It’s been more than a year since the Fort Myers Police Department had a full-time chief, but now the city has a new top cop.
WINK News investigative reporter Peter Fleischer sat down with incoming chief Jason Fields, who is scheduled to be sworn in on Aug. 2.
FMPD is the only law enforcement agency Fields has ever worked for. But it didn’t just take 23 years for him to be approved as Chief. The city’s search took four months, and four other finalists dropped out of the process along the way. It ended with city council rejecting the city manager’s recommendation twice before Fields was named chief.
Despite all that, Fort Myers’ new top cop says he never lost faith.
“I knew I had to have patience, I knew it was going to be a long process,” Fields admits. “I knew there was going to be many qualified candidates. I started to mentally prepare for that moment.”
He says once his appointment became officially approved, he received an outpouring of support from inside the department.
“I couldn’t be happier with the overwhelming support that I’ve gotten,” Fields said with a smile, “and it’s really reassuring to know that people are behind me.”
With so much experience at one agency, Fields has seen it all. He was on the command staff under the late Chief Derrick Diggs, who is credited for growing FMPD into a more modern, effective agency. It’s experience that Fields thinks he can build upon.
“I want to make sure I learn from the stuff that was done in the past,” Fields said. “Make sure we do the right thing at every level, every single time.”
Fields has a decorated background. He’s spent time working in internal affairs, with FMPD’s SWAT unit and training younger officers, among other leadership roles. Even with his impressive resume, Fields will be considered young for a police chief, meaning he could have many years left serving the city.
When asked what kind of legacy he hopes to create, Fields had a simple answer.
“I just want to be known as someone that works hard and does the right thing by everybody,” Fields explains. “I’ve seen us do just unbelievable things in the face of adversity. We’re all capable of that.”