Incoming Fort Myers Police Chief discusses challenges, new role

Reporter: Peter Fleischer
Published: Updated:

Jason Fields hasn’t been sworn in as the police chief of the Fort Myers Police Department yet, but he already knows of a few projects and challenges that will keep him busy during his first months on the job.

When Fields becomes the city’s top cop on August 2, he takes over a department of more than 230 officers.

New Headquarters

“I’m absolutely ecstatic that we’re going to be in a new building in the coming years,” Fields said as he smiled. “We’ve severely outgrown this place. I’ll give you a tour any time you want!”

The Fort Myers Police Department has needed a new home for years-first moving into the current location in the 1980s. Just this month, city council agreed to negotiate to buy properties on Central Avenue, investing $8 million in taxpayer dollars.

It’s the first step in what should become a crucial piece in modernizing FMPD – more space, more resources.

“I’m very excited,” Fields admitted. “I get to see this agency take the next step.”

Policing Downtown

Another major challenge for Fields – policing downtown Fort Myers.

The area has come under the microscope in recent months after a handful of concerning incidents. A homeless man was attacked, a fight escalated into a shooting and a burglary at a church. Despite some negative headlines, Fields feels comfortable with the department’s handle on city’s busiest social scene.

“If you really think about the amount of people that pass through downtown, the amount of contacts we have, compared to the amount of major incidents, it is miniscule,” Fields explained. “The numbers are very, very small. So overall, downtown is safe.”

The incoming chief also knows some things won’t go perfectly while he’s in charge. But having worked as a training officer and in internal affairs, he described a strong duty to the men and women following his lead when trouble does surface.

“I want to figure out how we handle things the best way possible,” Fields said. “To make sure that everything is done consistently.”

“I love doing police work.”

He admits the bad times can wear on him, but thinks his love for the department will help him push forward.

“I’ve spent half of my adult life at the police department here, so I take it very personally whenever something bad happens,” Fields insisted. “I know wholeheartedly we have unbelievable people here doing awesome things.”

“The department has been really good to me. The job has been phenomenal,” added the incoming chief. “I love doing police work and I love coming to work every day.”

Fields also says he wants to make FMPD more transparent and accessible in the future, hoping to further connect community members with the officers who work to keep them safe.

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