FMPD to hire 14 new officers using DOJ grant money

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Fort Myers Police Department (CREDIT: WINK News)

On Monday, the Fort Myers City Council will discuss accepting a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to help pay for 14 new officers to fill new positions in the Fort Myers Police Department.

These officers will fill spots in four different areas of the police department: Four would go to the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, part of a national mission to reduce violent crime at the community level; two would join the HOT team (for Housing, Outreach and Treatment) that helps homeless people get the resources and services they need; four would be added to the juvenile delinquency unit; and four would go to the Crime Gun Intelligence Center Initiative, which focuses on analyzing evidence from guns used in crimes.

In 2017, the Freeh report recommended that Fort Myers consider hiring additional officers, analysts, technicians, dispatchers and civilians to support patrol-community engagement and the investigative mission. This idea was supported by a staffing study conducted in 2018.

The total cost of these hires would be around $4.731 million. Around 39% of this would be covered by the DOJ grant for $1.75 million to pay for three years’ salary and benefits for the new officer positions, while the remaining 61% would come from the city’s general fund.

FMPD says the hiring of these officers will increase the department’s efficiency, allowing it to provide quick and adequate responses to incidents and improve overall public safety. While these would 14 new positions did not previously exist, FMPD is currently seeking to fill 19 vacancies.

The Fort Myers City Council is set to accept this grant at its Monday meeting at 4:30 p.m.

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