FORT MYERS

In his letter of resignation, the former Fort Myers Police Department Inspector General, Donald Oswald, is making serious accusations against the Fort Myers Police Department.

The Inspector General for the Fort Myers Police Department is on the police payroll specifically to audit and investigate the department. One of the reasons Oswald suddenly resigned this week was because he accused the department of trying to hide the true cost of building a new police station not only Fort Myers City Council but also from taxpayers.

“My issue is that no public official has the right to order or suggest to a subordinate.. that they not discuss a $30 to $35 million overrun,” Oswald said.

That overrun is the projected cost of turning the old News-Press building located in downtown Fort Myers into a new police station for FMPD. The initial cost for the project that was brought to the city is about $34M. Now estimates to finish the project are reaching $80M.

“There’s no excuse to not keep you public officials informed that there’s a duty,” said Oswald. The discrepancy caused Oswald to bring his concerns to Chief Diggs. “And he… this was a quote… ‘I give you direct order not to present that memo.. or pass that memo,’” Oswald said.

Later, the chief did open an internal affairs investigation, which, Oswald says, created even more problems.

In his letter of resignation to Chief Diggs, former Inspector General Oswald pointed to a specific internal affairs investigation into Major William Newhouse. Oswald’s complaint is what initiated the investigation. He also says the investigation in Major Newhouse was set to be conducted by someone who worked under him.

“You don’t assign something to someone’s subordinate.. and expect that they’re going to do the right thing or good job,” Oswald said.

So, that investigation was closed and they found no fault. Oswald says he couldn’t live with this and still work at the department. He feared more retaliation. “I thought we were moving in the right direction,” Oswald said.

Johnny Streets is a Fort Myers City Councilman and a former police officer. He says he knows the name, William Newhouse. “Even when I was at the police department, I left Major Newhouse there. I don’t know…I will say, in some other instances, of some complaints that some of these folks’ names, mainly Newhouse comes up,” said Streets.

Oswald says he’s not alone in pointing fingers. “Mayor Anderson told me that he was sick to his stomach hearing it and that he felt like anybody who did something like that should lose their job,” said Oswald. Donald Oswald says that Chief Derrick Diggs is part of the problem. “He, with the Major, have become the problem that Chief Diggs was brought into,” he said. “It’s… it’s the truth.”

WINK News asked the police department and the individuals in this story for a comment.

FMPD originally said that they would provide WINK News with a statement on Friday. However, a spokesperson for the department said all questions must go to the City of Fort Myers. None of the other individuals responded.

Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson says he was disturbed by what he heard. But because he hasn’t seen the report on the Newhouse investigation, he declined to comment further. Fort Myers City Councilman Liston Bouchette says he’s waiting on a legal review of the situation but supports any action that will get answers. Councilman Streets says he’s waiting for all of the facts.

Source: Wink

https://nationalmalldesign.org

By Peter

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