Lee County community comes together to celebrate end of school year

Reporter: Annette Montgomery Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

A community came together to celebrate the end of a school year.

The event is called “Unity in the Community” and was held in Dunbar on Tuesday.

It celebrates the end of the school year in Lee County and builds the relationship between law enforcement and the community.

The people in Dunbar said crime is down, and they credit police with building relationships with neighbors for helping spark that trend.

If you’re questioning if an event like “Unity in the Community” can really reduce crime, talk to Taunya Cola, Dunbar’s neighborhood watch coordinator.

“Five, six years ago, we had 24 homicides that happened in one year in our community, and it was just different groups against one another,” Cola said, “and all of those groups were at this event, and there were no fights, so I know that this event is a positive thing for change and what’s to come for our community.”

Ken McCoy, Fort Myers Police Community Relations Officer, agrees.

“I don’t think crime in Dunbar is nearly where it has been in the past,” McCoy said.

Ken McCoy remembers what it was like walking through Dunbar back in the day, when there was heavy crime.

He credits the late Fort Myers police chief for working to make a change.

“Chief Diggs strongly agreed or believed in our community relations was bridging the gap, was investing in our young people, fighting crime, per se, in the future,” McCoy said.

This is the 16th year Cola has organized this event, the first since chief Diggs passed earlier this year.

“It’s a little bittersweet, and it’s solemn, but I think if we keep moving forward with the message and the plan that he’s laid out, and I think that we’re going to be an OK city,” Cola said.

Cola knows that because, as you can see from this event, his mission of making sure those in Dunbar were used to seeing law enforcement in their community, not just when there was violence or a crime lives on in events like this one.

“The kids see the officers in a different light,” Cola said.

FMPD has several events planned to keep kids busy and out of trouble this summer. They have four different summer camps including things like art, community service and more.

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