Some Fort Myers Beach leaders want increased presence on beach

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
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Credit: WINK News

Now that we’re into the summer months, leaders on Fort Myers Beach want the sheriff’s office to increase its presence.

After chaos ensued on Memorial Day when a fight ended with gunshots and deputies showed up, leaders decide to discuss increasing deputy presence.

For now, town council is divided on the idea because taxpayers would have to foot the bill for the community policing program that’s recommended.

Deputies will be patrolling Fort Myers Beach on the sand and in the sky. All of this in an effort to protect and serve the people who live there in addition to those who got here to relax.

Patrick Finn is visiting from Colorado. “We’ve felt safe every time we’ve been here. It’s one of the reasons we keep coming back,” Finn said.

Friday was a calm day at the beach. But, as we saw just a few weeks ago, violence can spark in seconds.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office told Fort Myers Beach Town Council last week that it had increased patrols on duty that day. Some on the council believe they need more deputies every day and not just on holidays.

Dan Allers is one of Fort Myers Beach’s council members. “Our base patrol is not equipped to deal with things we had to deal with over Memorial weekend. They just they aren’t. We would be putting them in more danger than someone who is equipped to handle it,” Allers said.

Council is now considering a community policing program, which would put more eyes on the beach. Their job would consist of dealing with transients, traffic and noise complaints so that deputies could focus more on everyone’s safety and security.

The only issue is, the beefed-up security could prove to be costly since the community policing program isn’t free.

Rexann Hosfros Fort Myers Beach’s vice mayor. “You put it in place then more money goes into it. The more money goes into it and the county feels less pressure to provide the tax money they need to provide the core service,” Hosfros said.

Amy Miller and her family came down from Illinois. While they felt safe on the sand Friday, they wouldn’t mind having extra eyes on duty.

“You probably want to feel more comfortable seeing more presence I think would make you feel safer,” Miller said.

A spokesperson with Fort Myers Beach Town Council says these discussions are not in response to the shooting on Memorial Day. The council wants to hear from those who live on the beach to see if this is something they want.

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