Remembering the impact Fort Myers Police Chief Derrick Diggs made on the Southwest Florida community.
Chief Diggs served more than 46 years in law enforcement, with his last years committed to the city of Fort Myers.
Scene of FMPD the night of Chief Diggs’ vigil. CREDIT: WINK News
Condolences and memories are flooding in for the late chief. Wednesday night, dozens of people came out to honor Chief Diggs, paying their respects at a candle-lit vigil.
A somber day at the Fort Myers Police Headquarters as they lose their chief of the last seven years. The department has been asking people to drop off flowers at Cheif Diggs’ police cruiser.
Many people appeared, and dozens more gathered to remember Chief Diggs during an emotional candle-lit vigil.
“His booming voice was very… it commanded an audience. So, some people would be intimidated by him. But when you talked to him and got to know him, he had a great sense of humor. He cared about each individual person,” the deputy police chief Jeff Meyers, said.
What was Derrick Diggs like as the Chief of the Fort Myers Police Department? Those who spent years working with him told WINK News the answer.
“He was never comfortable just doing it the way it’s always been done. To give him an answer to a question, ‘well that’s the way we’ve always done it,’ would not fly,” Deputy Police Chief Meyers said. “You did not say that to him. There’s always a better way to do it. Let’s look at what we’re doing. Is it working? Is it not? Can we do it better? Can we do it right? ”
The Deputy Chief said what set Chief Diggs apart was his ability to not only listen to people but actually hear what they had to say.
“He didn’t just give you facetime. He took it to heart, he digested it. And he used what he learned from the people,” Deputy Police Chief Meyers said.
That extended to the community and his officers.
“The day I got sworn in… he took the time to meet my mom and my step-dad,” the school resource officer Jennifer Rackliffe, said.
“He cared,” Rackliffe said.
Chief Diggs. CREDIT: WINK News
Those who worked with him said he created a culture of doing the right thing, and that legacy lives on.
“One quote that he’s always said from the day I met him is, ‘No matter what, we will do the right thing.’ And that has stuck with me, and I’ll take that to my grave,” Deputy Police Chief Meyers said.