandling and he’s the other for murder. have sex with an informantBoth happened years before Diggs came to Fort Myers, and both officers were arrested.

During the summer of 2019, Diggs’ Citi credit card usage was scrutinized. Records show he spent over $6,000 in his three years on business-related meals. Complaint dismissed.

Just last year there was another public flogging against the department. Former FMPD Inspector General Donald Oswald followed his Diggs and his FMPD in a lawsuit. He claimed the former major tried to trick the city council about the cost of the new police headquarters. Chief Diggs claimed to have retaliated against Oswald when he whistledAs a result, I had no choice but to resign. Diggs denied the accusations. The lawsuit is still pending.

Last June, Diggs made his last public appearance. He appeared noticeably thinner, raising questions about his health.And in August, he announced that he was take a leave of absence.

Diggs’ Legacy?It’s still being written, but it begins with his stubborn ideas about what a good police officer should be.

“Whatever we do, we must always remember: We must work for our communities. I am talking about good people. It’s people who want to live in a community,” says Diggs.

Officers said they liked Chief Diggs very much and believed he had turned the department around. Diggs was also attached to children. He wanted everyone to grow up with a positive image of police officers.

“He didn’t just talk,” said former Southwest Florida prosecutor Nicole Wade.

Diggs was working with people on the street and in the community rather than against them.

“He understood that trust is mutual,” Wade said.

Chief Diggs was a man of few words. “He kept things close to his chest,” said Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson. “He was all, all business.”

Those he worked with and those he served said his impact was immeasurable. City leaders believe Diggs changed Fort Myers’ police force forever.

“Before Chief Diggs came, we were hearing that young men and young women were shot down 15 to 20 times a year,” said Fort Myers Alderman Teresa Watkins Brown. rice field.

“He brought 21st-century policing to Fort Myers, brought a lot of technology, and then lowered the crime rate to make it the third safest city in the nation,” Anderson said.

Without Wade, Chief Diggs might not have come to Fort Myers. Waid is a former Chief of Staff based in Southwest Florida. “All I wanted to see was this community healing. It was pretty broken. And it was very painful,” Wade said.

She was part of the team that picked Diggs from Ohio and brought him to Fort Myers. “One of the first things he asked me was, ‘What do you think we can do?'”

Waid saw something in Diggs that she had never seen before. “He saw policing as a partnership.”

Wade said Diggs connected with the community because he cared about people. “He went not only to politicians and boards, but also to school and church leaders.

Sadness deepens, but pride outweighs pain.

“I want him to know what an impact he has made on this community. I want to know, he was a good friend, a great chief, and a really great father and grandfather,” said Wade.

The City of Fort Myers must decide who will be its next Chief of Police. “Choosing a police chief in a city of this size is a big deal,” Anderson said.

It’s the mayor’s job to appoint a new police chief, but Mayor Anderson certainly has a say. “I would probably do a national survey and try to identify someone who could take the position of Director General and keep the department moving forward.

The mayor said a nationwide investigation was likely, but it was out of the question.

“I think we probably owe it to all members of the community, the police department, to keep this process open and track the best. I’m not saying that person couldn’t come from within. That’s right. But I think we need to move forward by looking at who the next Chief is and how we get someone to carry on Chief Diggs’ legacy,” Anderson said.

Diggs’ cause of death has not been made public. A candlelit vigil will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Fort Myers Police Station.

https://www.winknews.com/2023/02/15/fort-myers-police-chief-derrick-diggs-dies/ Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs Dies

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