Public memorial for Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs

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On Friday morning, Fort Myers held a public memorial to the life of Police Chief Derrick Diggs, who died on Feb. 15 after a battle with cancer.

Diggs is remembered by friends, family, and colleagues for creating positive change in Fort Myers. He was laid to rest on Feb. 25 in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

Watch the memorial below.

The day of Diggs’ death was an emotional one for the Fort Myers Police Department, and the memorial will likely feel similar. City leaders credit Diggs with changing policing in Fort Myers, making it a safer place to live, and building connections with the community.

Diggs’ son, Lucas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Derrick Diggs Jr. spoke at his father’s funeral in Toledo.

“He traded his superhero costume in for a uniform, a badge, a duty belt, a bulletproof vest and a police car,” Diggs said. “Although superheroes have one strength, my father had many. Some of those superhero powers included his dedication and commitment to public safety, leadership, education, accountability, parenting, protecting me as I was mentoring young officers, inspiring change, building positive relationships within the communities and standing up for what is right—always standing up for what is right.”

Diggs’ loved ones say he cared about people in his community and treated them with respect. While he had a passion for his work as a police officer, he was also a father and a grandfather.

“Dad, I cannot thank you enough for your support and everything that you have done for me and my family,” Derrick Diggs Jr. said. “We will forever cherish the memories that you created. And I promise to keep your legacy alive. I ensure that I will play chess like Chief Diggs when others are playing checkers. I’ll remember to look at the big picture, take care of my officers, lead from the front, and always watch my six. Sir, rest easy. We have the watch from here.”

Diggs may have spent his life in public service, but he was a very private man. In uniform, he preached robust community engagement, leadership, and dedication.

“The best way that you can honor Chief Diggs is to live your career as he did his knowing and believing that Chief Diggs considered it his duty to serve. And this is our duty to remember and honor his commitment and his dedication. Stay true. He will be missed. Rest in peace. Thank you,” said Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson.

Anderson said he couldn’t thank Chief Diggs enough. He said Diggs led the city’s police department to greatness, driving down crime and ramping up teamwork.

“We all remember how dangerous Fort Myers was prior to his arrival. Now, thanks to Chief Diggs, and you… Were the third safest city in the nation,” Anderson said.

“Derrick, the police chief, is one person. But Derek, the man, was a totally different person,” said Mike, Cheif Digg’s best friend.

Diggs’ best friend gave us a window into his private life. “The sensitivity he had with his grandchildren, and the time that he spent with his, with his family.”

“There’s a saying that not all heroes wear capes. And that couldn’t be more true. My father was a prime example of this. He traded in his superhero costume for a uniform, a gun, a badge, a duty belt, bulletproof vest, and a police car. Although superheroes have one strength, my father had many,” said Diggs Jr.

Including a passion for his grandson, who proudly held the American flag folded in his grandpa’s honor.

The end of the ceremony, there was an end-of-watch call where a dispatcher thanked Diggs for his service. “We will never forget the positive and unprecedented impact during your tenure as chief of police chief your work in the law enforcement community has been outstanding. End of watch service on March 3, ’23. We’ll take watch from here.”

Chief Diggs first wore a uniform in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, where he learned all about leadership, commitment, respect, and dignity. He brought those lessons to the Fort Myers Police Department and taught them to his officers, who now have the duty to carry on Diggs’ legacy.

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