FMPD completes first phase of community engagement initiative

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FMPD completes phase 1 of community engagement initiative

FORT MYERS, Fla. A six phase community engagement program aims to change the community’s view towards Fort Myers police.

Almost 40 volunteers have been recruited to work on a task force that builds relationships between the people and police. A recently released community engagement report showed that there is a disconnect between the two. The overall goal is to reduce risk and repair harm.

“There’s a lot of things that we gotta do better and there’s no question about that,” Mayor Randy Hendersen said.

Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs decided to create the initiative when he first moved to the community. And phase one of the program was completed Friday.

“I didn’t see the police as my friends, I didn’t see the police as someone I could trust,” resident Crystal Johnson said.

The city of Fort Myers hired consultants to engage with teens and adults in a focus groups. Participants revealed they felt law enforcement officers target African Americans. They requested more street lighting, cameras and an end to racial profiling.

“I just want to be careful out here. I just want to survive and thrive,” resident Isaiah Crawford said “I just hope everything can get better before everything falls apart.”

Over the next few months more meetings and focus groups are expected to take place.

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