City leaders split on how FMPD should handle internal investigations

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Photo by WINK News.

City leaders are split on how the Fort Myers Police Department is handling their investigations.

One council member is so disturbed, he’s calling for more outside oversight, but the mayor says he has complete trust in the chief and city manager.

The plan to have an outside agency handle FMPD internal investigations is on hold for now.

The councilman who proposed the motion voted against it.

Councilman Johnny Streets says the police department should think about suspending the internal affairs department temporarily.

Councilwoman Terolyn Watson was willing to second the motion, but with an addition.

Mayor Randy Henderson says he and the Council trust Chief Derrick Diggs and the City Manager Saeed Kazemi, but Streets say trust within the community has been lost.

Streets even called for outside investigators to take over internal affairs investigations as late as Monday’s council meeting.

In some cases they already are.

There are currently active federal investigations into two officers who have been on paid leave for the last two years; and second one into a captain accused of being engaged in a prostitution sting.

Captain William Newhouse was recently investigated internally over a 2009 homicide a former detective claimed he mishandled.

Within a few days, he was cleared of any wrongdoing and Streets says a lack of trust makes that a concern for people in the community.

The state investigation into Captain Jay Rodriguez, who is accused of engaging in a sex act during a prostitution sting, also continues.

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