Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs has applied for the police chief position in Columbus Ohio, as his contract is set to end in August.
Diggs came to Fort Myers after serving as the police chief in Toledo, Ohio, where he served 37 years.
The Columbus police chief was asked to step down by the mayor of Columbus following an officer-involved shooting.
With the search underway for a new police chief, Diggs is among 34 candidates for the job.
Councilman Liston Bochette told us Fort Myers is a better place because of the great work and leadership of Chief Diggs, but he’s also disappointed because he says there was no communication prior to the announcement he would apply for the Columbus chief position.
“Chief Diggs is a top-drawer,” Bochette said. “He’s as good as they get. We’ve been blessed to have him here. The city is a safer city. It’s a better city where everything he’s touched has gone our way. So I have to say thank you to him and his staff and the officers that serve with him. However — and there’s that however — I find it inappropriate to find out second-hand.”
Bochette says he learned about it from a push notification on his phone.
“The chief may have followed everything properly and notified, and we didn’t get the message. So, I’m not pointing the finger at Chief Diggs,” Bochette said. “It concerns me because, like I say, if I didn’t know that, what else are we not knowing? And it’s not just me; it’s my fellow council people, the mayor, and it trickles down through staff.”
Chief Diggs released a statement saying, “I am very happy working and living in the City of Fort Myers. I have been committed to this city, its community members and the Fort Myers police officers. I feel proud of all we have accomplished together. These are tumultuous times for law enforcement, so being open to opportunities is just prudent professional practice.”
“We got to start a search real quick because he’s not going to be easy to replace. But there’s good people everywhere,” Bochette said. “And we’re the hottest market in the United States right now. Everybody wants to live in Southwest Florida.”
Bochette says, no matter who is at the helm, safety and security will remain the top priorities.
“We’ll move on it quickly because safety and security is the number one job of any city,” Bochette said.
The City of Columbus is trying to fill the chief position in 30 days.
Diggs’ contract was renewed by Fort Myers City Council in August of 2019 for two years. Diggs received an annual salary of $182,105, a $42,000 bump in pay at the time.
Diggs was hired as Fort Myers police chief in 2016. At the time, he signed a three-year contract with an annual base pay of $140,000.