Fort Myers City Council members vote in favor of an independent investigation into FMPD



Fort Myers City Council called for an independent investigation into the Fort Myers Police Department.

An internal FMPD investigation has shed light on allegations that it misled taxpayers about the cost of a new police headquarters. City council members say this needs further consideration. However, Fort Myers Sheriff Derrick Diggs said the investigation was over.

“This investigation is now complete. And I stand firmly behind the results of this completed investigation. Definitely,” said Chief Diggs.

Four Fort Myers City Council members are on file calling for an independent investigation. Those council members ordered the Fort Myers City Manager to carry out that investigation.

However, other panel members decided that they did not want to see an independent investigation anymore. Councilman Teresa Watkins-Brown told WINK News a few weeks ago that she was participating in an independent investigation. On Monday, she changed her mind. “And when I think about it, what are we really investigating? We have a meeting. Someone said something. And related to a police department bailout,” Watkins-Brown said.

The council then voted to conduct an independent investigation. This is due to allegations of corruption.

Former FMPD Inspector General Donald Oswald accused former Major William Newhouse of issuing an unethical order. He told a lieutenant not to talk to the council about the cost overruns in building the new police headquarters.

That international investigation has come back unfounded. Fort Myers City Councilman Liston Bouchette said he wanted an independent investigation because the internal investigation was conducted by an investigator who used to work for Newhouse.

“The real big question here is how do we make our city more transparent, fairer, more open,” Bouchette said.

“If you are an accuser or you are a critic, you need to have an ear that not everyone has. Sheriff, it’s his duty to take care of his department of crime prevention so this will really be best to keep the good government out,” Bouchette said.

The mayor of Fort Myers, Kevin Anderson, said the look of the police department’s lack of transparency was enough to initiate an independent investigation.

Motion investigation passed 5-2. Now, hiring someone to do it is up to the City Manager. The city plans to investigate whether Major Newhouse issued an unethical order.

The city manager told WINK news it could be referred to a state, local or federal agency, but most likely, the city would have to hire a private consultant.

The investigation must also be drawn up by the City Manager. This includes a review of Oswald’s allegations, a review of the FMPD’s internal investigation, a review of Oswald’s claims that he was forced to resign, and a deeper review of department policies and orders. related to internal investigation.

Sheriff Diggs went on to say he has no problem with an independent review of the investigation, as long as it complies with Florida state law and the officers’ rights bill.

Newhouse told WINK News a few weeks ago that he would be involved in any new investigations and said, “I have nothing to hide.”

WINK News also spoke with former Inspector General Oswald after the panel made its decision. “An independent investigation resolved most of the issues I brought to light in my complaint. The city’s desire to seek truth can only be good for the citizens of the City of Fort Myers. ”

We have reached out to Newhouse’s attorney for comment following this decision, but we have not received a response. | Fort Myers City Council members vote in favor of an independent investigation into FMPD

Aila Slisco

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