FMPD complaints revealed
FORT MYERS, Fla .– For Fort Myers City Councilor Johnny Streets Jr, the motto is simple when it comes to monitoring the Fort Myers Police Department (FMPD).
“What we are looking for is truth, transparency and justice,” he said.
It comes after the data was released Monday night by the Citizen’s Police Review Board. Their job is to investigate citizens’ complaints against the ministry and ensure that officers are held accountable when needed.
Streets Jr. is an interim liaison between the 15-year board of directors and the city.
“We are looking for that relationship between the police and the community and we have to do these things and we are not trying to hide anything,” he said.
FOX 4 has obtained a copy of this data, it details public complaints dating back to January 2020.
Of the 85 complaints in 2020, the most common was harassment. This was mentioned 49 times in the report, but each time it was determined that the officer’s behavior did not violate FMPD policy or that the allegations were unfounded.
So far in 2021, there have been 8 such complaints.
Other common complaints related to improper use of recording devices, misconduct towards the public, or performance of office. And in cases like these, more often than not officers receive training or advice. Although there have been several instances where officers have been dismissed or suspended from duty.
“But what I’m really looking at is if it’s the same officer and then where is it going? Whether it’s downtown, whether it’s in a predominantly black community or where it is. going on? ” said Streets Jr.
FOX 4 took a look at this as well.
Although there were a few repeated names, an officer’s name came up six times during 2020 for harassment, misconduct with the public, etc. While most of the complaints went unsuccessfully, the council requested that he receive training on how to better communicate with civilians.
This officer’s name has appeared three times so far in 2021 regarding bias and in March, the board noted that the FMPD had launched an administrative investigation. There is no word yet on the results of this investigation.
Councilman Streets Jr. says he hopes the board’s diligence shows the community that they are working to investigate all claims.
“You’ll get a fair shake; you’ll get a fair hearing and if not, that’s why you have board members to make sure you’re heard, and that justice is done. Not ‘just us’, but justice,’ did he declare.
He also adds that the commission could be on the verge of obtaining “subpoena powers” which would give them more power to call witnesses to testify, during their investigations.
And Fort Myers PD isn’t the only department with a review board.
Last summer, FOX 4 took a deeper dive into the definition of these signs and the number of our local law enforcement agencies.
We have learned that in addition to the FMPD, the Punta Gorda Police Department, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and the Naples Police Department all have advisory boards. The one in Naples has been in existence for 20 years.
The Cape Coral Police Department had a review board, from 2012 to 2014, but it was dissolved “due to lack of action”.
The Marco Island Police Department and the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office also do not have a review board. Regarding the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, we never had a response to our request.