Fort Myers Police Department undergoing accreditation review

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Fort Myers Police Department headquarters. (Credit: WINK News)
Fort Myers Police Department Headquarters. Credit: WINK News.

Fort Myers Police Department is undergoing the process to achieve an accreditation status from Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

“We’re doing everything we can to prove that we can be trusted,” said Randy Jones, the accreditation manager for FMPD. “And that we hold ourselves to a higher level.”

Officials from the accreditation agency are listening to concerns from the community as part of its review process. Community activist Anthony Thomas Jr. Wonders if using taxpayer money to get approved is worth it.

“The Freeh Group came out, and they found all of these discrepancies and all of this corruption,” Thomas said. “It makes you wonder why we are paying CALEA to give us a seal of approval if they couldn’t find any of this stuff.”

Lack of community trust stems in part from a 2017 audit report that exposed corruption within the local law enforcement agency. More recently, Jay Rodriguez, a former FMPD police captain, was arrested and faces prostitution charges.

However, re-accreditation could mean less city tax dollars going toward funding the police department. The re-accreditation would grant FMPD better defense against civil suits and lower liability insurance rates.

FMPD recently hired an inspector general to oversee internal investigations of the police department to help further add to transparency of its operations.

FMPD learns if its accreditation is restored in March 2020.

Jones said FMPD is ready to work with the accreditation agency to get back on the right track in the community.

“We’re grabbing these professionals and bringing them in and telling them, ‘Judge us,’” Jones said. “Tell us what we’re doing right. Tell us what we’re doing wrong. And if we’re doing it wrong, we’re going to fix it.”

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